Middle School Makeover: Improving the Way You and Your Child Experience the Middle School Years

Michelle Icard, Author
Michelle Icard. Bibliomotion (Perseus, dist.), $19.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-937134-97-6
Hardcover - 201 pages - 978-1-937134-98-3
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Icard, the creator of the middle school social skills courses Athena’s Path and Hero’s Pursuit, shares affirming, spot-on advice for guiding kids through the difficult middle school years, blending thoughtful practicality, and gentle humor. As Icard explains, these years build identity on the unsteady ground of a changing body and a complex and shifting social environment. How adults respond can be understood as a paradigm shift: “from fixing things for your child to teaching your child how to fix things himself.” Icard recommends that parents serve as the calm “assistant manager” to their children’s growing brain, guiding them toward slower thinking and problem solving, and acting as empathetic coach rather than micromanager; she offers sample conversations to demonstrate what that might look like. On the practical side, she recommends cultivating a neutral “Botox Brow” facial expression to tone down reactions, and supports giving children greater independence, letting them take risks, and (monitored) use of social media, among many other helpful tips. Parents should take middle school social problems as seriously as, if more calmly than, their kids do, the author counsels. Most importantly, Icard successfully positions herself as a knowledgeable, sympathetic peer— someone who knows that parents want to have a great relationship with their children during this period of rapid change. (May)
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