About Alex

Alex J. Packer, Ph.D., “Manners Guru to the Youth of America,” is a very polite educator and psychologist. A recognized expert on adolescent development, parenting, and substance abuse prevention, Alex served for 14 years as President and CEO of FCD Educational Services, the leading nonprofit provider of onsite K-12 drug education and substance abuse prevention services for schools throughout the United States and in over 60 countries abroad.

Alex is the author of 10 books for parents, counselors, teachers, and teenagers including the award-winning bestseller, How Rude!: The Teen Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior, and Not Grossing People Out, called by Voice of Youth Advocates “the most incredibly readable, enjoyable, laughable, enlightening and insightful book.” First published in 1997, How Rude! has just been revised and updated to address the new manners violations made possible by 21st-century technological advances, and includes etiquette tips for using, not only the latest electronic devices and social media platforms, but even those not yet invented. 

College Bound Magazine called How Rude! “…one fast-paced, fun-to-read book that covers the basics of good behavior for teens…. Just one look at the table of contents will convince you that this isn’t your grandma’s guidebook. This is a wonderfully hip and humorous easy read!” 

Alex shook up the self-help-for-kids world with his ground-breaking guide to “parent raising,” Bringing Up Parents: The Teenager’s Handbook, described by Parade Magazine as “…a wonderful—and funny—handbook that can help teens get along with their parents and understand them better.” Parents’ Choice gave Bringing Up Parents its Gold Award, saying: “This book not only respects teens, it understands teens. It respects and understands parents. The humor, wordplays, and general tone of the book demonstrate Alex J. Packer's great skill and knowledge of his subject…. Filled with great information presented in the perfect way to reach teens, this book should be on everyone's required reading list.” 

Alex’s book, WISE HIGHS! How to Thrill, Chill, and Get Away from It All Without Alcohol or Other Drugs, (formerly titled Highs!), was named Outstanding Book of the Year by the Midwest Independent Publishers Association, and received the Gold Award for Children’s Resources from National Parenting Publications. School Library Journal wrote “This is one of the best life-skills books on the market, and it should be on every teenager’s bookshelf.” According to the American Library Association Booklist, “Packer…has hit the jackpot again, this time with a text overflowing with effective ways to chill out or feel exhilarated without using drugs or alcohol.”

Among Alex’s other books are three How Rude Handbooks for preteens on School Manners, Friendship and Dating, and Family Manners, and 365 Ways to Love Your Child

The Nurturing Parent: How to Raise Creative, Loving, Responsible Children, co-written with John Dacey, Ph.D., and based on a ground-breaking four-year study of creative children and their parents, identifies 10 traits of thinking and personality creative children possess and shows how to encourage their development. Readers learn six fundamental principles for raising children who are creative, responsible and empathetic, as well as how to best protect their children from the forces that destroy creativity.

Parenting One Day at a Time shows parents how to use the wisdom and principles of recovery and 12-step programs to become better parents and raise better kids. The tools needed to maintain serenity and sobriety are the very tools parents need to improve family relationships, build trust, handle conflict, set limits, solve problems, and raise children who will grow into confident, capable adults.

Alex’s books have been translated into many languages including Spanish, German, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Mandarin, Greek, Romanian, and Serbian. 

Alex is sought after by the media for his provocative commentary on manners, child-rearing, and substance abuse prevention, and has been the subject of numerous radio, television, and print interviews. He speaks widely across the United States and around the world. Recent talks have taken him to locations as far-flung as Caracas, Buenos Aires, Paris, Hamburg, Dominican Republic, Mexico City, and Beijing. Numerous associations have invited Alex to speak and lead workshops at their conferences, including the European Council of International Schools (ECIS), National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Association of American Schools of South America (AASSA), Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE), and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

Alex keynoted at an all-day parenting conference at the Javits Convention Center in New York City along with co-presenters Howard Gardner, Penelope Leach, and Adele Faber.

For eight years, Alex was headmaster of Parkmont School in Washington, D.C., an innovative alternative school for children ages 11-15. He also served as Director of Education for the Capital Children’s Museum. His feature-length screenplay, Digby and Fly, won Grand Prize in the Massachusetts Film Office Screenwriting Competition. His proposal for an interactive family television series was optioned by Popular Arts Entertainment in Los Angeles.

Alex graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy. He received undergraduate and Master’s degrees from Harvard University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. in Educational and Developmental Psychology from Boston College.

Although it’s rude to talk behind someone’s back, reliable sources report that Alex has flown ultralight aircraft without crashing, spends several months a year in France, loves vintage sports cars, and chews with his mouth closed.