As a mom of seven, I am learning that the tween years of 8-14 can be challenging for both child and parent so I was happy to review this book from Great Waters Press with their newest title No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope.
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[ctt template=”4″ link=”sf4zj” via=”yes” ]In this review of No Longer Little, we will learn about parenting tweens so you help the child through this time and protect the parent-child relationship.[/ctt]
No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope Book Review
This physical, soft cover book that I received in the mail, was written by Hal and Melanie Young, the award-winning authors of Raising Real Men. Hal and Melanie are the parents of six boys and two girls and they have experience in parenting tweens. This book is intended for parents of children from 8 to 14 of boys or girls. It is written to help parents of now combative, seem to be in a fog, doubtful, riding an emotional rollercoaster to help the child through this time and protect the parent-child relationship. I presently have one child in this stage of life and I live all of this currently.
When I received this book it was still in the “final layout or design”. It may have had some grammatical errors or words may have been smushed together, but I realize that will all be taken care of in the final edit and I don't feel I am very good at judging that sort of thing, so in this review, I will be discussing the content. I will mention a little about three of the twelve chapters so you get a taste of what the book is like. As, always, when I do The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew review, you can see what others thought of this book by clicking the banner below. They may discuss other parts that I have not mentioned here.
Brains Turn To Mush
Children in this stage go through hormonal changes. These hormones affect the child's body and emotions. They also affect their brains. A child who did very well in academics and seems to like school can suddenly seem uninterested and can't get it together and a seemingly simple math problem can take many minutes to do. It's a time of intellectual transition and affects the way they think and learn.
For me, as a homeschooling parent, even though I have been through it three times with my older children, it always seems to take me by surprise. The child was eager to learn and doing so well and suddenly they are not and you wonder if they are acting this way on purpose?
It also seems to affect their memory. Hal mentions in this book that he would ask a child to bring him the keys and forty-five minutes later would find the child wandering aimlessly around the house. Again, the brains have turned to mush. Neurologists say that during early adolescence, there truly is a temporary loss of function as the neurons re-assemble into their adult configuration.
The authors mention they had a child informed them, “I'm just no good in math”, and in just a few more months, his brain began to function on a more adult level and he was not only able to finish the levels of high school math, but also went on to calculus before he graduated. The authors offer guidance as to how we can “save the love of learning” and ways to motivate them to do their schoolwork. It also tells you how to recognize when it is a good time for conversations and teaching.
This one I can really relate to. This very year, my previously “excited to go everywhere and try new things and meet new people” child suddenly started arguing with us about having to go places. It didn't make any sense to the entire family. We all though he loved to go to this event because his friends were there, or he used to love doing this activity and now didn't want to go to it, or loved to eat the food of this relative and now didn't want to go to the family event. We would still make him go to many of these things anyways. He previously would ask to ride with Dad to the dump or on errands and help out, we think just to get out of the house or go for a ride, and now he wanted to stay home. Our older three kids went through this stage too and again it was a surprise to us. (Maybe adult brains turn to mush sometimes? Mine does.)
This book explains what is going on and that it is normal. It's part of their body growing fast, their limbs are out of proportion, clothes no longer fit, klutziness is the rule of the day. Intellectually, they tend to think about perspectives other than their own, overthink things, jump to wrong conclusions, and say things they regret. Emotionally, they are thrown from anger to depression in a heartbeat. They overreact and over-emote to normal situations. Spiritually, they may be struggling with doubts and find it hard to believe that they have worth simply because God made them and loves them. They struggle between wanting to be adults and never wanting to grow up. One of the ways they cope with this is by avoidance.
This book gives you ideas of how to handle it and whether you should make them go (like going to church, for sure!) or if you can let them stay home and give them a consequence later. It reminds us to be the calm, stable, adult when they are out of control. The authors also give clues to watch and what to ask to discover if your child is being bullied and what you can do about it, and in what situation it is okay as a Christian for the child to defend himself or herself. It also tells what to do if your child is the bully.
The book also talks about how sometimes kids at this stage will behave perfectly in one moment and then be completely embarrassing (burping the alphabet, trying to be funny or cracking jokes at the wrong time, etc.) It mentions that the kids will grow out of this on their own. Others will need coaching. We are to love them, relationship is important even when they are making intestinal noises with their hands.
