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Publishers WeeklyWith a boatload of information, tools, techniques and other options, author and parenting expert Ross (Joint Custody with a Jerk) helps moms and dads achieve the seemingly contradictory goals of successful preadolescent management: protection from the real world and preparation for it. Drawing on her work with parents in individual and group settings (she's currently director of a parent and teacher education company), Ross presents readers with a series of issues likely to crop up during the middle school years. Topics range from dealing with defiance to encouraging self-esteem, defusing sibling rivalry and, of course, talking about sex and drugs. Ross focuses on effort rather than results, elucidating the benefits of "listening with heart," how to run effective family meetings and what communications styles are best for clearing up negative dynamics. Emphasizing relationships over rules, Ross shows readers how to establish a rapport on which the family can rely in the middle school years and beyond. Ross's central metaphor, "tweens" as prickly-but-loveable porcupines, is funny and effective, and her writing style is easy-going, making this an accessible and practical primer.
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