I am currently in an interesting stage of life where I have two preteens, a preschooler, and an infant. I wouldn’t change it for the world but it sure makes life interesting. Life with two tweens (ages 12 and 10) brings a different set of both joys and challenges than the younger years. As my husband and I work together to navigate these new waters I was excited to have the opportunity to read and review, No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope by Great Waters Press.
No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope was written by Hal and Melanie Young and is geared towards parents of children ages 8-14. It it written in a very smooth and easy to read style that while packed with information does not feel ‘clinical’ as some parenting books tend to feel. I was blessed to be able to read it while enjoying some family time at the river and it didn’t feel like I was doing ‘work’.
While I think it is beneficial to read this book the whole way through, I also appreciate that there is an index in the back to help you find information and suggestions on particular topics. I see this a book that I can reference while we work through various issues during these tween and teen years. For example, I could use the index to find more information on hormone changes, jealousy, or even career planning.
Chapter 3: Brains Turn to Mush might just be my favorite chapter. I had noticed this phenomenon begin with my son several years ago but I did not really understand why or how it happened. I certainly did not realize that is was a normal part of development. I was prepared for the outward signs of the beginning of puberty (hair growth, voice changing, etc) and even the emotional roller coaster that can accompany hormones, but I was not prepared for his brain to turn to mush. I did not understand what was happening when he suddenly could not seem to remember to follow simple instructions. As the Young’s stated, “Kids that could concentrate and remember what they were doing last year suddenly can’t, once the hormones start flowing. They can’t.”
What a relief to realize that it was not just us! While it is still frustrating some days, understanding the science behind it makes it easier to handle and gives hope of a light at the end of the tunnel. They shared that “Neurologists say that during early adolescence, these parts of the brain actually unravel; there truly is a temporary loss of function as the neurons re-assemble into their adult configurations.” I really needed their reminder and instructions on making sure that I preserve a love of learning during this more difficult time so that when things level out again we are ready to move forward academically.
Sometimes God sends us a message that we need to hear through a book (or in my case multiple books that I’m reading this summer). In the last chapter, Hal and Melanie talk about how people often assume that we will have a bad or tumultuous relationship with our teens, but it does not have to be that way. If we give focused attention to keeping our relationships intact during these tween years, we can have wonderful and connected relationships. We have to, “protect your relationship with your tweens. Keep teaching them truth in that context- a loving, healthy communicating relationship. And trust God for the results.”
No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope was so encouraging and helpful. It was the perfect mix of encouragement and practical suggestions. My one regret is that I did not have this book several years ago when we started going through some of these challenges with my oldest. If you are a parent, especially of a child in the 8-14 range, I highly encourage you to read this book. The strategies are practical, Biblically based, and very helpful. Perhaps just as important as the strategies, this book will help you understand that what is going on with your child is normal and you are not alone.
Check out these other Crew Reviews and check back tomorrow for my review of their book, Love, Honor, and Virtue Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality.
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