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Planet Middle School: Helping Your Child through the Peer Pressure, Awkward Moments & Emotional Drama

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Houston, we have a problem. It happens to every parent. One day, you have a sweet son or daughter who loves to snuggle on the couch and who puts a smile on your face just by walking into the room. The next day, it’s as if someone left the door open and let in an alien with a smart mouth and an attitude that, frankly, you could do without. Entering middle school is like step Houston, we have a problem. It happens to every parent. One day, you have a sweet son or daughter who loves to snuggle on the couch and who puts a smile on your face just by walking into the room. The next day, it’s as if someone left the door open and let in an alien with a smart mouth and an attitude that, frankly, you could do without. Entering middle school is like stepping onto a different planet—for parent and child alike. But these years don’t have to create chaos in your family. In fact, they can be some of the best, most fruitful years of all, a time when you can grow closer rather than drift apart. From the internal storms of hormonal changes to the external challenges of peer pressure and our technology-saturated culture, your child is under constant bombardment. Learn how to come alongside your middle-schooler with the love, understanding, and values that will see you both safely back home to earth when your time on Planet Middle School is over. You are about to embark on a fantastic journey If you’ve ever watched one of those movies where regular people are walking around minding their own business, until without warning their chests burst open and alien life-forms come slithering out, then you know what it’s like to suddenly find yourself with a middle-schooler. Your once-peaceful home full of silliness and laughter morphs into the twisted landscape of a forbidding alien world, where moody adolescents drag their claws and moan about . . . well, just about everything. Welcome to Planet Middle School. Better get comfortable. You’ll be here awhile. Lucky for you, New York Times bestselling author Dr. Kevin Leman successfully navigated Planet Middle School with five children. With his expert guidance, you’ll see how you can help your child not only survive but thrive during these turbulent years. Leman shows you how to · understand your child’s rapidly expanding world · respond rather than react to mood swings · tell your child about sex (before someone else tells their version) · create opportunities for your child to practice selflessness and gratitude · ensure that your kid is one who loves home and family · and much more Middle-schoolers can be a strange, unpredictable species. But with a little help from Dr. Leman, you can ride out the interstellar storm with humor and confidence.


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Houston, we have a problem. It happens to every parent. One day, you have a sweet son or daughter who loves to snuggle on the couch and who puts a smile on your face just by walking into the room. The next day, it’s as if someone left the door open and let in an alien with a smart mouth and an attitude that, frankly, you could do without. Entering middle school is like step Houston, we have a problem. It happens to every parent. One day, you have a sweet son or daughter who loves to snuggle on the couch and who puts a smile on your face just by walking into the room. The next day, it’s as if someone left the door open and let in an alien with a smart mouth and an attitude that, frankly, you could do without. Entering middle school is like stepping onto a different planet—for parent and child alike. But these years don’t have to create chaos in your family. In fact, they can be some of the best, most fruitful years of all, a time when you can grow closer rather than drift apart. From the internal storms of hormonal changes to the external challenges of peer pressure and our technology-saturated culture, your child is under constant bombardment. Learn how to come alongside your middle-schooler with the love, understanding, and values that will see you both safely back home to earth when your time on Planet Middle School is over. You are about to embark on a fantastic journey If you’ve ever watched one of those movies where regular people are walking around minding their own business, until without warning their chests burst open and alien life-forms come slithering out, then you know what it’s like to suddenly find yourself with a middle-schooler. Your once-peaceful home full of silliness and laughter morphs into the twisted landscape of a forbidding alien world, where moody adolescents drag their claws and moan about . . . well, just about everything. Welcome to Planet Middle School. Better get comfortable. You’ll be here awhile. Lucky for you, New York Times bestselling author Dr. Kevin Leman successfully navigated Planet Middle School with five children. With his expert guidance, you’ll see how you can help your child not only survive but thrive during these turbulent years. Leman shows you how to · understand your child’s rapidly expanding world · respond rather than react to mood swings · tell your child about sex (before someone else tells their version) · create opportunities for your child to practice selflessness and gratitude · ensure that your kid is one who loves home and family · and much more Middle-schoolers can be a strange, unpredictable species. But with a little help from Dr. Leman, you can ride out the interstellar storm with humor and confidence.

