Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen: The Essential Conversations You Need To Have with Your Kids Before They Start High School

Harmony: Crown. Feb. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780593137512. $26.99. CHILD REARING
With over 16 years working with middle schoolers and their parents, running leadership programs and conferences, and leading an online group with over 6,000 parents, Icard (Middle School Makeover) is uniquely qualified to tackle the anxiety-inducing subject of conversations with junior high students. Oversized glasses, a bowl created mullet cut, and orthodontia were parts of her adolescent experience, so Icard understands on a personal level the awkwardness of the tween years. At age 11 many children start pulling away from their parents and cut down communication. Likewise, parents’ desires for children to be safe and savagely smart in the face of danger is often at odds with middle schoolers’ need for separation. A few things are nonnegotiable in these years: sleep, autonomy, unconditional love, and dignity. With the exception of sleep, conversations are a crucial part in providing these “essentials.” Following the BRIEF Model (Begin Peacefully, Relate, Interview, Echo, Feedback), Icard provides sample scripts and tips for conversations that best happen before the age of 14 due because of cognitive development.
VERDICT This volume will provide help for communicating with middle schoolers about the things that matter.
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