Thursday, February 2, 2012

From Santa To Sexting: A Book Review

About The Book:

It's a rough, tough world for middle schoolers. Yet the decisions they face are pivotal, affecting the whole of life. FROM SANTA TO SEXTING discusses the myriad of pressures middle schoolers face and empower parents to guide and protect their children during these important years.

Not long ago most kids believed in Santa Claus. Now barely on the cusp of adolescence, they are thrust into an adult world stripped bare of the parental protections afforded previous generations. Under greater pressure than ever before—from the culture, school, and parental expectations—middle schoolers are growing up at warp speed. Their loss of innocence has been profound.

Parents need to reclaim their God-given authority in their children’s lives. FROM SANTA TO SEXTING, which includes interviews with experts, parents, and the kids themselves, will arm parents with the practical information, inspiring stories, and resources they need to keep kids safe and strong in middle school. Parents have enormous power to guide and protect their children in a culture that forgot long ago the fences and guardrails which make childhood possible.

About The Authors:

Brenda Hunter, PhD, is a psychologist and internationally published author. Educated at Wheaton College and Georgetown University, she has served on two presidential commissions and written numerous books, including Home by Choice, In the Company of Women, and The Power of Mother Love. She has appeared on NBC’s Today Show(Weekend), Larry King Live, and Focus on the Family radio. Dr. Hunter lives, and works as a psychotherapist, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Kristen Blair education columnist and writer. She has written for such newspapers as the Charlotte Observer, Durham Harald-Sun, and the Carolina Journal. She has worked on family and educational policy at the national level for the government, a presidential commission, and Empower America. She is the mother of a tween and a middle school graduate. She, her husband Greg, and her children in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

My Review:

As a child care provider and parent I am always keeping an eye out at the latest trends and issues that concern children and youth. Although I don't have to deal with sex, drugs, social networking, etc, I have a lot of family and friends with children in the middle school age group. Looking back on my own life, this was a difficult time of year (and it statistically is for most children). There are not only hormonal changes, but school and friendship changes too that can make some serious impacts on kids. 

When I look at the news or read articles online or in the paper about middle school children, it saddens me. The things that children of this age range deal with and engage in is simply scary. Where does a parent turn to for advice, tips and information about how to deal with the likes of modesty, sex, drugs, online safety, and bullying (among other issues)? I cannot simply believe our children have to deal with such adult issues at such young ages. It can simply be overwhelming for them, never mind us as adults and parents. But there is hope, God gives us all the guidance to deal with our children. And He has guided two authors to write a book that will give you the tools you, and your child, need to make it through these years.

From Santa to Sexting covers so many topics, but does so in a no-holds barred, easy-to-read book that will not discourage, but encourage you. We, as parents (both Christian and not), want to believe the best in our kids, and pray and hope that they will not get involved in things like sexting, drugs, bullying and the like. Unless you are homeschooling (which is not a bad thing by the way), or you live under a rock, you have to admit that your child may have been exposed to these issues. The more parents are informed of the issues, the easier it will be to deal with it if your family has to. 

Both Hunter and Blair use real life experiences from themselves and others they have interviewed, to express just how real these issues are. The stats are scary but dealing with it doesn't have to be. The authors give fantastic ideas like not allowing your child to be on Facebook or other Social Networking sites until after middle school age (which would align with Facebooks Terms of Service that you must be over 13 to have an account), to limit time on video games, internet and limiting the use of a cell phone. 

Here are a few quotes that especially caught my eye as I read From Santa to Sexting:

"It is from us that our children either develop warmly human capacities or learn to be grotesquely inhuman. If you're a parent, the buck stops with you" (p. 72)

"Raising kids to possess greatness of heart, compassion and empathy matters enormously...Raising  a child with a great heart can mean the difference between life and death for a neighbor. Or if we rear a child without empathy, he or she can create a lifetime of scarring and deep emotional pain for another human being. Which will it be?" (p. 83)

"Play, as the famous psychologist Piaget said, is the work of childhood. Our children are forgetting how to interact casually wiht friends and instead turn to solo activities, like gaming, social networking, or television, while mom cobbles together a fast-food meal of frozen pizza and bagged salad. But something precious is quietly vanishing in all this frenetic activity: not only are parents losing touch with their children because their lives are simply put, crazy, but women are missing out on the healing power of friendship. Men are too. Moreover, children are failing to experience childhood. That's a whale of a lot to lose" (p. 105)

""Many of our children have every gadget known to modern man - but do they have us? Do they own our hearts? Our time?" 

"Moms, we need to ask you: Are you complicit in the sexualization of your daughter through the messages you give her about physcial attactiveness and what she should wear? Do you place a high premium on being thin and popular? Many of the people we interviewed reminded us that it is the mother who generally buys her daughters clothes. Dannah Gresh, founder of the ministry Pure Freedom, writes...Since the girls do not have jobs, its the moms who willingly fork out their credit cards to buy the tools of destruction for their daughters. Of course, marketers and retailers want you to whip out your credit card, since girls 8-12 years old spend 500 million dollars a year, and tweens have 43 billion dollars of spending power nationwide....."

Seriously this book is loaded with amazing info! I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you are a parent of a middle or high school student you NEED to read this book and get a copy for each of your friends or family with children this age. Don't waste your time...your kids are too important to not read this book.

I give From Santa to Sexting a HUGE thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase From Santa to Sexting: Helping Your Child Safely Navigate Middle School and Shape the Choices that Last a Lifetime online from Leafwood Publishers.

***I received a complimentary copy of the above book, courtesy of Leafwood Publishers, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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