Having three teens/tweens in the house I was very curious to take a look at Robert Winston’s book Help Your Kids with Growing Up. I remember watching Child Of our Time and really liking his approach, unlike others I could mention!
It is promoted as ‘A no-nonsense guide to Puberty and Adolescence’. Split into 12 different chapters, it explores everything from the changing body, relationships and eventually the final chapter is sex, but it’s not just the physical aspect of growing up, there are also chapters on a healthy mind. achieving potential and it also discusses Digital Life, which we never had when I was a teenager!
It has a teenager feel to it, bright funky colours with lots of pictures, but done in a more grown up way.
Chapter 1 – Growing Up
This chapter discusses the teenage brain and identity, it goes on to discuss independent thinking and good old mood swings. Self expression and gender are mentioned without being judgemental.
Chapter 2- Female Puberty
Female hormones and the changing body, including periods and the female anatomy. There is a section on sanitary care which made me smile as it includes sanitary towels with pads and menstrual cups (that is when I know i’m getting old!) But it also discusses the changes in breasts and how to get a good fitting bra. A very useful chapter, that girls can read and get valuable knowledge if they are too embarrassed or don’t feel they have someone to talk to.
Chapter 3 – Male Puberty
Again hormones and the changing body are discussed, there is an excellent section on self checks for testicular cancer, which I thought was excellent as it is a very serious subject, but one that boys tend to not like discussing.
Chapter 4 The Healthy Body
As you would expect from personal hygiene to what you should eat, but all done in a helpful way instead of a shouty parent way! Body image and eating disorders are also discussed The importance of exercise and sleep, as well as common ailments.
Chapter 5 Healthy Mind
Positive mental health, emotions, confidence, self-esteem. The differences between introverts and extroverts. Resilience and stress and how to deal with it. Anxiety and Depression, panic attacks and phobias, as well as a section on self-harm.
Chapter 6 Achieving Potential
The chapter begins discussing school life and exams, then moves on to Problem solving, hobbies and money. It also includes goals and ambitions, and careers advice, moving onto university or getting a job.
Chapter 7 Digital Life
This chapter deals with the internet and social media. Making judgements and digital habits, it also talks about cyber bullying and staying safe online and privacy, this chapter is obviously very up to date, and wouldn’t have played a part when I was a teenager. It is a very different era from when we were growing up.
Chapter 8 Wider World.
A brilliant chapter on Safer Streets, bullying, discrimination, equality, religion, citizenship. An area which I think is so important for young people to get to grips with, I find my generation is much more accepting that the previous (just look at the Brexit ages and choices!) so ensuring the younger generation treat everyone as equals and don’t discriminate. The chapter also discusses understanding the news, moving onto alcohol and smoking, then drug use and abuse.
Chapter 9 Families
Discusses the different types of family units and then moves on to parent-teen relationships, which any of you who already have teens will know isn’t the easiest of topics! It talks about building trust and dealing with conflict. Siblings and difficult life events also feature.
Chapter 10 Relationships.
A very informative chapter on communication skills and friendships, also discussing interactions and peer pressure, which we, as adults know is horrendous! It has an section on dating, but also rejection. It discusses healthy relationships and unhealthy ones, and then the breakups!
Chapter 11 Sexuality
Different sexual identities, and attraction. It has a section on coming out, which I am pretty sure wouldn’t have been in the books I read as a teenager, so it has a very modern and up to date feel to it, but not is a tacky way.
Chapter 12 Sex
And finally (although its probably the chapter most teens will turn to first!) this chapter discusses all things related to sex – Virginity, masturbation, consent, intimacy, orgasms, safer sex, contraception choices and reproduction, also including STIs (in great detail)Pregnancy, sexting and pornography.
So, there we have it, an entire teenagers life wrapped up in one very informative and easy to read and understand book. It has a very up to date feel without being patronising and the language used is appropriate for a teenager.
If you are looking for a book to give to your teenager that will answer all their questions, then this is definitely one I would suggest.
Currently on sale for £13.48 at Amazon, grab your copy now, so they have enough time to read it before the new school year starts!