Help and Hope for Parents of Middle Schoolers
Parents on the verge of the middle school years will find in Cynthia Tobias and Sue Acuña’s new book, Middle School: The Inside Story, the help and hope they need to make it through those roller coaster years with early teens.
Middle School: The Inside Story is organized into four sections: Changes, Parenting, Friends and Other Problems, and School. Throughout the book, Tobias and Acuña help parents understand what goes on in middle school minds, how teens deal with all the changes, and how to parent during these turbulent years. Some of the best advice in the book comes early on when the authors say, “These are critical years; teens who don’t have good relationships with their parents during middle school are going to have a very tough time in high school, when it’s almost too late to establish the trust and rapport necessary to stay connected.”
Additionally, the authors help parents understand that the middle school years signal the start of the detachment process in which parents slowly begin to let go and release teens to more and more responsibility as the years go by–all in preparation for young adulthood. Tobias and Acuña suggest that parents take on the role of consultant rather than manager, steering their teens toward wise decisions with good questions and gentle suggestions as well as natural consequences for irresponsibility and not-so-good decisions.
Scattered throughout the book, readers find testimonies and quotes from teens and parents as well as teachers, giving accurate pictures of various stages and issues. These enhance the reader’s understanding and sensitivity for dealing with their own teens.
I also appreciate the numerous lists and charts throughout the book that help readers more easily digest so many facts and ideas. For example, chapter three highlights a list of middle schoolers’ common fears–both hidden and unhidden. Chapter four includes a chart of a middle schooler’s basic needs. In chapter seven, there’s an oh-so-helpful “no-no” list for communication with early teens. Reasonable expectations for chores are outlined in chapter eight. And, in chapter sixteen, parents find a quick list of learning style characteristics.
All in all, Middle School: The Inside Story is an easy-to-read but highly relevant book, filled with helpful information. If you’re looking for a book to help you navigate the middle school years with a teen in your life, this book is just what you need. My husband is a youth minister and plans to recommend the book to parents of middle schoolers in our church and community.
About the Authors
Cynthia Ulrich Tobias is founder and CEO of Apple St. (Applied Learning Styles) and the best-selling author of 11 books, including The way They Learn and Every Child Can Succeed.
Sue Acuña has loved being a middle school teacher for over 20 years–and her students openly and honestly share their world with her every day.
* Note: I received a copy of the book from Tyndale Blog Network for this honest review. However, the opinions expressed are my own.
Published 8 months ago by Laura Langley