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Growing Up Too Fast
The Rimm Report on the Secret World of America's Middle Schoolers.

by Sylvia Rimm, PhD

      As a children's writer and a parent, I'm always interested in studies focused on children today, so I was delighted to be able to read Growing Up Too Fast. In this book, Dr. Sylvia Rimm shares the results of a lengthy questionnaire she distributed to over 5000 middle school kids. She also talked to over 300 kids in focus groups. Her goal? To see how this tween age of childhood has changed over the years. Not surprisingly, today's middle schooler is in much more contact with sexually related material than we were as children - with today's media full of sexual messages. According to the answers she got from these kids, this contact with sexual content is making middle schoolers from rocky homes get involved with sex at much younger ages. She also found similar results in regard to drugs. However, kids in solid homes with attentive parents are more aware of sex and drugs than in the past but not particularly more inclined to partake - so the results of her report aren't quite as scary as they look at first blush. Clearly, good parenting is more important than ever. And the last section of the book gives some excellent parenting tips developed from Dr. Rimm's nearly 30 years as director of a family achievement clinic. I found the book fascinating but I suspect many readers may be a bit bogged down by the lengthy attention she gives to the questionnaire results. Still, it's well worthwhile to stick with the book to the end. Some of her tips on dealing with competition and work ethic are definitely welcome tools in my parenting kit.

The Book

September 2005
Nonfiction (adults)
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The Reviewer

Jan Fields
Reviewed 2005
NOTE: Reviewer Jan Fields is the editor of Kid Magazine Writers emagazine and has written dozens of stories and articles for the children's magazine market.
© 2005