You may not be aware of this, but moms can roll their eyes at their kids just as well as their kids do at them. The mom eye roll seems to peak somewhere in the middle school years. Personally, this is one of my favorite age groups. They are “grown” enough to begin thinking independently, but still innocent enough to get excited about things. Many parents and teachers would disagree with me, however!
As a result, I am always looking for a great resource to suggest to parents of tween girls. (For some reason, the boys at this age don’t seem to bother parents and teachers as much.). I recently had a chance to look at a new book She’s Almost a Teenager: Essential Conversations to Have Now by Peter and Heather Larson and David and Claudia Arp.
The authors take time to discuss the eight conversations they believe parents should have with girls before they enter the teen years. They cover all of the basics from friends to physical changes to faith to boys and more. Each chapter breaks the topic down into the concerns you as a parent may have as well as the position or ideas your child may have. They do a good job of walking through the things that should be included in each conversation and end each chapter with several broad discussion questions to ask your child.
While the book is great and I would definitely suggest reading it if you do not already have an open dialogue with your child, I did have a couple of issues. The first is the assumption that all tween girls are a pain. Personally, I believe we often get from kids what we expect from them. Yes, their hormones can make it difficult for them to control their emotions at times, but frankly I have found if you treat any child with great respect, they are usually responsive.
My second concern is that although this book is faith-based, the authors make a statement towards the beginning that I think waters down the faith aspect of the book. I’m loosely paraphrasing here, but they state the number one goal of a parent should be to raise an independent child. I respectfully argue that my number one goal was and is that my daughter is a productive Christian and goes to Heaven when she dies. Honestly, if her choices fall within that range I don’t care if she is an artist, a doctor or a ditch digger.
Because the authors place faith in almost a secondary role, some of the discussions tend to sound more secular in nature. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t suggest anything that is ungodly. It’s just a slight shift in perspective that can often make all the difference in the world. Many of the similar conversations in our home included a lot of discussion about what God would want for us and why He wants that. We also spent a lot of time teaching our daughter how to find God’s path and plans for her life and follow that for the best possible path.
This book is definitely a good solid primer for parents who have not been having important discussions with their kids. I think there are many parents who need this book and can use it to help them feel more confident about beginning these discussions. For a Christian family who has been talking about these things almost since your kids could talk, I don’t know that it has anything new to offer you. (The one exception may be the ideas in the back for project thirteen and birthday boxes.)
Whether you use this book or not, please have these conversations with your kids – boy or girl. Have them constantly so they become tapes playing in your child’s head. Don’t let your child figure out life without your guidance. It’s one of your main privileges as a parent – take advantage of it.
This book was given to me for free in return for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.