In brief

24th September 2004 at 01:00
Talking to Tweenies: getting it right before it gets rocky with your eight to 12-year-old. By Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer. Hodder. pound;10.99.

There's a big difference between an eight-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl. One is Richmal Crompton's William, the other is Britney Spears. Even so, writes the author, the "tweeny" stage is becoming easier to identify.

"Tweenies are gaining in confidence, expecting more freedoms and becoming less compliant, not least because they are being increasingly targeted and exploited commercially."

It's the commercial exploitation that makes "Trouble in Store" the chapter many people will turn to first. Phrases such as: "I really need that, Mum, please Mum," must be handled with sensitive firmness if they aren't to escalate into full-blown tantrums. Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer has a range of responses, such as: "Offer one reason, stated briefly, as an explanation: not more."

No book is going to turn the household (or the shopping mall) into a haven of peace and light. This one does, though, offer a large selection of strategies. Use it yourself as a parent or grandparent. As a teacher, keep one to lend to worried parents.

Gerald Haigh

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