30 review for Planet Middle School: Helping Your Child through the Peer Pressure, Awkward Moments & Emotional Drama

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    This had some pretty good advice overall. Middle school is a huge step, and kids are growing up so much faster these days. What I liked the most about the book was that it reminds you to have empathy for your kids...to listen, and see things from their perspective. I wouldn't want to go back to middle school, and it's so much harder for them in today's world. What I didn't like as much, was that he put off this preachy attitude that he and his wife were the perfect parents in every way. It was a This had some pretty good advice overall. Middle school is a huge step, and kids are growing up so much faster these days. What I liked the most about the book was that it reminds you to have empathy for your kids...to listen, and see things from their perspective. I wouldn't want to go back to middle school, and it's so much harder for them in today's world. What I didn't like as much, was that he put off this preachy attitude that he and his wife were the perfect parents in every way. It was a little obnoxious. I have a pretty great relationship with my daughter, but I can admit to a list of personal faults a mile long. After awhile, it seemed a little unbelievable. Other than all the patting himself on the back, I would recommend this to parents of middle schoolers, or those going into middle school. I did a lot of highlighting and thinking while reading this, especially about how to navigate technology and social media.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    What an annoying writer. Sarcastic and condescending, making broad generalizations about parenting and never missing an opportunity to plug another of his books or brag about his children. The bragging I didn't mind so much (all 5 of them do sound amazing) but I think I groaned aloud when I read yet another recommendation for yet another book. Maybe if I were learning something new, I'd be inspired to explore his other works, but alas... The anecdotes were cute sometimes, often moving and always What an annoying writer. Sarcastic and condescending, making broad generalizations about parenting and never missing an opportunity to plug another of his books or brag about his children. The bragging I didn't mind so much (all 5 of them do sound amazing) but I think I groaned aloud when I read yet another recommendation for yet another book. Maybe if I were learning something new, I'd be inspired to explore his other works, but alas... The anecdotes were cute sometimes, often moving and always the best part. What the good doctor himself had to say could best be described as common sense.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Loyal Juraschek

    A quality book, and very practical. It really helps you understand and empathize with those middle schoolers around you; you even remember a bit why you were the way you were in middle school. It only makes three stars, however, because it’s also filled with a lot of the author’s personal theories presented dogmatically as truth. I suppose I also found it a tad less useful, considering its target audience is toward parents of middle schoolers, and I am merely a teacher. If you are going to work w A quality book, and very practical. It really helps you understand and empathize with those middle schoolers around you; you even remember a bit why you were the way you were in middle school. It only makes three stars, however, because it’s also filled with a lot of the author’s personal theories presented dogmatically as truth. I suppose I also found it a tad less useful, considering its target audience is toward parents of middle schoolers, and I am merely a teacher. If you are going to work with middle schoolers, this is a very helpful book to read to relieve a great deal of stress that comes with the “solar flares” (as the author puts it) middle schoolers have. People don’t seem to often want to read it, and for good reason (who wants to spend another minute thinking about and reliving one of the most stressful and strenuous times in all of life?)—but if wandering middle school is your lot, this very well may be your manna.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Although the author is Christian, it seems to have been written with the intention of being read by a secular audience. I can appreciate the intention but I'm not sure the delivery was able to satisfy either crowd (Christian or secular). Ad a Christian, I would have preferred more scriptural basis and less psychology, but I imagine secular readers probably would find it too biblical for their taste. I definitely came away with some positive and practical tips so it wasn't a waste of time, but it Although the author is Christian, it seems to have been written with the intention of being read by a secular audience. I can appreciate the intention but I'm not sure the delivery was able to satisfy either crowd (Christian or secular). Ad a Christian, I would have preferred more scriptural basis and less psychology, but I imagine secular readers probably would find it too biblical for their taste. I definitely came away with some positive and practical tips so it wasn't a waste of time, but it's not a parenting book I would recommend without reservation.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Annette Vellenga

