H is now 10 and secondary school is very much on the horizon as we will be applying for schools in just a few months time. Sooner or later we will have to start tackling more complex issues about growing up, particularly about changing bodies, but also social situations. We were asked to review Help Your Kids With Growing Up published by DK Books and written by Professor Robert Winston with a team of consultants.
The thing that struck me first about the book is that every subject is explored in detail, including some that I wouldn’t have thought of tackling. For example there is a section on Achieving Potential which covers school life and exams, but also provides an overview of higher education and possible job options. Money management and life goals are also featured. Obviously a volume like this can not cover every aspect of every topic, but there is enough there to give a child an insight and a starting point for further research.
As well as sections covering puberty, there are sections on growing up (the process of becoming a teenager and later an adult if you like); keeping your body healthy and importantly too your mind. There’s a section on digital life covering issues like staying safe online and privacy. I think this is an important area to cover as I think it’s one that quite a lot of parents are less switched on about. It’s a fast-moving area, but many of the key principles are unchanging.
Other issue covered are families, relationships and the wider world. Within families topics include parent-teen relationships; within relationships, dating and breakups are covered; and within the wider world bullying, discrimination and drug abuse are featured.
This is a really comprehensive, down to earth, guide to growing up and is of the quality I’ve come to expect from DK Books. I think it’s the kind of handbook every young person needs to have access to as they navigate the choppy waters of adolescence.
I would suggest that parents read the book themselves first if they have time. This means you know what you child has read and it will make it easier to discuss any issues. I haven’t given the book to H (aged 10) yet to read as I’m not sure he’s quite ready for it, but we aren’t far away and I think he will be reading it within the next year. H’s school cover puberty in the summer term in Year 6, so maybe that would be a good time to introduce him to this book.