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Congratulations, You've Got Tweens: Preparing Your Child For Adolescence Review by Kelly Miller

By Paul Petit
Kregel Publications
PO Box 2607
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49501
ISBN # 978-0-8254-347-7

As Director of Spiritual Information at Dallas Theological Seminary--and president and founder of Dynamic Dads, a ministry to fathers--author and doctoral student Paul Petit provides a biblical and sociological perspective on parenting "tweens" (children between the ages of 8 and 12).

This 159-page soft-cover book contains topics such as balanced parenting, getting your tween ready for independence, overcontrol and undercontrol, authentic communication, healthy self image, importance of community, cultural changes, and real-life case studies. At the end of each chapter is a review, along with relevent discussion questions.

Paul Petit paints a great visual analogy on page 85 when he compares parenting a "tween" to tomato gardening:

If we pulled them from the vine too soon they wouldn't be ripe but green, hard and bitter. If we went on vacation or neglected the plants, they would languish in the garden and the tomatoes would become soft and mushy, and diseased, practically unusable . . . so it is with parenting. Our timing needs to be accurate. We need to pay attention to those sensitive times when our tweens need our active involvement. We need to be cautious of those moments when they need feeding, pruning, nurturing. And we also need to be acutely aware of when we should back off and allow our tweens to grow, to solve problems without our help or make important decisions of their choosing. Bottom line - we need to allow our tweens to flourish with just the right amount of parental involvement. Doing so takes much prayer and concentrated observation. The goal is to have more ripe tomatoes than rotten.

Well said, indeed. And as a parent of a tween myself, I found great comfort, exhortation, and encouragement by reading this book. After all, I'm embarking on territory I haven't been in before as a parent, and this book definitely gave me the confidence I needed to face the journey ahead and know that God is directing my footsteps each step of the way as I continue to place my child in His hands and obey His commands. There is no need to fear this phase of our children's emotional, physical, and spiritual development. Rather, we should embrace it and enjoy it, using it as a means to build a stronger relationship together as parent and child.

This is a great book for all Christian parents, whether they are homeschooling or not. If you want to know more about Paul Petit's organization, called Dynamic Dads, you can contact him by mail (PO Box 140369, Dallas, Texas, 75214) or on the Web at Paul is also available for workshops, seminars, or retreats.

Product review by Kelly Miller, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2007