Middle Years Session Summary                       

Life in the Middle Years
Parenting Strategies for the Eight to Twelve-Year Old                                              
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The middle-years (defined as the period of growth and development extending from ages 8 to 12) is one of the most amazing phases of childhood and unsuspicious time for parents. It is a season in which that son or daughter in your home is too old to be called a child, but too young to be labeled an adolescent. From a growth and developmental standpoint, the middle years is a period in which children begin the long process of metamorphosis—moving away from childhood dependencies, associations, and interests, and moving toward a self-reliance directed more and more by the beliefs and values of their home life. 

One of the subtle challenges of middle-years parenting (comparatively speaking) is the deceptive appearance of calm. For most parents, having just come out of the busy training years associated with early childhood, and having not yet stepped into the fast-paced adolescence phase, the middle years almost seem like a rest stop. However, such appearances are deceiving.

We equate the middle childhood years with the flow of a deep water stream.The surface will often look calm, but lying just below the calm is unharnessed energy waiting to be released. It is the smooth and calm of the water’s surface that can cause parents to accept the middle-years as a seemingly uneventful period of time in the journey of childhood—a time when Mom and Dad can relax and put things on cruise control. However, that would be a mistake! It is the energy of the unseen, lying just below the surface, which parents must be mindful of. Life in the Middle Years brings the needed knowledge and understanding that can help any parent make wise training decisions. As summary of each chapter’s content is below. 

Session One (Chapters 1-2)
Series Introduction and explanation of the nine major middle years transitions including:

1. Transitioning away from Childhood and Childhood Structures
2. Transitioning to Getting the Facts Right
3. Transitioning from Assumed Trust to a Reasoned Trust
4. Transitioning to Peer Influence
5. Transitioning from Imagination to Reason
6. Transitioning to Adoptive Emotions
7. Transitioning to Hormone-Activated Bodies
8. Transitioning from Being Reminded to being Responsible
9. Transitioning from Authority to Influence

Session One also includes the steps to teach children how to appeal to authority.

Session Two (Chapters 3-4)
Perhaps you have heard the old saying: “You are what you eat.” This chapter builds on a slightly different premise: “You are what you think.” Today we know with certainty that what you put into your mind affects the chemistry of your brain; and, as parents, what you put into your children’s mind affects the chemistry and construction of their brain, which will shape their thought-life and emotional responses for life. Session Two explains the neuro-science behind speaking words or life and death to middle-years children.     

Session Three (Chapters 5-6)
The middle-years period is a time when a child moves from an awakening to a full awareness of the significance of the group’s opinion. That is what brings about age-related peer pressure. The child from a distance wants to know, “What does the group think?” Now, your son or daughter wants to know, “What does the group think of me?” Session Three takes up the influence of peers and the power of family identity, and factors that influence both. 

Session Four (Chapters 7-8)
Here we take up the training to educating transition. One major variable influencing the training of children is the child’s capacity to absorb a lesson and understand its purpose. This is usually tied to age. For example, we “train” toddlers, because they lack the capacity to govern their lives with the resources of experience, understanding, and facts. However, in the middle-years parents must begin transitioning from training outward behavior to educating the child with knowledge that leads to understanding and wise decision-making. Learning to educate a child through correction takes up the first half of Session Four. The second half looks at the preventative side of correction. There are many excellent methods of correction available to parents; but ultimately, the best form of parental correction is prevention, which requires plenty of parental interaction. Our life experience in this field has confirmed that when parents fall short on the preventative side of training, the net result is more disruptive behavior in the child. In this section we take up a number of practical things parents can do to help encourage behavior that needs no correction. 

Session Five (Chapters 9-11)
In this Session and expanded in the study guide, are more training habits parents should embrace and avoid during the middle-years. This sections covers effective communication, how to get middle-years children ready for the many “what if?” moments that will soon invade their moral world, and a comprehensive discussion on parenting in the digital age. Included here is how to introduce technology to children, establish workable and safe boundaries, and how to keep children safe in a very aggressive cyber world.  This section also includes the middle-years topic pool. Here, parents learn how to effectively deal with “poor attitudes”, how to manage early affections from the opposite gender, and most importantly, how to prepare a son or daughter for the physical changes that come during the middle-years, without giving too much or too little information, but enough to keep them safe and prepared. 

This series is far more comprehensive than the early edition, and very relevant to the challenges that come with parenting in the digital age. To review this product in the GFI Bookstore click ->> Here.