Pre-adolescence is one of the most critical phases in a person’s development into adulthood. Although boys and girls tend to develop at a different pace, and go through different experiences, parents dealing with any 14-year-old will most likely encounter the same challenges. Michelle Icard’s book focuses on how to manage this phase and support our child’s development, while building a relationship that is based on communication and mutual respect.
Talking to a boy or girl who is approaching the age of fourteen is not easy. Parents, in particular, are faced with the daunting task of guiding their pre-teen and introducing them to completely new and unfamiliar issues, such as sexuality, independence, and personal responsibility. As if this were not enough, at this age, children suddenly become unpredictable and try to distance themselves from their parents. According to the author, therefore, it is crucial that we work with our child to develop a new language, a new way of communicating that encourages healthy and mutual respect.
Icard identifies fourteen key conversations that we need to have with our pre-teen, in order to address the main challenges that arise during this phase. These are: the parent-child relationship, independence, changing friendships, creativity, self-care, what is right and what is wrong, technology, criticism, hard work, money, sexuality, reputation, impulsivity, and finally, helping others.
Each of these categories requires careful consideration and sensitivity. As parents, we can frequently make comments about a certain topic that seem harmless, but they can often actually lead to a breakdown in communication, making our child feel scared, ashamed, and worried about failing to live up to our expectations. There are, however, several guidelines that apply to almost any situation.