2 Must Read Character Building Fiction Books for Tweens

2 Must Read Character Building Books for tweens

2 Must- Read Character Building Fiction books for Tweens


Today I have the honor of writing this article, 2 Must-Read Character Building Fiction Books for Tweens, over at LikeMindedMusings.com, as part of Lee Felix’s 30 Days of Tween Parenting Encouragement!

For each day of May, Lee is featuring another blogging mom of tweens on her site to talk about this phase of parenting. There’s so much information out there for the years of parenting babies and toddlers, and then it feels like the older your kids get, the less people want to talk about it.

Here’s a snippet of my post. Be sure to check out the other 30 days as well!

“Farmer Boy was an easy sell for my boys. (I don’t have any girls.) They were definitely not excited about this next one, Secret in the Maple Tree, by Matilda Nordtvedt.

They protested at first, but then they grew to love it.

Yes, in this book, the main character is a girl. Her name is Hilda, and she is one of the most real, relatable characters you will ever read. Almanzo in Farmer Boy was naturally a very well-behaved boy. Hilda has to work much harder at it. This character is based on the author’s mother-in-law, Mrs Ebertina Erickson Nordtvedt, the daughter of Norwegian immigrants, who migrated in the late 1800s.

Also, I have more good news.”

Click here to read the rest.


Be sure to subscribe to the other 30 days if you are a parent of tweens!


Notes on Transitioning to Leading by Influence

PreTeen Wise

My favorite points from chapter 2 of this book:

1. The second chapter includes a quiz to help you evaluate where your child currently stands in the scheme of things, on a scale from off-course all the way up to healthy and right on track.  The quiz did give me some ideas for things to work on and reassurance for what we do right.

You’ll have to buy the book for that. ūüėČ ¬†Here’s the link to amazon. You’re welcome.


2. A healthy marriage makes for a healthier family.

I know this sounds obvious, but it bears repeating. A healthy marriage offers the children a feeling of security. I’ve seen how important this is to kids with my children. Occasionally, Caleb will even pick up my hand, put my hand in Alan’s, during a church service, and then nestle in between us with a wide, wide grin on his face.

3. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong. No one can escape mistakes. Own up to them, even to your children.

4. Choose conflict resolution over conflict avoidance.

5. Make time for your family. “A child spells love T-I-M-E.” ¬†(p. 42)

6. Watch how you speak to your children and how they speak to you. A bossy child with a sharp tongue is a problem.

*I’ve taken (just this week) to making my children, when they are taking the wrong tone, repeat every word they say in a nice tone, and it has helped immensely with this.*

And now for the part I’m still figuring out: Transitioning to Parenting by Influence, from Chapter 3

This chapter begins by reassuring us that we still get to keep our authority, which is of the utmost importance. “Well, yes, absolutely,” I’m thinking. You are not abandoning authority. You are just gradually using influence more.

The book also discusses finding the balance between over-using your authority or becoming too permissive, as those attitudes will deprive children of the skills they need to be healthy adolescents.

The key, according to Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, M.D., is to move away from the “because I said so” sort of parenting to leading by life principles. Since these children are capable of understanding the why (and in the case of my children, desperately want to know why–), it should be explained to them as you see fit.

There was a good example story in this chapter about sharing. Instead of mandating that your child share their toys, at this age, leave it up to them. True sharing should come from the heart. If the child then decides to share, they will have joy in their good decision.

“There is no joy in doing right when the actions required are always tied to my authority.” ¬†(page 61)

My two cents:

So, you know I’ve been totally applying this sharing thing. I obviously don’t have this influence parenting concept down pat yet. I used the “You don’t have to share,” bit and saw it work, and on another day it didn’t work. Then on another day, I said, “No, you know what, those are the only ones in the house, and you DO have to share those with your brother. He is three, and that would just be too mean.” ¬†Joshua totally understood and shared without complaining.

I’ll be looking for more ways to implement this and searching the book for more examples. Remember, this is a book review. I’m reading the book because we need help with this. I am not ¬†saying we have it all together by any means!

I think the basic idea is: Teach the kids moral life principles.

Battle over a swimsuit?  Explain all the real reasons you think this swimsuit is a bad idea.

Battle over electronic time limits?  Explain the reasons and what research has to say about that.

Explaining what the Bible says actually works for a whole, whole lot of things. Pleasing God strikes a surprising chord with many children.