    I have to admit, when I started reading this book I simply didn't want to finish it. It started off with such a poor impression of this age group. That it made me feel that "Oh, if that's your impression of this age group why in the world would I want to read what you have to say to me about how to interact with this age group?". I have a 10 year old son. He's broaching on the middle school years and I can see changes occurring in him, and it's good to know why. And I do know why.... he's maturin I have to admit, when I started reading this book I simply didn't want to finish it. It started off with such a poor impression of this age group. That it made me feel that "Oh, if that's your impression of this age group why in the world would I want to read what you have to say to me about how to interact with this age group?". I have a 10 year old son. He's broaching on the middle school years and I can see changes occurring in him, and it's good to know why. And I do know why.... he's maturing, he's starting to see that other people notice him and the things that he does, and he's noticing that he's not always marching to the beat of the same drummer as everyone else. It's part of maturing. With the knowledge gained in this book (and yes I did persist) I know a bit more about helping him keep his grounding. But I have to admit.. I'm really not too worried about it. It's good to have knowledge and understanding about these years, but frankly I lived through them, my hubby lived through them. I watched my siblings go through them and you know what... we came through them okay. I firmly believe that my boy will come through them okay as well. He'll have scars (but don't we all?) .. it's part of what makes us the people that we are today (and that's a good thing). Do I think this is a "go out and get it today book"?... hmm no. This was, too me, a very common sense book. Talk with your children, LISTEN to your children, be available for your children and their strongest advocate...whether it seems like they are listening to you or not. Did I think it was an interesting and worthwhile read? Yes. I liked the vignettes that popped up regularly, real life stories (I assume) of children in this age group who live life and had good (and bad) things happen to them and how parental intervention was a major key in walking them through decisions about how to handle different events. Do I think the book went far enough? As a Christian I would have loved to have seen some Biblical insight poured into this book and the teaching it gave. Without having a faith aspect as part of parenting, it's like you are missing a basic grounding in life. :) Having "the sex talk". Have to say, these couple of chapters were educational, but honestly, if you are waiting until preadolescence to talk to your children about sex is a bit.. um.. LATE. in my opinion. Children should be learning throughout their life that sex is part of loving committed relationship, that bodies change as they mature, that how you treat each other matters...especially in sexual ways, ... not a talk relegated to the pre-adolescent years. It's just a natural part of being a person, and that knowing information helps children process these changes more easily and realize it is just another thing you can talk about with mom and/or dad. Should you read it? Yes. Go to the library, read it, learn from it. Go home and use good common sense encouraged by increased knowledge of this changing time in your child's life.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    This book was super helpful, with multiple topics to address all kinds of issues. Prepare to be a bit shocked about what is really going on in middle school, because I was still a bit naive about how things have changed in the last 30 years. My favorite parts of the book: numerous tips on how to communicate (or not, because too much questioning is going to backfire), how to help them discover their talents and nurture them, achieve relational success, and get them to still stay plugged in at hom This book was super helpful, with multiple topics to address all kinds of issues. Prepare to be a bit shocked about what is really going on in middle school, because I was still a bit naive about how things have changed in the last 30 years. My favorite parts of the book: numerous tips on how to communicate (or not, because too much questioning is going to backfire), how to help them discover their talents and nurture them, achieve relational success, and get them to still stay plugged in at home. I liked the "It Worked for Us" sidebars as well, which were full of great ideas. Highly recommend this for any parent of a child 9 years and old (yes, you need to start early thinking about how you are going to parent during these years!) . Update: I just re-read the book, and probably will again next year as well. Last year it was nice information, this year more of the book was applicable. It's just a good general tip book for relating to your 9-12 year old. Keeping it on speed dial!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I walked away with a few helps and a few reminders. However, overall I do not recommend this book. Dr. Leman's intended audience is the general public, as opposed to Christians, and his attitude toward conservative Christian parents was critical. He raised serious concerns about middle school without giving much advice about how to help prevent these horrors (drugs, sex, oral sex, peer pressure, withdrawal, etc.) The last few chapters were when he poured on the advice. I'm not sure how many peop I walked away with a few helps and a few reminders. However, overall I do not recommend this book. Dr. Leman's intended audience is the general public, as opposed to Christians, and his attitude toward conservative Christian parents was critical. He raised serious concerns about middle school without giving much advice about how to help prevent these horrors (drugs, sex, oral sex, peer pressure, withdrawal, etc.) The last few chapters were when he poured on the advice. I'm not sure how many people will make it to the end though; I almost gave up on the book. My friend recommended Preparing for Adolescence by Dr. James Dobson, so I am going to try that one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amber Whoolery

