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The fourteen essential conversations to have with your tween and early teenager to prepare them for the emotional, physical, and social challenges ahead, including scripts and advice to keep the communication going and stay connected during this critical developmental window.
“This book is a gift to parents and teenagers alike.”—Lisa Damour, PhD, author of Untangled and Under Pressure
Trying to convince a middle schooler to listen to you can be exasperating. Indeed, it can feel like the best option is not to talk! But keeping kids safe—and prepared for all the times when you can't be the angel on their shoulder—is about having the right conversations at the right time. From a brain growth and emotional readiness perspective, there is no better time for this than their tween years, right up to when they enter high school.
Distilling Michelle Icard's decades of experience working with families, Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen focuses on big, thorny topics such as friendship, sexuality, impulsivity, and technology, as well as unexpected conversations about creativity, hygiene, money, privilege, and contributing to the family. Icard outlines a simple, memorable, and family-tested formula for the best approach to these essential talks, the BRIEF Model: Begin peacefully, Relate to your child, Interview to collect information, Echo what you're hearing, and give Feedback. With wit and compassion, she also helps you get over the most common hurdles in talking to tweens, including:
• What phrases invite connection and which irritate kids or scare them off
• The best places, times, and situations in which to initiate talks
• How to keep kids interested, open, and engaged in conversation
• How to exit these chats in a way that keeps kids wanting more
Like a Rosetta Stone for your tween's confounding language, Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen is an essential communication guide to helping your child through the emotional, physical, and social challenges ahead and, ultimately, toward teenage success.
About the Author
Michelle Icard is a member of the Today show parenting team and NBC News Learn. The author of Middle School Makeover, her work has been featured in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, Redbook, Time, and People. Her leadership curriculum for middle schoolers, Athena's Path and Hero's Pursuit, have been implemented at schools across the U.S., and her summer camp curriculum is offered at more than twenty camps each summer. She lives with her family in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Insightful and instructive, but never rigid or scolding. [Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen is] that smart friend you turn to with questions because they always have great answers and never make you feel dumb for asking. . . . A fabulous resource to keep nearby as [your child’s] needs, struggles, and strengths change.”—Chicago Tribune
“There’s no such thing as The Talk anymore. To raise the healthiest, most resilient kids, parents need to have hundreds of talks over many years. With Michelle Icard’s big-picture framing of what to cover and deep dive into how you can say it all, the task will be much less daunting. It might even be fun.”—Cara Natterson, MD, author of Decoding Boys: New Science Behind the Subtle Art of Raising Sons
“Fourteen (Talks) by (Age) Fourteen offers incredible insight and empathy to both young adolescents and their stressed-out parents. Icard makes clear that the stakes are high—we must not shy away from these crucial conversations with our children. This book is the guide we’ve been waiting for.”—Devorah Heitner, PhD, author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World
“Michelle Icard has a true gift for talking to kids and knows all the tricks for avoiding power struggles and shutdowns. If you are struggling to have good conversations with your child, her straightforward, matter-of-fact, and completely authentic approach will help you connect.”—Michael Thompson, PhD, coauthor of Raising Cain
“Icard lays out exactly how to start the critical conversations we want to have with our teenagers, keep these key discussions going, and steer clear of common missteps that often close down lines of communication. This book is a gift to parents and teenagers alike.”—Lisa Damour, PhD, New York Times bestselling author of Untangled and Under Pressure
“Revel in the great common sense, depth of thought, and even humor herein. Michelle Icard is a wise advisor and her book is a treasure for parents everywhere.”—Rosalind Wiseman, New York Times bestselling author of Queen Bees and Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World
“Michelle Icard’s approach to having difficult but important conversations with kids—the BRIEF model—is both ingenious and effective. These are the talks we need to be having with our children, and this is how to have them!”—Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and author of The Me, Me, Me Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World
“Through relatable examples and memorable techniques, she provides a reliable path for you through parental fear and anxiety. With Michelle Icard, you and your child are in the most capable of hands.”—Dr. John Duffy, PsyD, author of Parenting the New Teen in the Age of Anxiety
“An incredibly user-friendly and straightforward guide. A must-read for caregivers of adolescents, providing readers with the necessary tools to talk to their tweens and sustain happy and healthy relationships.”—Booklist