Tuesday, October 6, 2015


My oldest daughter is in that tweendom stage and my middle daughter is entering that time as well.  On Sunday as she was getting ready for church, she told me that she has her own style.  She said it sweetly with a smile on her face.  I looked at her in skinny jeans and a grey blousy shirt and agreed.  New territory.

A friend of mine recently shared that her daughter and her friends--fifth graders are looking forward to the school dance that will be held at the end of the year.  Her daughter isn't into boys, but this is a girl ask boy, or boy ask girl situation.  New territory.

Last week at lunch during our co-op day, I talked with the middle school girls, which included my 7th grade daughter, about what their families talked about at dinner.  We often have very humorous conversations at our table, so Autumn and I explained how my husband was interrupting Autumn's story with "in a volcano", "by a volcano", "under a volcano", "inside a volcano", etc.  The other girls talked about how their parents often talked about the bad things that happened during their days, or how they all talked at once if they had had good days.  I watched and realized that the girls hadn't developed the skill yet of learning how to ask each other questions--of valuing what their friends had to share more than what they wanted to say.  New territory.

The book in front of me is about that New territory.  Peter and Heather Larson have written She's
Almost a Teenager, with the help of David and Claudia Arp.  Peter and Heather Larson have experience counseling, but their daughters are in the tweendom time right now.  So, I began reading this book feeling a bit unsure.  I prefer to read books written by people who have lived through what they're talking about and are several years down the road--so they have had time to reflect on what they walked through.  Things always look different when you step back and get a bigger picture of things.  But, I have been pleasantly surprised by this book.  I am glad they have the Arps input.  The Arps do have those years under their belts already.  Additionally, I liked the many, varied stories from other families that the Larson's include.  Those stories give me ideas and they are what I value most.  Every family is unique.  For example, the Larsons are big on daddy/daughter "dates", as are the Arps.  This isn't something that works for our family--it doesn't fit our family's personality.  But, the Arp and Larson families do fit with that concept.  On the other hand, the subjects talked about at our dinner table are likely not the same as many other families.  As I learned last Thursday, telling stories about a motorcyclist named Sally who goes to Mars and passes by a dragon eating up princess dogs is more than a bit unusual.  Oh, and the story was, of course, "by a volcano".  The end of that story was that the Princess Cerberus came and attacked the dragon.

The book covers a lot of topics that I'm finding come up during these years:  boys, academics, faith, friends, money, tech, and their bodies (including how they dress and sex).  Each chapter gives some thoughts about the topic and some questions at the end that could be discussion starters.  I like that the authors acknowledge that every family has different feelings about dating, but the authors aren't extreme in their own views.  It felt very balanced.  They even referenced one of my favorite authors, Cynthia Heald, in the discussion of how to dress.  That tells me who these authors are listening to and receiving encouragement from.  The discussions are food for thought--they are not a legalistic list of you should do this and not do that.  I would always say to anyone reading a book like this--take from it what fits you and your children. You have your own personality and so do your children.

Would I recommend this book?  Yes, I think I would.  It's a place to start.  Even if you disagree with the Larsons and Arps, it will give you food for thought.  Iron sharpens iron.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishing.

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