It happens to every parent. One day, you have a sweet son or daughter who loves to snuggle on the couch and who puts a smile on your face just by walking into the room. The next day, it’s as if someone left the door open and let in an alien with a smart mouth and an attitude that, frankly, you could do without.
But these years don’t have to create chaos in your family. In fact, they can be some of the best, most fruitful years of all, a time when you can grow closer rather than drift apart. Learn how to come alongside your middle-schooler with the love, understanding, and values that will see you both safely back home to earth when your time on Planet Middle School is over.
16 chapters, along with a forward, conclusion and 10 commandments.
1. Creature from the black lagoon
2. Their expanding Universe
3. All Flared Up
4. Survival of the Fittest
5. Walking on Polar Ice
6. Confronting the Black Hole: Technology
7. Growing Up Way too Fast
8. Becoming a man/woman (gulp)
9. Blue Chip or Penny Stocks?
10. Understanding why your kid really is
11. How to talk so they'll listen
12. Expect the best, get the best
13. Raising a "home" boy/girl
15. Creating an attitude of Gratitude
16. Raising a giver in a gimme generation
I have to admit, when I started reading this book I simply didn't want to finish it. It started off with such a poor impression of this age group. That it made me feel that "Oh, if that's your impression of this age group why in the world would I want to read what you have to say to me about how to interact with this age group?".
I have a 10 year old son. He's broaching on the middle school years and I can see changes occurring in him, and it's good to know why. And I do know why.... he's maturing, he's starting to see that other people notice him and the things that he does, and he's noticing that he's not always marching to the beat of the same drummer as everyone else. It's part of maturing.
With the knowledge gained in this book (and yes I did persist) I know a bit more about helping him keep his grounding.
But I have to admit.. I'm really not too worried about it. It's good to have knowledge and understanding about these years, but frankly I lived through them, my hubby lived through them. I watched my siblings go through them and you know what... we came through them okay. I firmly believe that my boy will come through them okay as well. He'll have scars (but don't we all?) .. it's part of what makes us the people that we are today (and that's a good thing).
Do I think this is a "go out and get it today book"?... hmm no. This was, too me, a very common sense book. Talk with your children, LISTEN to your children, be available for your children and their strongest advocate...whether it seems like they are listening to you or not.
Did I think it was an interesting and worthwhile read? Yes. I liked the vignettes that popped up regularly, real life stories (I assume) of children in this age group who live life and had good (and bad) things happen to them and how parental intervention was a major key in walking them through decisions about how to handle different events.
Do I think the book went far enough? As a Christian I would have loved to have seen some Biblical insight poured into this book and the teaching it gave. Without having a faith aspect as part of parenting, it's like you are missing a basic grounding in life. :)
Having "the sex talk". Have to say, these couple of chapters were educational, but honestly, if you are waiting until preadolescence to talk to your children about sex is a bit.. um.. LATE. in my opinion. Children should be learning throughout their life that sex is part of loving committed relationship, that bodies change as they mature, that how you treat each other matters...especially in sexual ways, ... not a talk relegated to the pre-adolescent years. It's just a natural part of being a person, and that knowing information helps children process these changes more easily and realize it is just another thing you can talk about with mom and/or dad.
Should you read it? Yes. Go to the library, read it, learn from it. Go home and use good common sense encouraged by increased knowledge of this changing time in your child's life.