English Mum Reply to on 30 May 2011
|A lot has been said recently about The Tween. Not still a `kid' (my mum would tell me off for that - `they're not goats!'), and yet not really a teenager, the tween is a pretty modern phenomenon. Netmums' new book, You and Your Tween, looks at `managing the years from 9 to 13' with Hollie Smith, a parenting expert and author of no less than eight books on parenting. She should know what she's talking about, then...
The sections are well thought-out and do make the book easy to dip in and out of when you need advice on a specific subject. There are chapters on conflict and communication, education, friends and peers, puberty (including the dreaded sex and relationships) modern media, good health, emotional issues, and independence and responsibility. Each section is enhanced, in my opinion, with the addition of the experiences of real mums. Sometimes these mums have tried different methods to those recommended in the book, or have approached a problem from a different angle. I like this - those `holier than thou you must do it my way' books aren't my cup of tea at all. I enjoyed reading how other mums deal with issues such as online time and homework, and really felt like I'd learned some new ideas and things to try.
Worthy of a mention, I thought, were the tips for talking and listening (I think we all need reminding to stay calm when dealing with our children, and the advice about giving your tweens your full attention when they're talking is something that I will try hard to remember). I read a bit of the puberty section out to my own two, just for the sheer joy of watching them squirm, but even they admitted that the book's approach was a good one - no nonsense and factual. It was also really interesting to read the varying approaches to on-screen time - ranging from no TV during the week, to no rules at all. The reminder that `when setting ground-rules for our tweens, most of us could still benefit from taking a long hard look at our own leisure habits' struck a chord. So often in parenting we adopt a `do as I say not do as I do' system, which is far from ideal.
All in all, I'd thoroughly recommend this book - with my oldest now 16, I wish I'd read it a good few years ago. If you've got a tween, or a nearly-tween, I'd give this a go. While nothing in parenting might be completely new (even if we put a new label on it), the advice is sound and the opinions are intelligent. And hey, who doesn't need a little help?