When your family grows, the most common advice references how fast your little blessing will grow. “Don’t blink, you’ll miss it” “treasure every moment, they grow so fast” “the days are long; the years are short”. You may read books and blogs for survival tips. There are helps for the “terrible twos” and a growing number for surviving the teen years, but not much for parenting tweens. I know, I know, I really don’t like using that word, but it fits. Those years when your child is not a young one but working on growing up but not yet a teenager, yeah, tween fits. With three of our children between the ages of 8 and 12, I need resources. Thankfully, Hal & Melanie Young of Raising Real Men and Great Waters Press have written a book. No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope is just the help we’ve been looking for.
When our older girls (now 17, 15 & 14) were in this “in between” space, I noticed the changes first in academic growth (or lack of). After a little research, it makes sense that their brains and bodies are more focused on adolescence and physical maturing. For some children, it seems as though the thinking part of their brains is turned off. They suddenly cannot remember what was just said to them and lose focus easily. That’s not to say we skip academics during this time, but our focus is elsewhere.
No Longer Little reflects this observation in chapter 3 – Brains Turn to Mush. This is not the only area of your tweens life affected during this time of much growing (and I do mean growing – our 12 year old needs new pants every 3 months – at least). Emotions are all over the place, body changes start, and spiritual questions arise. Not only does this sanity-saving book address these topics, but offers guidance in areas of virtue, media & gaming, coming-of-age ceremonies, and relationships. Strengthening your relationship with your child during this time is one of the biggest takeaways I have from my first reading of this book.
Throughout the twelve chapters, we are pointed back to Scripture over and over – because it is so relevant. We look at youth in Scripture. It may seem as though the Bible doesn’t address today’s youth, but I think it is that we’ve skewed what is expected of them. This is addressed quite a bit more, in my opinion, in the other book I recently read by Hal & Melanie Young – Love, Honor, and Virtue.
One chapter I was surprised by, Producers, Not Consumers, ended up being my favorite. We may miss a lot of the marketing by not taking the paper or watching typical TV, but I know that much is aimed at children of this age. It is a wonderful time to teach your child how to be smart with their money – where it comes from, making it themselves, etc. There are numerous examples and thoughts we have had in our own family, but it was wonderful to see this all pulled together. I never would have thought to put a focus on this area for our children this age. Our 12 year old son has just started mowing lawns. Thanks to what I’ve read, we are capitalizing on the natural lessons this affords.
No Longer Little, Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope is just one of the titles from Hal & Melanie Young that the Homeschool Review Crew is reviewing right now. Click the image below to read the reviews for this title as well as Love, Honor, and Virtue – Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Towards Sexuality.