As a mother of three young children, I often hear horror stories from people going through the process of raising teens. It seems like once your little angels hit puberty, all hell breaks loose and your once perfectly behaved darlings, turn in to complete monsters.
I’d really like to think that this isn’t the case, but instead, I’m trying to arm myself with enough information to help my eldest son, Alex, understand the changes that he will be going through in a few years time. With this in mind, I accepted the chance to review a new book on the market called, ‘Help Your Kids with Growing Up’.
What to expect
Reading the information on the Amazon page for this book seems really encouraging.
Covering everything from the menstrual cycle to sexting and even cyber-bullying, this visual guide to puberty and adolescence is a must-read for all parents and tweens embarking on those scary teenage years.
Help Your Kids with Growing Up is the only guide to cover contemporary issues such as internet safety, whilst also tackling key topics such as sexuality and body image. Expert-written content by Professor Robert Winston offers a straightforward, unpatronising approach to tricky topics, with special chapters on puberty by Dr Radha Modgil. Stunning graphics and illustrations make this invaluable for tweens and teens alike, whether as a quick-reference guide or cover-to-cover read.
Non-judgemental and up to date, this is the essential illustrated guide to adolescence for both parents and their teens.
Given how in-depth this book seems and encouraged by the straightforward attitude, I dove in with good expectations.
The first section in Help Your Kids with Growing Up is the Growing Up chapter. Here we delve into topics such as the Teen Brain and how it changes during puberty. The Illustrations do a great job of appealing to the kids who might also be reading along to inform themselves. They’re brightly coloured and feature easy to understand annotations that can be read over quickly.
Identity, Thinking Independently, Mood Swings, Self Expression and Gender feature prominently as sub topics. Particularly useful are the Teen Hints and Parent Tip boxes, that provide additional resources for the troubled teen and worried parent.
Think of this section as an introduction to Puberty and the changing state of your child’s body before things get into full swing.
Anxiety and Depression
Now let’s look at the some of the sections, I feel are the most important for our modern age.
Anxiety and Depression is ever more prominent in society now, with more and more young people falling victim to the black dog. Understanding how to approach this subject can be difficult, given society’s preconceptions and still, sometimes prejudice.
This section does a wonderful job of explaining this to the teenage mind, going so far as to include coping mechanisms and the treatment options available if needed. Of particular note is the ‘What to avoid’ section, explaining how too much time online can make your teen’s mood worse, as well as to not rely on drink or drugs as they also contribute to making anxiety and depression much worse.
Alongside this Healthy Mind section, it explores topics such as introversion, Self-esteem, Stress and Self-harm. Since my eldest son is a particularly anxious and introverted child, I can see this being very helpful in tackling any issues that may arise.
Cyber Bullying is often in headlines and I don’t doubt that I’m not the only parent who worries about the time when their kids want to open Facebook and SnapChat accounts, along with whatever social platform they’re into at that point.
The Digital Life chapter educates both parents and kids on how to stay safe online, covering their digital habits, identity, cyberbullying, gaming and privacy. The way I see it, we can’t stop our kids from entering this kind of world. Their futures will require technology far more than ours have, so it’s better to furnish them with the right tools to keep themselves out of trouble, than allowing them to enter that world blind.
Far from merely being a guide for kids, this entire chapter is a great educational resource for parents too. Admit it, we’re often slow on the uptake when it comes to digital advancements. So we can benefit from this too.
Finally, another overwhelmingly important chapter is the one simply labelled Sex. It’s an icky subject to have to sit down and talk about with your children, but no less important than the others. I’ve always been really honest when my three ask me questions relating to sex because I don’t like beating around the bush (no pun intended). The way I see it, the more educated our children are, the better choices they can make, therefore, I’m glad to see that this chapter has taken the same no-nonsense approach.
The topics covered here are:
- Sexual reproduction
It’s quite an extensive chapter and I wouldn’t expect anything less considering the gravity of the topic. I get it that some parents think that explaining these things to kids will cause them to gravitate further towards partaking of them, but let’s face it, what were we like as teenagers? Did we have this level of education? My answer is no. Hell things like ‘sexting’ didn’t even exist then.
The times have changed and I’m thankful that this informative guide exists for me and my kids to turn to, rather than having us stumbling around ignorant.
Ultimately Help Your Kids With Growing Up, is exactly what we need as parents trying to raise educated, informed and savvy young people. Far from being patronising and cheesy, the entire book has been well thought out, with our modern kids and the troubles they may face in mind. I would recommend this as essential reading to both parents and kids alike – definitely one to keep at hand when needed. You can purchase this book from Amazon.