    This audiobook was easy to listen to. I will definitely keep it in my parenting toolbox to reference again. I do recommend it to parents with children in 5th-8th grades. The author provides a different perspective around setting expectations that forces middle schoolers to be accountable for their own actions and consequences.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    3.5 stars. I thought he had some really good advice and wished I had read this a couple years ago when Em was starting middle school. He did get a little repetitive at times but overall it was good and I'm glad I read it. 3.5 stars. I thought he had some really good advice and wished I had read this a couple years ago when Em was starting middle school. He did get a little repetitive at times but overall it was good and I'm glad I read it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    I really enjoyed this book and found it very helpful with a 12 year old boy in seventh grade. I will be keeping the book to refresh when my younger son (currently 10) is going through the same things. I felt it was most helpful to me knowing that his behavior is normal in these middle years.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The author comes off a bit cocky at times, but I really enjoyed this book and felt it got me in the right mindset for tackling middle school with Gavin. Parenting is THE hardest job, one that you have to constantly work at, and books like this help keep me on track.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Grepke

    Being a parent of a middle schooler is not for the faint of heart. This book guides you to the feelings, struggles and pitfalls of this stage of life. While easy to read and understand, it was a bit tough at times, especially since our child is Autistic. But overall good info.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Grace Lee Vitsky

    Good primer for a parent (me) whose kid is off to middle school this year, but just stating what is intuitively already known. Good to read/hear out loud, I guess.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Gave me some good ideas and better understanding about what is going on with hormones and psychology at this age.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cristie

    A must read for middle school parents and teachers!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Wharton

    Kevin talks about what is happening emotionally and physically with your middle school kids. He looks at different ways to connect with them and to correct them as well. Good read. Good suggestions

  17. 5 out of 5

    Suzanna

    Don’t love his writing style. Good info shared - need to revisit this one in a year or two, doesn’t feel applicable now.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jenae

    Good information for parents of middle schoolers, albeit a bit repetitive at times.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I didn't like the tone/style, and a lot of it is common sense. I read it through to the end. I didn't like the tone/style, and a lot of it is common sense. I read it through to the end.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Trace

    I really like Dr. Leman's parenting style. Finally got around to reading this book now that my son is in his last year of middle school! LOL!! I really like Dr. Leman's parenting style. Finally got around to reading this book now that my son is in his last year of middle school! LOL!!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christian Fiction Addiction

