Book Review: She’s Almost a Teenager- Heather and Peter Larson and Claudia and David Arp

REVIEW:

This is more than just another book about having “the talk” or a survival guide for the tween years with your daughter. This book is an informative and fun book about all the big conversations that parents need to have with their daughter before they head into adolescence. While targeted at the parents of pre-teens, this book is a helpful book for all parents with young daughters. Even for parents that have missed the pre-teen conversation, it is not too late to still have the important conversations spelled out in this book. Written by parents for parents, this book is just plain out great!

SNAPSHOT

Conversation 1: The Big Picture Talk

Beginning with the end in mind, the “Big Picture” talk is talking to your daughter about the years ahead and being a teen, before it all begins. It is about having a conversation that will help her and you successfully navigate the years ahead. Beyond the teenage years, the goal of the conversation is also doing the work of preparing them to be an independent, wellfunctioning woman. Parents must be aware of their own style of parenting as they approach this conversation. Are they “the smotherer”, the “pusher”, or “the releaser”? This is the moment of moving beyond being the caregiver and teacher to finally standing back, being the coach.

Conversation 2: The Friends Talk

Tween years is when the relational shift from family to friends happens. This conversation is where parents identify what it has meant be part of their family, while they prepare their daughter to be influenced by peers. A parent’s voice is soon to not be the only voice or the loudest voice in a daughter’s life, as friends begin to have the power to influence. The influence can be a good or it can be bad. A parent’s role in this essential conversation is to help their daughter be ready to stand up for themselves and what they know is right.

Conversation 3: The Academic Talk

The pressure and stress is growing as a daughter heads into the next level of school. Academically, socially and emotionally school is the place of education in all ways. The “academic” conversation is a time to talk about citizenship, vocation, and mental growth.

This conversation is also about what are the things that may be standing in the way of these goals. Is a daughter finding her balance, is she discovering the difference between achievement and intelligence, and does she understand the meaning of success.

Conversation 4: The Body Talk

The “hormonal rollercoaster” is between the ages of 8 and 12, and it comes before the full change over into adolescent development. Beyond the usual change of a young girl’s body and emotions, she also must face the confusing messages of our world. A girl must learn to understand her body and accept her body as it goes through the changes of the teenage years. It is why the “body” conversation is so important. The conversations must cover body image, eating habits, clothing and modesty.

Conversation 5: The Faith Talk

The tween years are the years moving from parent’s faith to personal faith. It is a time to internalize and take on individual belief and spiritual growth. Parents in this conversation must challenge their young daughter to ask the big questions and seek the big answers. These years are a time also of moving from concrete understanding of beliefs to an abstract discovery of faith.

Conversation 6: The Boys Talk

While boys may be still viewed as gross, it is only a short time away when a girl will begin to think about dating, relationships, and even marriage. This “talk” will be a time for parents to discuss their views of dating and relationships. This will be an opportunity to teach about pursuit, response and honesty in relationships with boys. This is the moment when girls learn how to guard their heart, eyes and body in respect for their future husband.

Conversation 7: The Money Talk

The “money talk” is about learning the value of money and Godly stewardship of it. Parents need to sit down and talk about budgets, expenses and what is the difference between a need and a want. In this conversation, once again, the end goal must be in mind and discussed as a family looks ahead to college and/or career. A great way to discuss money is through discussing how she might deal with an unexpected gift of money. Would she be a “spender or a saver”? How much would she spend, save and give?

Conversation 8: The Tech Talk

The “tech talk” is formed around three main things: rights, responsibilities and privileges. Based on the world a tween lives in, they often assume a privilege is a right. Just because a girl is heading into her teen years, it is not her right to have a smartphone, it is a privilege. As parents have this conversation, they can separate the culture’s perspective from their own family values, teaching their daughter that with technology privileges come technology responsibilities. The responsibilities also come with rewards and consequences.