Understanding Your Young Teen:
Practical Wisdom for Parents.
Reviewed by Eric Judge.
The teen years loom large in our popular imagination as a time of epic upheaval and potential disaster. None loom larger than the dreaded middle school years. Ask almost anyone what they think of middle schoolers and you are likely to get a negative response and stories of about how awful their own middle school years were. As for me, my middle school years were really pretty fine. Aside from one depantsing incident in the halls, which taught me not to wear sweat pants to school, I don’t recall that middle school was very traumatic for me. My mother may remember differently and if she does, the discrepancies between our memories may be explained by me having selective amnesia.
In contrast to the usual apprehensive approach to this age by parents, churches, and teachers Mark Oestreicher’s fine book, Understanding Your Young Teen: Practical Wisdom for Parents, explores the early teen years with a developmentally shaped understanding. He sees the teen years as a time of great change and opportunity for the moral, spiritual, relational, and emotional development of young teens. Seeking to strike a course between the extremes of parental over-involvement (a type of teenage “helicopter parenting”) and complete retreat at the first signs of adolescent change, Oestreicher helps parents understand the very real and significant changes that occur from ages 9-13 and encourages them to see themselves as guides and fellow travelers on their children’s path to adulthood.
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