This chapter also discusses etiquette on social media (even if your children aren't on it, you need to be talking about it, as it will be encountered at some point in their life). It talks about the guy-girl relationship changing between buddies since they were little to, “wait a minute – she's a girl!” or girls may think, “suddenly I feel a little self-conscious around him.” It talks about getting accountability software on every single internet-capable device in your home and in a later chapter mentions how to be safe from predators on the internet.
This chapter talks about romantic attachments and how to have a biblically balanced view of relationships. It mentions the conversations we need to have with them now so they can make wise choices when a situation is upon them.
Media, Gaming, and Discernment
We struggle with this one. My husband is okay with the children playing video games. However, I am the one that ends up being the “police” and have to watch the “eye time spent”, content of the games, whether it is age appropriate, where they play it, etc. It is really a struggle. Especially when a child is an adult living in your home and doesn't have “eye time” anymore and can play what they want, but needs to be careful of other little eyes. This is a real large family struggle I live with. I am so happy to see it addressed in this book!
The book says, “our older kids will quickly remind us, ‘you never let us do that!', or the younger ones will demand to know why big sister is allowed to be on Facebook but the little sister isn't. It is perfectly appropriate to tell a younger child, ‘you're not old enough'”. The book discusses that they need protected screen time when they are little so they can have active play, imagination, and exploration. It goes on to discuss how to move from protected to guided screen time.
The authors mention the power of art and how we can appreciate how well something is drawn or how well a performer dances, but underneath all of that, there is the critically important matter of the message. We need to ask ourselves, “What are they telling me here? Is it true? Is it good?” We also need to teach them to identify the theme or what the movie maker wants you to think or believe from this film. There is a place for the portrayal of evil. We live in a sinful world, but it is important to make a distinction about stories that celebrate a moral inversion. We have to be careful with some genres – often they take advantage of the idea of new and unfamiliar settings to suggest that God's law doesn't extend to these parts of the universe. The authors state, “When a story truly delves into horror, the supernatural, and the occult, there is a serious problem.” The authors mention that as we allow our children to watch shows that are not 100% G-rated, we need to increase the time we spend talking to them about the media they are consuming and gives suggestions for doing so.
In the topic of gaming, the author reminds us that how gaming is different is that the player becomes and actor in the story, not just an observer. We need our children to be asking themselves if this is pleasing to God? When it comes to sin, it doesn't have to be in real life to be sin; unrighteous anger is murder in the spirit, self-indulging lust is adultery in the heart, and so on. We need to be careful of the fantasy life we let our children pursue. Our kids need a great deal of supervision and caution when interacting with the internet and the world it accesses.
I really enjoyed this book and plan to re-read it as I tend to forget things and am again surprised anew when the next child enters this mysterious time of life and starts acting strangely. It encourages me and helps me feel like “my child is normal” and “I am not a bad parent”, etc. Also, the book looks to the future and reminds us that this is a stage, a short period of time similar to going through toddler tantrums, it too will pass.
The part I am uncomfortable with is all the conversations it tells me to have with the kids during this stage of life. There are some things I am not comfortable talking about! Yet, the book does make me feel like it is important in this day and age. Some of these we have already had with our children that I also learned from Hal and Melanie when I listened to an eBook or read a previous book from them and a few are new to me, or at least at this age. I may have to pun some of those to my husband though as I feel he may handle it better!
Another part I am uncomfortable with is the mention of how a child can go from having conversations online to being “groomed” by a predator to then meeting up with someone and be murdered by that person. Yuck! Yet I know that I need to read it to make it real for me so that I can warn my children too, so I struggle with it.
There are many things that were are helpful to me in how to deal with my children in a variety of situations; and how I can guide them through it and teach it from a biblical perspective. I do feel this book is an important asset to me as a parent in “raising my children up in the Lord” and I am happy to have it even though there are parts that I am uncomfortable with.
In the past I have purchased some eBooks from their website and the physical book, Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality. I have enjoyed all of their materials and intend to continue purchasing from them. I also subscribe to their newsletter, which is very encouraging and gives me an insight into what is going on in their family and home life.
How To Find Them:
- Website: https://www.raisingrealmen.com/
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/raisingrealmen @raisingrealmen
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/raisingrealmen
- Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/raisingrealmen @raisingrealmen
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/raisingrealmen @raisingrealmen
The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew has a great team of homeschool parents that also reviewed this and other products from Great Waters Press, so click the banner below to see all the reviews:
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