SOCIAL SCIENCES

And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School

Crown. May 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781101905883. $27. CHILD REARING
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The middle school years are a stage of cognitive, behavioral, and social development during which the rapid brain changes rival those that occurred in the first three years of life. In addition, identifying with children’s social trauma during this period can lead to secondary trauma in adults as past issues from their own lives are triggered. Warner (We’ve Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication) further states that middle age, which many parents reach during the middle school years, is marked with similar struggles about status and identity. Growth can be fostered, says Warner, by letting go of our need to achieve our own goals through our children, understanding the complexity of kids’ brains during this crucial era, providing context to help them make sense of the world and people around them, and raising rather than lowering our standards.
VERDICT A fascinating entry on the middle school years and the struggles both children and adults face during this time. The addition of bulleted takeaways at the end of each chapter would have enhanced what is occasionally a dense read for busy parents.

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