1 of 2

Curfew. Kissing. Grades. Dating.

Search the Web and you'll find countless tips for parents on how to handle these issues. But there are few guides for teens.

Sarah O'Leary Burningham noticed the disparity when she was 16 and told her parents she was going to write a book to help kids understand why adults react when they're late for curfew or don't get good grades.

Her mom had access to informative literature — why shouldn't she?

Although several years later than threatened, Burningham has now written her book. It was published in March, and this Thursday and Saturday, she will be in Salt Lake City to sign copies of "How to Raise Your Parents: A Teen Girl's Survival Guide" (Chronicle Books, $12.99).

Burningham is hopeful her book will push teens to start talking with their parents and negotiating through issues. She grew up in Salt Lake City and credits her own parents, Dave and Julie O'Leary, as top collaborators in writing the book, which gives tips on issues such as privacy, curfew, driving, dating, independence, music and working.

"This is not a book that tells you how to sneak out of the house or get away with things," Burningham said. "I kind of want the book to open a dialogue between parents and teenagers. It gives really solid advice on communicating and negotiating."

For example, instead of crying and whining if your parents won't let you dye your hair, Burningham says a girl could suggest an alternative such as highlights, or ask her mom if she can go with her to the hair salon.

"If she's there, nothing can get out of control, right?" Burningham writes.

Many other suggestions in the book came from a network of teenage "friends" that Burningham consults with on her MySpace page. These teens, no matter how different, are all dealing with similar issues such as dating, curfew and report cards — and most really mean well, Burningham said.

"I think teens a lot of times get a really bad rap in the major media and that sometimes the poor decisions that a few teenagers make lead people to think that all teens are out causing trouble," she said. "All of them really love their parents. It's just a matter of showing your love and respect and figuring out how to get them to respect you."

Burningham's mother, Julie O'Leary, said she believes the book will be beneficial to both parents and teens. It is written in a teen-friendly voice and advocates responsibility, negotiation and "working things out in a way that works for both the parent and teen," she said.

Dave O'Leary, Burningham's father, said he is proud of his daughter and hopes the book will promote open communication between parents and children.

Comment on this story "It's really neat to see your kids become not just adults, but neat adults who do things that are not only part of their dreams, but that are good things that help other people," he said. "You can't help but be proud as a parent."

If you go ...

What: Book signing for Sarah O'Leary Burningham's book titled How to Raise Your Parents: A Teen Girl's Survival Guide.

When: Thursday, May 1, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 3, at 11 a.m.

Where: Thursday's signing will be at The King's English Bookshop, 1519 S. 1500 East. Saturday's event will be at East Millcreek Library, 2266 Evergreen Ave.


E-mail: nwarburton@desnews.com