I have previously reviewed Patricia Weerakoon’s The Best Sex for Life, and alluded to her book for teenagers in a series on teaching children about the facts of life. In that series I talked about 2 books we have read with our kids in the pre-teen stage (What’s the Big Deal? and Facing the Facts).
Now Weerakoon has released a book on puberty available for pre-teen children, Growing Up By the Book, and it is an excellent addition to other resources in this area. I read it in almost one sitting, and found it to be very good, very detailed and very strong on God’s word.
It is divided into 2 parts, the first of which has 4 chapters covering:
- God’s word on sex
- Your body different and special – this provides detailed information on external physical changes that occur in puberty
- Your brain – how it changes and forms over this time
- Knowing who and whose you are – here she looks at what the world will tell you vs what God says.
These are all really helpful.
Part 2 is an A-Z of issues and questions. It’s quite detailed on everything kids this age might ask, and some things they might not have heard about yet. She provides clear, honest, age-appropriate information. I think many parents shy away from being too honest and open in this area, but we all know that kids will ask Google to answer their questions if we don’t, so we need to be pro-active!
The book’s structure is aimed entirely at getting parents and kids talking about these topics. So in every section there is an “Ask Mum or Dad” box, to which they are supposed to come and ask you questions and get your opinion, or talk about your memories, experiences, etc. As such, parents have to read it before they give it to their kids, so they can readily, openly and willingly talk about anything that comes up. She also has clear “Think Spot” sections as we as “Alert” sections to raise issues of potential concern.
While aimed at age 10-14, when you would choose to give it to your children could depend entirely on where they are on the ‘puberty spectrum’. She covers 5 stages of physical signs for both boys and girls, all of which you would want them to be aware of before any changes start, or at least as they are starting. So while all kids 12 and over are probably ready for it, and perhaps should have this information now; some 10 years olds are clearly a little way off any changes starting, while other 10 year olds are getting well under way.
This is a great resource, and while it’s a lot more open and frank than anything my generation was ever given to read on this topic, it meets the needs of today’s youth clearly and helps them to think about how to live as God’s children in the light, while living in the reality of the 21st century world.