Parenting is not for the faint of heart…especially in our culture…especially when we hit the tween years! I have three daughters and from the time they were itty bitty we would constantly get heads sadly shaking from side to side, a few “tsk tsk” sounds, and lamentations upon how horrible things would be for us once they were tweenages and teenagers. Honestly, this didn’t scare me, it only frustrated me! My background is teaching middle schoolers and I know there are challenges to this age, but the last thing I encourage parents to do is throw their hands in the air and give up to the madness! I was very excited to read No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope by Hal and Melanie Young from Great Waters Press and see what their perspective was. While their work is primarily written for parents of boys, this particular title is quite valuable whether you are raising young men or young women. As with everything from this company you can be confident the material is addressed from a biblical perspective. There are so many voices in the world to weed through when it comes to parenting advice. Before I dive too deeply into any title I make sure I know the world-view of the author first. Reading this was a breath of fresh air! I’m in the throws of this parenting with an almost 9-year-old, a 11-year-old and an almost 13-year-old. Even though I’ve taught middle school for many years it is completely different teaching this age than it is parenting this age! I love that one of the first things addressed is that so much of the self-consciousness, uncertainty, and sadness or anger is due in great part to our enemy, Satan. It isn’t that the feelings are invalid or wrong. Feelings in and of themselves cannot be wrong, but the actions which follow can definitely fall into sinful ways. We must quip our young charges to deal with this as a spiritual battle, not merely a physical one. Kids are going to be experiencing all sorts of new emotions and will often begin questioning their upbringing and the things we parents have taught them. I loved the opening story about the authors’ son and his declaration at 9 that he believed he was going to be an atheist! While this sounds scary at first, it is actually a good thing for children to begin to ask deeper questions about faith. The Bible never tells us to not question. In fact it teaches to deeply discern through study and Scripture so we can be certain of our faith! As our faith deepens these doubts and questions begin to be answered and it is strengthened. There are several topics included in this book which will affect preteens and young teens whether homeschooled or not. Some include: faith, sexuality, media, family, work ethic, and the future. With each chapter the authors unfold what the common perspective of the world is, what the biblical view is, and tips for helping our young ones navigate these confusing and complex issues. My two favorite chapters were Media, Gaming, and Discernment and Producers, Not Consumers. I really like how these definitively real-life issues are addressed with practical answers with the biblical basis. We cannot ignore our society and how it has changed in ethical standards. Leisure time is valued above all else and work ethic is seemingly nonexistent, and, like it or not, the internet and social media are here to stay. We cannot afford to isolate our children to the point they have no sense of awareness or how to set boundaries. These chapters in particular spoke to me and gave me some new thoughts to ponder.
I was excited to have the opportunity to stop by the Great Waters Press booth at NCHE in May! Their booth was very busy each time I walked by and they were always helpfully chatting with those who had stopped. I highly, highly recommend this book to those with pre-teens and teenagers. The Crew also reviewed Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality which I am now very interested to read myself after finishing this title. Just based on the quality of what I read I would also recommend this one!
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