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BellaOnline's Adolescence Editor

Growing Up Too Fast

Dr. Syliva Rimm has written a hard-hitting book called, Growing Up Too Fast - The Rimm Report on the Secret World of America's Middle Schoolers. It is a must-read for parents everwhere.

Rather than start from the beginning of the book, let me just jump to one of the most eye-opening portions of Dr. Rimm's book. It is found on page 112, in the chapter titled "Sex and Violence in Music, Movies, and Media." Therein she easily illustrates the long slide into a teen sex-saturated world by contrasting headlines from the Seventeen magazine in the '70s and from 2004. It was a shocking difference.

Throughout the entire book, she removes the wool from parents eyes to expose the wolves hiding in otherwise plain sight in our "tweens" world. And due to youth communicating now mostly via cell phones, instant messaging, peer-to-peer networks, etc., we as adults are often shut out of the dangers these kids so easily accept and incorporate into their lives.

Dr. Rimm canvassed a broad network of kids, through lengthy surveys with 5400 young people and through over 300 focus groups. What she found was surprising and appalling. And silently hidden from most parents.

But rather than just depress parents with these urgent details, Dr. Rimm follows up by giving calm and sensible advice. The author addresses a broad range of possibilities, from healthy practical matters such as the importance of sibling role models to the value that volunteering plays in a young person's life.

As you read this essential book, you begin to be filled with a sense of empowerment that you can still make a difference in your child's life - inspite of the world that insistently surrounds them.

The author gives many empowerment tools. One of my most favorites is her research into the value of family time spent together, playing games, and getting outdoors. As many parents tend to be, I myself also am busy. But how happy I am to admit that as I take time to look into my child's face and take a walk together, there is a quiet joy that comes that cannot be bought otherwise. Her book points to these quiet, contented moments as potent tools to protect kids against many of society's destructive forces against young people.

The amount of scientific information, research, and studies Dr. Rimm has participated in is mind-boggling. The amount of empowerment tools waiting for parents, as a result, are priceless. Growing Up Too Fast truly is a book that needs to be on every shelf in every home in America.

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