When I was kid, the word "tween" didn't exist, and neither did the concept. You were a child right up until you turned into a teenager and if you wanted independence, walking home from school on your own was about as exciting as it got. We didn't spend hours playing on games consoles, whining about wanting a mobile phone, looking up rude things online or plugged into an mp3 player because those things didn't exist (although I do have fond memories of going to sleep with my walkman playing cassettes, playing on our commodore 64 computer and looking up the word "penis" in the dictionary at school !).
These days, kids - long before their teens - have access to a whole range of rather worrying (for us parents) new temptations and experiences that we certainly never went through at their age so it's sometimes hard to know how to talk about them or understand them. I can advise my kids about bullying at school and share my experiences but I have no real idea of how it feels to be cyber-bullied or have someone create a fake Facebook page in your identity spreading lies about you. We are the first generation of parents who have to work out when is the best time to let your kids have a mobile phone or create a twitter account. And kids grow up so fast now - I was heartbroken (and secretly relieved) to learn that a 12-year-old in one of my classes at school had a miscarriage last year. Sophie frequently has what I would call teenage strops and she's only 9.
Netmums to the rescue ! They explain : "This book has been researched and written by regular Netmums author Hollie Smith, herself a mum of two little Tweens. Hollie has worked with the guidance and advice of our expert panel: psychotherapeutic counsellor and Netmums parent supporter Crissy Duff, and parenting coach Elaine Halligan. And as always, we have drawn on the invaluable real life experiences of hundreds of Netmums who have safely navigated their children through this phase of their journey. You’ll find out here just how far to allow them to push their new independence; where, when and how to set boundaries; how to listen - and how to encourage them to talk to you; how to respect their privacy, whilst keeping them safe. Most of all, you’ll learn how to help your child to be a happy, confident, responsible Tween – who still feels able to come to mum and dad for advice, guidance…or just a hug on a bad day'."
Just reading through the contents list is reassuring - there are a number of problem areas that I can immediately spot, as well as things that I know will be a problem in the next couple of years. The chapter headings are : Conflict & Communication ; School ; Friends & Peers ; Puberty, Sex & Relationships ; Modern Media ; Health & Well-being ; Emotional Issues ; and Independence. There are certain chapters that I want to read immediately from start to finish, and others that don't concern me yet but that I am reassured to know are there to read when the need arises.
Just as most parents like to buy a pregnancy guide and a baby guide, to keep on the shelf to dip into when problems and concerns arise, this is a really reassuring book to keep on your shelf. It offers great advice but is also really reassuring because the testimonials from real parents show that you are not alone. Therefore your kid is not a monster and you are not a rubbish parent !
It doesn't try to give you "one-size-fits-all" advice either, recognising that different kids and families have different needs and offering several strategies to try. I love the tone of the book, which is friendly and reassuring and not at all patronising. It's like chatting to a friend or a big sister who has been there before and is willing to support and advise you without looking down at you or making you feel bad. The advice is sensible and you will pick up numerous tips to help you get through the emotional minefield of the delicate tween-age years.
If you're at a different stage, you might like to know that Netmums have produced eight parenting books in the series. Hopefully, the next one will deal with teens.
star rating : 4.5/5
Publisher: Headline (12 May 2011)
(sponsored - but nevertheless totally honest ! - post)
By joining the Netmums Blogging Network, the bloggers have agreed to the following:
I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I am paid an expenses fee to cover my time (and childcare if the fee is big enough!) but Netmums have no editorial control whatsoever about what I blog about. Being a member of the Netmums Blogging Network means that I get to try out products and brands and get my expenses covered but that I retain full editorial integrity.
Other reviews you may be interested in :
Looking for a fun family day out ? Open Farm Sunday - 12th June 2011
Blogging Tips for Kids from author Pete Johnson
Blogging Tips for Kids from author Pete Johnson