Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?


It’s usually impossible to get more than one-word-answers from us, but with my book “Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded” and my blog, I hope I can be honest about real issues that teens and pre-teens are dealing with, so you, the parents, can actually understand us (well at least a small part of our world)…and we can finally develop better relationships.

Have you ever wondered what really goes on in the mind of a teenager?

See our Media Clips: The book has been featured on the Today Show, KCal News, Better TV and much more….

Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?” by Vanessa Van Petten

For Parents with Kids Age 7-23!

Every parent fears “losing” their child. But in this revolutionary book, youthologist Vanessa Van Petten translates what parents want to say into what teens want to hear.

At 16, Vanessa Van Petten started her award-winning website,, in reaction to sudden friction with her parents. Today,Vanessa and more than one hundred teen contributors help thousands of parents build and maintain healthy, strong, mutually fulfilling relationships with their teenage children—by providing prescriptive advice straight from the source.

From classic fights like dating and chores to twenty-first century issues such as sexting and cyberbullying, this comprehensive book provides step-by-step guidance on every worry, including:

• Lying

• Social Networking

• School

• Peer Pressure

• Sex

• Drugs

It’s never too late to reconnect. Vanessa Van Petten helps you learn what’s really going on in your child’s life, and most importantly—understand when to put your foot down and when to let go. This book is helpful for parents with kids ages 7 to 25–the advice is timeless and can help in all parent child relationships.

 *We hit number one as the bestselling Parenting book in the first week!


Teen Testimonial:

“As a teenager myself, I was greatly looking forward to reading Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?  because it promised to reveal to parents a realistic teen viewpoint. I am nothing less than thoroughly impressed by how well I was able to relate to everything and by the amount of teen input. Vanessa knows how to speak for us while still creating compromises that parents can live with which is why I hope my parents read this so they can see into my world.”

-Emily, 13

BUY: Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded!


In this breakthrough guide to understanding teenagers, author Vanessa Van Petten (see bio here) gives parents tricks and advice that is radically different than any other parenting book. Every topic is brought onto the table, as Van Petten delves into teenage sex, underage drinking, video games and teen drug use. Her candor and personal anecdotes help inform and calm parents’ fears by telling them how to prevent these issues from happening to their own children.

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Parents will discover:
• Why teenagers do drugs, break curfew and rebel; and how to stop this destructive behavior by building trust.
• How to stop your teenager from pulling away so that you can have a better relationship; open communication and real emotional connection; and empower your teen to become a happier, more productive, more successful adult.

If you would like to read a sample from the book. Here is Our Downloadable Chapter Excerpt

Testimonials and Reviews:

Winner of the Mom’s Choice Award!

Publishers Weekly Review:

“Van Petten, founder of the popular Web site, offers parents a candid view of the contemporary teen’s world in this eye-opening text. Van Petten uses actual stories about teens and their often anxious, angry, or befuddled parents to introduce each chapter. Pointing out that she is neither a parent nor a teen (nor a doctor, therapist, or counselor), the college-grad author has nevertheless earnestly investigated her subject and includes current research on teens as well as hundreds of “real quotes, interviews, e-mails and advice from actual teens.” Van Petten explores a variety of timely subjects, including peer relationships, teen/parent communication, bullying, technology, and “risky business” (smoking, drinking, sex, and more). Her outlook on technology and “Internet savvy” is particularly incisive, emphasizing not only the hazards of “time-suck” activities (i.e., Facebook, chatting on IM, and texting) but also the many social and academic benefits of the digital universe. Like a crafty spy, Van Petten comfortably segues from parent to teen perspective, and while noting that each adolescent is unique, she skillfully opens doors to the collective teen psyche. (Aug.) “

Kirkus Review:

Stop Fighting, Start Talking, and Get to Know Your Teen
Author: Van Petten, Vanessa

A 25-year-old “youthologist” offers firsthand insight to assist parents and children in building better relationships.

By the time Van Petten was ready to celebrate her Sweet Sixteen, she had already achieved success as the founder of, a website that curates parenting tips from teenagers. Building on the same formula that won her numerous accolades and skyrocketed sales of her two previously self-published titles, the author culls advice from teenagers and translates it directly into language parents can understand. “Some of the advice in this book you may not like,” Van Petten cautions parents in the introduction. This might be particularly true of the chapter entitled, “Risky Business: Smoking, Drinking, Sex and More,” in which the author adamantly states from the get-go, “Every teen will engage in ‘risky’ behavior.” Practical solutions on how to address issues ranging from chores to curfews, and even cyber bullying, can be found here, in addition to exercises for parents and their teens to improve family unity. Most effective is the author’s discussion of the distractions and difficulties presented by society’s increasing reliance on technology; she suggests enforcing electronic-free times and areas and engaging in family-wide discussions about what it means to be a good cybercitizen. Van Petten’s overarching message is that all teenagers are different, and regardless of their issues, most teenagers wish their parents would talk and listen to them more, not less.

A rational approach to defuse hand-to-hand combat parenting.

Other Testimonials:

“Teens need adults they can trust to advocate for them. Parents need “ambassadors” from a younger generation to remind them about teen priorities and challenges. In “Do I get my Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?” Vanessa Van Petten helps teens and parents understand each other better and that’s got to lead to healthier relationships all around.” –Annie Fox, M.Ed. author the Middle School Confidential™ series.

“From its unique perspective – both the teen and the adult–this book is a guide, an interpreter, and a real eye opener. It will live on your bed table as your go-to resource for the countless issues that accompany raising a teen.”—Betsy Brown Braun, author of You’re Not the Boss of Me and Just Tell Me What to Say
“As the father of a teenage daughter, I found Vanessa’s book incredibly insightful.”—Mark Gordon, producer of “Saving Private Ryan” and “Grey’s Anatomy”