Parents' Guide to the Middle School Years
By Joe Bruzzese
(Celestial Arts, Paperback, 9781587613418, 176pp.)
Publication Date: April 28, 2009
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OMG PAW G2G.
Oh my god, parents are watching, got to go.
Today’s text-messaging middle schoolers may seem like a different species from how parents remember themselves as sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. Children are often forced to confront serious issues like drugs, violence, sexuality, and technology at an age that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago. So it’s natural for parents to worry about these crucial years. Still, educator Joe Bruzzese believes that this time can be full of positive transformation as your child gains independence and your parental role shifts from omnipresent manager to supportive coach. Timely topics include cyberbullying, depression, and choosing realistic and rewarding extracurricular activities.
The middle school years can and should be a time of exciting change and opportunity; A Parents’ Guide to the Middle School Years presents what you need to know to survive and thrive as a family.
JOE BRUZZESE, MA, is a professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has taught at the elementary and middle school levels and coached club soccer for twenty years. He lives with his family in Santa Barbara, California.
THE AUTHOR SCOOP
Who is your hero?
I have two. My daughter Jordyn and my son Tristan. They inspire my days (and nights). I’m in awe of the simplicity they bring to the world and the courage they summon in spite of challenges they face. I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
Have any good pet stories?
Our dog Chewy (named because of his likeness to the Star Wars character Chewbacca) took his name in the literal sense and devoured clothes, shoes and anything else left on the floor during the first two years.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
The first word and the last word. Taking the first step requires intention, energy and a commitment to steps two, three and four. Believing in your ability to create something of meaning is a formidable obstacle to overcome. Equally foreboding was the last word. How does it end? What’s the right way to say goodbye? I never have been good at saying goodbye.
What was your first job?
Sanitation Engineer. After a short 8-week stint during a high school summer I ruled out manual labor from the list of viable career options. This was back in the day when one man drove the truck and the other ran from house to house hauling the week’s worth of garbage back to the truck. No electronic arm. Not a week goes by when I’m not out meeting our local engineers with something cold to drink. They earned my respect.
What book do you re-read every few years?
Change the Way You See Everything holds the premier position in my bookshelf. Inevitably I give my copy away or gift one to a friend. The message inspires my life and the choices that guide my work. Thank you to good friend and colleague, Jason Womack. My life was forever changed the day he shared this book with me.
“Bruzzese understands kids and communicates well through this concise guide. ...This book is not stuffed with case studies, chatty stories, or horrific went-wrongs; instead, it’s a to-the-point guide for parents and should be well used.”
“Selective memory probably vaporized the details of your sixth to eighth grade experience. To parent effectively through these years you need to understand twenty-first century middle school reality--the academic challenges, packed schedules, social stressors, and nonstop intrusion of digital media. You’ll also need the terrific twenty-first century coaching techniques provided in this book.”
—Annie Fox, author of Too Stressed to Think? and the Middle School Confidential™ series
“Bruzzese’s perspective into the teen years is dead-on! He covers all of the hard-hitting topics and brings up many new issues that parents need to be aware of. Bruzzese gives advice not only to help ease the transition into middle school, but also to help families tackle the teen years with great success--awesome!”
—Vanessa Van Petten, teen author of You’re Grounded! and creator of OnTeensToday.com