Important lessons to help parents manage their middle school children.
Middle school is a transitional period for children—they bask in the twilight of adolescence before the big-world responsibilities of high school open up a path to maturity. Or at least that’s the way we’d like to remember it. King and Sollerh assure us that today’s middle school children teeter on the brink of adulthood at an earlier age than we did, in precarious situations that would make most parents cringe—technology and society in general have intensified the standard preteen issues of privacy, popularity, bullying and romance. For King and Sollerh, a parent’s healthy connection to a child is paramount in this “dance,” as they call it. Both parties—parents and their children—must learn to react in a constructive way to the personal and public challenges that can make middle school so difficult. The handbook incorporates relatable examples with guidance fleshed out in clear explanations, which form an easily navigable roadmap to help parents deal with the unpredictable, incomparable task of raising a pre-teenager. Because King and Sollerh write more like parents than counselors, their advice never feels clinical and the book is rarely dry. They strategize those three challenging years with emphasis on the one thing a child needs the most, even if they rarely say it: the safety and security that only a parent can provide. Stay calm and empathize before you speak—you’re the adult in the situation, after all, so gently take charge.
Sage advice for frustrated parents of preteens.