Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Book Review of Talk: A Practical Guide to Cyberparenting and Open Communication

Reading Mandy Majors book Talk: A Practical Guide to Cyberparenting and Open Communication is like sitting with your girlfriend who’s done a ton of research on parenting well. The book is infused with "me too" and "I get it" reassurance. Majors graciously shares her wealth of experience and knowledge about parenting tweens who have the web and all its entanglements in their pockets.

Her conversational style puts readers at ease, which is saying something since she’s tackling thorny subjects. She boldly wades into deep and dicey topics with Jesus as her compass. She does not offer canned answers, but instead thoughtful and research-based guidance which she has successfully put into action in her family. But it’s more than a trek through murky waters, the book is interspersed with humor and practical advice from a mom we can relate to.

Most of us are scared about the provocative culture in which our kids are growing up. Mandy beckons us to stay engaged in our parenting even when complacency or avoidance are tempting. She encourages us to arm ourselves and our kids with good information, rather than give in to fear.

I’ve already followed Mandy’s lead and chopped vegetables and acted normal while I uttered words like puberty and sex to my fifth grader. I didn’t make it awkward. Sure, I lost three pounds in flop sweat, but my kid doesn’t know that. I had the talk and we are both still alive—I’m calling it a win! I’m grateful for the encouragement to be the safe place for my kids to ask embarrassing or challenging questions with the assurance I won’t betray them.

While I expected the book to share examples of the best filters for technology and a list of apps to avoid, but what I found instead was a call to empower our kids to filter what comes into their view and their hearts. Majors rejects the patronizing “that’s just how they are,” reference to tweens but rather encourages an elevated standard where we can see our kids rise. It’s still a hands on approach to parenting, but it is based on mutual respect and higher purpose rather than expecting kids to be difficult and unreachable.

While Mandy shares from her own experience and faith, she's quick to affirm others with the message, "Your family, your choice," woven throughout the book. But the truth is, you'll likely want to take notes on the tried and true practices she's put into place including a cell phone contract you and your tween or teen can sign together. I'll be copying this and several other wonderful suggestions she has for keeping dialogue open for challenging conversations with our kids in everyday life.

I’ve had the great pleasure of sitting across the table from Mandy, and I can vouch for how authentically delightful she is. She’s as funny, engaging, and wise in person as she is in the pages of her tremendous book. I invite you to sit with her, learn, and laugh through Talk: A Practical Guide to Cyberparenting and Open Communication. It truly is like a perfectly chosen present from your dearest friend—the tween parenting guidebook you wanted but didn’t know how much you needed.

                                                                                  Mandy Majors

The book is currently available on this Amazon link

The Hollywood Jesus author interview is excellent and you might like to take a peek to learn a bit more about the heart behind the book. Click here to read it.

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