Some favorite books for parents...

My oldest daughter is in 7th grade and her emotions have definitely taken center stage. But so has her curiosity about life's big themes. Zen Teen is a mix of practical and spiritually funky/fun advice. The funky part appeals to her and the practical appeals to me. 

 

There are chapters called Explore Aromatherapy and Wishing on a Star, Practice Self-Love and Find Your Spirit Animal. There's a cool chapter on finding your Soul Tribe, which describes what a real friend is and how they should treat you. "Soul friends always want the best for you, and no matter your differences, a Soul Friend always has your back."

There's a chapter called Curb Your Urge to Compare & Despair. Young teens need an arsenal of strategies to respond to difficult social situations. This book offers an off-the-beaten-track route to self-exploration.

Zen Teen is the kind of book where a reader can flip to a chapter and read whatever looks interesting. If you have a reluctant reader, tear the chapters out, staple, and place one chapter a week on their pillow with a pack of gum or mints or chocolate kiss. ❤️

I listened to the Audible.com version of Untangled and then bought the book and highlighted everything I'd bookmarked on my audible app. If you must choose only one book, make it this one. My daughter is only 12, nearly everything in this book applies. 

They should hand this book out at hospitals to parents with new-born baby girls: Here is your baby, and here is your guide. 

Clicking the pictures will take you to Amazon where you can read reviews!  

I almost didn't read American Girls (I have so many others on my nightstand!) As a parent, I'm glad I didn't pass this up. Move this one to the top of the stack, folks. Nancy Jo Sales is big for me. 

The teen years are challenging; kids stand on the precipice of adulthood as they deal with hormones gone haywire and countless insecurities. But toss social media into the mix and adolescence becomes more than just uncomfortable and awkward. I wish Nancy Jo Sales would write a follow-up; her journalism is honest and brilliant. During the last few pages, she takes off her journalist hat and tells you what she thinks. America needs more from this author.   

 

"American Girls is probably one of the most urgent conversation starters I’ve read in some time." —Psychology Today
 
"Based on interviews with hundreds of teens from 13 to 19, this exploration of the hypersexualized, social-media-ruled world girls grow up in today is eye-opening and sobering." 
—People

The main idea here is that tweens are prickly-but-loveable porcupines. It's a fun read and helps put your own kid's behavior into perspective. We all have those moments, as parents, when we think: No other kid on the block is as disrespectful as mine! I've totally failed. I've raised the RUDEST, moodiest kid ever!

 

This book was a bit like an asthma inhaler for me. Take two puffs when needed. It's a relief to learn tween behavior is its own beast -- and the beast is totally normal. It's not just your kid. Lots of tips on how to manage the pricklier points. Tween years-- we're still very much protecting them from the world but also beginning to prepare them for it. The author emphasizes relationships over rules. I love this point of view! 

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RECOMMENDATION...
This is a great camera for kids who don't have an iPhone but also for kids and teens that do, but have restricted screen time and complain about being bored. I got my kids into scrapbooking and creating art journals. This camera is perfect for collecting pics of friends, nature, pets, even just funky things that can then be added to a collage. We buy $1 notebooks at the dollar store and she covers them with pics using mod-podge. 
 
I told my daughter if she made a habit of taking photos, building scrapbooks, making holiday gifts for her friends and family, I would support her film habit. It's cheaper than spending hundreds of dollars on smartphone data, right? Creative pursuits are worth the investment! 

These 6th graders appear to be having fun. And yet they do not have social media. Hmm...

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