    My oldest daughter is just entering those middle school years, and I can tell you that I've had some moments of fear and trembling, anticipating what lies around the corner. So when I saw that Dr. Leman released his latest book, "Planet Middle School", I wasted no time in getting a copy of my own. I am happy to report that not only is this book well-written and laid out in an easy-to-navigate manner, but it is chock full of practical advice to guide parents through the middle school years (which My oldest daughter is just entering those middle school years, and I can tell you that I've had some moments of fear and trembling, anticipating what lies around the corner. So when I saw that Dr. Leman released his latest book, "Planet Middle School", I wasted no time in getting a copy of my own. I am happy to report that not only is this book well-written and laid out in an easy-to-navigate manner, but it is chock full of practical advice to guide parents through the middle school years (which he defines as approximately ages 11-13). I think what parents may most appreciate about this book is that they won't feel so alone in wondering why their child has, at times, gone from so sweet natured to a complete stranger seemingly overnight! Leman covers every topic under the sun, from kids experiencing bullying, to the importance of discussing sex, to navigating the dangerous world of social media. Each chapter not only has clear advice pertaining to each topic area, but also has anecdotes from parents who have already been through these years and who can share the wisdom they've gleaned along the way. One of the chapters I most enjoyed was the one about "Creating an Attitude of Gratitude". So often I find that children in this youngest generation have a clear sense of entitlement, and having some clear guidelines from Dr. Leman about how to teach children to be grateful and that it's not all about them, is very helpful and needed! I personally found "Planet Middle School" to be so interesting and timely that I read it through in one night. However, I plan on taking this book off the shelf over and over in the coming years, any time that I may feel like pulling out my hair! Knowing I have somewhere to turn for guidance can greatly reduce the feelings of stress parents have, and Dr. Leman certainly offers a lot of wisdom indeed. I highly recommend this helpful resource and award it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Plenty of good info in here but my main beef is with Lehman's writing style which leans heavily on generalizations: "your daughter will become interested in babies at 13" or, my favorite, "your oldest is a perfectionist." My daughter has been interested in babies since she was old enough to not be one, and my oldest is far from a perfectionist. Far. Really far. My other gripe is this: the parents reading this book have likely taken steps already to keep their kid safe from many of the dangerous Plenty of good info in here but my main beef is with Lehman's writing style which leans heavily on generalizations: "your daughter will become interested in babies at 13" or, my favorite, "your oldest is a perfectionist." My daughter has been interested in babies since she was old enough to not be one, and my oldest is far from a perfectionist. Far. Really far. My other gripe is this: the parents reading this book have likely taken steps already to keep their kid safe from many of the dangerous behaviors in this book. As a son of a 7th grader in a good school system, I can say we've had fairly smooth sailing so far. Besides a few anger episodes, he's generally the same kid he was a couple of years ago.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    This book is great in that it gives actual suggestions on how to instill the thoughts and practices. It gave "what worked for us" stories from other readers as well. Again, it isn't telling you stuff you don't already know it is stating it in a different and practical way. I am usually hesitant to read books that might have a negative view of the teenage years because I think half the battle of making it through is the mindset. I feel that coming into it with a positive expectation, with some unde This book is great in that it gives actual suggestions on how to instill the thoughts and practices. It gave "what worked for us" stories from other readers as well. Again, it isn't telling you stuff you don't already know it is stating it in a different and practical way. I am usually hesitant to read books that might have a negative view of the teenage years because I think half the battle of making it through is the mindset. I feel that coming into it with a positive expectation, with some understanding of what is to be expected with the development of the brain and body, will set you up for a far better outcome than thinking the worst and the "fear" of the dreaded hormones. This book is the positive mindset and making the most of your time with your kids. I loved it!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Angie Vallejo (Musesofamom)

    There is always some wisdom that I get from Dr. Leman's books. In Planet Middle School, he gives suggestions for handling this crazy growing stage in your child's life. The beginning of the book didn't pertain much to my situation since my child is homeschooled and he gave insight on things children deal with in public school. However, there was much to learn about dealing with pear pressure and how to approach your child when the topic of sex needs to be discussed. Always useful for me is the s There is always some wisdom that I get from Dr. Leman's books. In Planet Middle School, he gives suggestions for handling this crazy growing stage in your child's life. The beginning of the book didn't pertain much to my situation since my child is homeschooled and he gave insight on things children deal with in public school. However, there was much to learn about dealing with pear pressure and how to approach your child when the topic of sex needs to be discussed. Always useful for me is the sample statements and questions he gives that you can use with your own child. I wish I would have had this guide when my oldest was in middle school!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shari

