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The Rollercoaster Years
Cover of The Rollercoaster Years
The Rollercoaster Years
Raising Your Child Through the Maddening Yet Magical Middle School Years
For the 20 million parents of 10- to 15-year-olds, The Roller-Coaster Years is a lively guide to mastering the ups and downs of early adolescence. Every parent knows about the terrible twos and the...
For the 20 million parents of 10- to 15-year-olds, The Roller-Coaster Years is a lively guide to mastering the ups and downs of early adolescence. Every parent knows about the terrible twos and the...
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  • For the 20 million parents of 10- to 15-year-olds, The Roller-Coaster Years is a lively guide to mastering the ups and downs of early adolescence. Every parent knows about the terrible twos and the brooding teens, but few have anticipated the wild ride of these magical yet maddening years that can provide all the thrills and chills of a carnival ride.

    Now, drawing together the latest information from experts, supported and advised by the National Middle School Association, and with surprising insights from the authors' own surveys of parents, teachers, and the children themselves, The Roller-Coaster Years covers every facet of the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of early adolescents, including:

    • Appearance Anxiety
    • Distractibility
    • Fears and Other Emotions
    • The Battle for Independence
    • Success in School
    • Friendship and Peer Pressure
    • Sexual Awakening
    • The Lure of Tobacco, Drugs, and Alcohol
    • The Promise and Peril of Electronic Media
    • Sticky Questions About Your Own Past

    From the Trade Paperback edition.

Excerpts-

  • From the book Getting a View from the Ferris Wheel

    "The biggest challenge in dealing with this age group is their roller-coaster emotions."
    —Middle school teacher from Washington

    "She's driving me crazy!" the mother of a thirteen-year-old girl confessed to a friend over the phone. "Her math teacher called to tell me she hasn't handed in any homework for three days. You should see her room! I expect the board of health will soon condemn it. And the way she dresses! The other day she sprayed blue streaks in her hair and painted her fingernails to match."

    She sighed. "But you know, she can be such fun! The other night she challenged me to a game of cards, Go Fish, like we used to play when she was younger. We played for almost two hours and talked about everything—school, music, her French club, several books she's read, our last summer vacation. And I was reminded what a great kid she is—smart, funny, warm, caring.

    "Of course, it was just a lull in the storm," she said, sadness in her voice. "By the next morning, we were at each other's throats again. I just can't wait until these years are over!"

    Parenting a child from ages ten through fifteen is truly challenging. Like the view from a Ferris Wheel, the highs are exhilarating; but looking down can be flip-flop stomach scary. It is the best of times and the worst of times.

    "How can this be?" parents ask themselves and each other. How could a child, who yesterday was so happy, cooperative, and sharing have metamorphosed into such a moody, angry, and selfish individual? Parents lose patience and heart, particularly when they are on the receiving end of so much hostility:

    "Why can't I stay out until midnight? I'm old enough."

    "I hate you! You never let me do anything!"

    "It's my room and I like it messy!"

    "I won't change my dress! It's not too tight!"

    "Why can't you be like David's dad? He never yells."

    "I don't care if the whole family's going to the museum. It's boring. I'd rather hang out with my friends."

    "This dinner sucks! Why couldn't we go out for pizza?"

    "What do you mean I've been on the phone for over an hour? I just got on!"

    "You're ruining my life!"

    Soon it seems like all your close encounters—with an alien being who bears just a passing resemblance to your son or daughter—are of the angry kind. Two-way communication stops. You feel your offspring spinning out of control, out of your orbit. You, of course, want your child to be independent, to explore new worlds. Yet how will you be able to exert any control once he has left your atmosphere? Will the gravitational pull of your love and concern be strong enough to help him steer clear of all the destructive forces that he will encounter?

    "My son always depended upon me for help and advice," remarked the father of a thirteen-year-old. "Now he credits me with as much intelligence as a sow bug."

    "My daughter is a total enigma to me," confided another mother. "I have no idea what makes her tick and it scares me to death."

    As mothers of children in this age group, we, too, have had moments when we felt ill-prepared for the challenges of parenting. On more than one occasion we have faced problems—cliques, setting limits, school issues—that have sent us scrambling for advice and guidance. Again and again we found it difficult to come up with the authoritative information we needed to help us make sound parenting decisions. While there are many books to help parents through other stages of their children's development—infancy, toddlers, preschool, grade school, and...

About the Author-

  • Charlene C. Giannetti is a journalist and the author of three previous books. She is the mother of two children going through the roller-coaster years and lives in New York City.
    Margaret Sagarese taught young adolescents for several years and has written many books. She is the mother of one roller-coaster-years child and lives in Long Island, New York.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 4, 1997
    Impressive in scope and refreshingly candid, this down-to-earth parenting guide helps fill the advice vacuum for the pre-teen years. What's even better, the authors, both freelance writers, have clearly "been there, done that" as parents, and the guidance they offer rings true. In charting the confusing shoals of "middlers"--as they dub middle school students--Giannetti and Sagarese cover the expected bases, from peer pressure and the physical havoc wrought by puberty's onset to effective discipline and what they call "the terrifying triad of temptation"--drugs, alcohol and sex. They push on to explore a host of other topics, including such hot buttons such as body image, gender bias in the classroom and the pervasive influence of the media (the latter in a chapter entitled "Beaver and Wally vs. Beavis and Butthead"). The pages abound with imaginative and pointed suggestions: case in point is a list of innovative strategies for bridging the generation gap that includes calling a close relative to ask what you yourself were really like at that age. Observations from a wide cross-section of parents, teachers and middlers, polled across the U.S. and Canada are woven into each section to lend immediacy and frankness to the lively text. A generous recommended reading and reference guide rounds out this excellent volume. If a parent could only have one manual to help navigate the middle school years, this one should be it.

  • John H. Lounsbury, National Middle School Association "Honest, insightful, contemporary and helpful. Seldom will you find solid research and sound advice packaged so engagingly."
  • William Sears, M.D. "Parenting children during the 'tween years from ten to fifteen is LIKE building a bridge that enables young persons to cross from childhood into adulthood. The practical and informative tools in this book will help you bring out the best in your teenager--and yourself."
  • Carol Weston, author of Girltalk "Buckle-up and read The Roller-Coaster Years for its empathy, invaluable information, and practical tips. It is a well-researched and user-friendly guide that can help you help your child build skills, gain confidence, and prepare for the breathless ride toward high school."

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Raising Your Child Through the Maddening Yet Magical Middle School Years
Charlene C. Giannetti
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