For parents of children ages ten to 15, this book offers encouragement, guidance, and reassurance during the tumultuous middle school years.
Impressive in scope and refreshingly candid, this down-to-earth parenting guide helps fill the advice vacuum for the pre-teen years. What's even better, the authors, both freelance writers, have clearly "been there, done that" as parents, and the guidance they offer rings true. In charting the confusing shoals of "middlers"as they dub middle school studentsGiannetti and Sagarese cover the expected bases, from peer pressure and the physical havoc wrought by puberty's onset to effective discipline and what they call "the terrifying triad of temptation"drugs, alcohol and sex. They push on to explore a host of other topics, including such hot buttons such as body image, gender bias in the classroom and the pervasive influence of the media (the latter in a chapter entitled "Beaver and Wally vs. Beavis and Butthead"). The pages abound with imaginative and pointed suggestions: case in point is a list of innovative strategies for bridging the generation gap that includes calling a close relative to ask what you yourself were really like at that age. Observations from a wide cross-section of parents, teachers and middlers, polled across the U.S. and Canada are woven into each section to lend immediacy and frankness to the lively text. A generous recommended reading and reference guide rounds out this excellent volume. If a parent could only have one manual to help navigate the middle school years, this one should be it. (Aug.)