    Didn't like it. Didn't finish it. Some good info but a lot of it was over the top and not the norm at our local schools. While I think it's good to open discussions with our kids about the evils (sexting, sex, drugs, etc.) he makes it seem like a given in all middle schools. And as always, he comes off condescending and sarcastic. When will I learn that I don't care for Dr. Leman? All that said, if this book helps just one middle schooler come out unscathed (or less-scathed) it's worth at least Didn't like it. Didn't finish it. Some good info but a lot of it was over the top and not the norm at our local schools. While I think it's good to open discussions with our kids about the evils (sexting, sex, drugs, etc.) he makes it seem like a given in all middle schools. And as always, he comes off condescending and sarcastic. When will I learn that I don't care for Dr. Leman? All that said, if this book helps just one middle schooler come out unscathed (or less-scathed) it's worth at least a skim. It made me MORE anxious about middle school though. Thank goodness my high schooler clarified that these things are not the norm at his school.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Walls

    I read this book because it was highly recommended by education professionals at my children's school. I really didn't like it at all. I found the parenting advise to be patronizing. I found the author's characterizations of personality types and behavior issues to be overly generalized and stereotypical (for example, there is one whole passage encouraging moms who work outside the home to learn how to use a crock pot...ugh!). I found the references to technology and media to be out-of-date. In I read this book because it was highly recommended by education professionals at my children's school. I really didn't like it at all. I found the parenting advise to be patronizing. I found the author's characterizations of personality types and behavior issues to be overly generalized and stereotypical (for example, there is one whole passage encouraging moms who work outside the home to learn how to use a crock pot...ugh!). I found the references to technology and media to be out-of-date. In sum, it was very difficult to get through. I listened to the audio book version of it and I am sure that if I was reading it in hardcopy I would not have made it past Chapter 1.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Duane

    Received this in a Goodreads giveaway contest. Thoroughly enjoyed the humor that goes along with raising tweens and teens. His advice, suggestions, and past experience are spot on and he doesn't make promises that everything mentioned will work for every child. Each child is different so by reading the entire book, you can customize strategies that will relate with your "middle schooler". I'd highly recommend this book. Received this in a Goodreads giveaway contest. Thoroughly enjoyed the humor that goes along with raising tweens and teens. His advice, suggestions, and past experience are spot on and he doesn't make promises that everything mentioned will work for every child. Each child is different so by reading the entire book, you can customize strategies that will relate with your "middle schooler". I'd highly recommend this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Kevin Leman does it again with this book! Incredibly well-timed advice for anyone who deals with middle school kids. You name it, it's in this book. Please do yourself a favor and read it. You'll be using his tips the same day you read them if you've got a middle schooler. Really. For full review, see here. http://eagleswingsbooks.blogspot.com/... Kevin Leman does it again with this book! Incredibly well-timed advice for anyone who deals with middle school kids. You name it, it's in this book. Please do yourself a favor and read it. You'll be using his tips the same day you read them if you've got a middle schooler. Really. For full review, see here. http://eagleswingsbooks.blogspot.com/...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    Such a good guide to the trials of Planet Middle School. Dr. Leman uses real life examples of his own life as well as readers which helps you see that you are not alone. If you ever wanted an instruction book to how to handle some sticky situations with your middle schooler this is the book for you.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    I skimmed through this book because my kids are grown but I work with middle school students. The basis of the book is to be available, love, respect, and look for opportunities to connect. Good reminders of how to treat these 11-13 year olds.

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