This last paragraph from chapter three is really important:

You may feel a bit awkward as you begin the transition from authority to influence. However, this change is absolutely necessary. Understand that you will use far more of your authority with your eight-year-old than you will with your twelve-year-old. But by the end of the middle years, the authority exchange should be complete.” ¬†(p. 63)

What do ya’ll think about this? I have no expertise in this area. My oldest is 8!

By the way, if you missed the review on chapter one, you can get all caught up here: ¬†On Becoming Preteen Wise: April’s Notes.

And they brought young children to him [Jesus], that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” ¬† ¬† Mark 10:13-14


On Becoming Preteen Wise: April’s Notes, Chapter 1

PreTeen Wise

I had an unusually hard day at Pacific Christian Academy today with my handsome and intelligent tween, so I’m finally getting around to writing this post.

I came across this book this summer. Alan’s parents were moving, and Nonna let me go through the books she was going to give away. She has the best books! When I came across this one I stopped in my tracks.

“parenting your child from eight to twelve years,” the book reads, under the title….

Hold the phone.

Eight is a pre-teen!!!???

Well, that explains a lot.

I’m mostly underlining the high points for my husband. He has so much to read for school as it is. We’ll just call this “April’s notes.” You know, like Cliff’s notes. Do they still sell those? They were big when I was in high school.

Tonight we’ll really just be looking at Chapter One. There are so many helpful concepts in this book that each chapter warrants its own post. Not even exaggerating.

Chapter One

This chapter talks a lot about transitioning into the “middle years phase.” ¬†(My dad used to call it the “middle school duh”. Oh, how I hated that when I was a middle schooler, but I TOTALLY get it now.)

No, eight is not middle school, but according to Preteen Wise, the hormones, they are already a changin’!

My favorite line of this chapter is this, from page 20, “So this chapter starts with you, Mom and Dad. Your moral growth is hardly an option.”

SO TRUE! Because these kids tend to test the boundaries, questioning right and wrong, and daring to ask WHY, our patience is PUSHED.

I dealt with this a lot today. Thankfully, I kept my calm, which is highly unusual for me. I am not naturally calm or easy-going. ¬†I heard a new term tonight that fits me rather well, “stress ball.” Yes. That’s me. ¬†Control freak–also applicable.

The thing is that in order to truly teach healthy reactions to stress, we have to model them. ¬†Ah, therein lies the rub. Don’t expect your children to act any better than you act yourself.

Great take-aways from chapter 1:

1. ¬†Back off. Don’t expect to hug them at the front door of the school. “Wave good-bye from the porch.” (p. 22) This point really hit home for me. I had to make that transition last year, with my eight-year-old. He totally gets cranky if he feels I’m being over helicopter-mom-ish. He feels like, “Hey, I got this. Don’t treat me like a baby.” Those are valid feelings. We grown-ups don’t like being over-policed either. It can be very frustrating to be capable of doing way more than you are allowed to do. A kid that is allowed a little freedom/space (within reason, of course) is a much happier kid.

2. FYI: The first born has an increased need to be right about things.  Being fair is big at this age.

3. These kids are transitioning from imagination to reason. The book says tweens should be becoming less afraid of the unknown.

4.  The moral environment in your home still plays a vital role. Young girls brought up on MTV will behave much differently than pubescent daughters that do not have that in their home. (p.28)

5. “Endocrine changes awaken a sense of romantic sensitivity in girls much earlier than they do in boys.” (p. 29)

6.  Growing influence of peers!!

7. This is when “your child will strike deep moral roots–for good or ill–with or without your guidance. ¬†Younger children live off Mom and Dad’s values. But during the middle years, children begin to take personal ownership of their values.” ¬†(p. 31)

Oh man…..can I go throw up from the pressure!!???

If only I could make these decisions for them!! ¬†But no, I can’t. I can only do my best to influence him for good–through modeling right behaviors and teaching moral truths from God.

8. Transitioning from being reminded to being responsible

I love this one. They already know what they are supposed to do, as far as household and classroom routines go. ¬†No more reminding them. You should expect them to do what’s right. This book teaches the phrase, “Do you have the freedom to go outside?” ¬†rather than “Put your plate away.” I’ve been using this, and it does work pretty well.

9. “The parent transitions from parenting by authority to parenting by influence.” p. 31

I’m still figuring out what that means exactly because we certainly still have to use our authority a lot. Thankfully, this is discussed much further in chapter 3. ¬†Coming soon to this blog!!