Wednesday, July 25, 2007

'Tweens book

Book aims to help parents guide 'tweens'
Topeka native's book aims to help parents navigate children's pre-teen years
By Tim Hrenchir
The Capital-Journal
Published Saturday, July 21, 2007
Once a child learns to bathe, clothe and feed himself, his parents may think their role in his life is somehow less important.
"Nothing could be further from the truth!" writes Topeka native Paul Pettit. "You are needed now more than ever."
What: Topeka native Paul Pettit will sign copies of his third book, "Congratulations, You've Got Tweens!"
When: 9 to 11 a.m. July 28
Where: Christian Book and Gift Store, 2121 S.W. Fairlawn Plaza Drive, where it is available for purchase, or online:, and
A father of five with a doctoral degree focusing on family studies, Pettit has written a 160-page book offering tips to help parents navigate the "tween" years in which their child is between ages 8 and 12.
Kregel Publications this year put out the book, which is titled, "Congratulations, You've Got Tweens!"
The book, Pettit's third, uses a Christian perspective to help parents through a time when their youngster isn't quite a child and not quite a teenager.
Pettit said in a telephone interview this week that youngsters in their tweens are beginning to become their own person and show independence from their parents but remain highly impressionable and still need parental support.
In an ever-changing youth culture, Pettit encourages parents to meet their tweens "on their own turf" by eating lunch with them at school, knowing their friends and listening to their music.
He suggests parents involve their tweens in Scouting, sports, church groups, volunteer work and other activities that give them a sense of community.
Pettit's book also offers tips for "balanced parenting," which involves finding a healthy middle ground between the extremes of controlling their tween's life too much and too little.
He gives suggestions designed to help parents talk with their tweens on an honest and heartfelt level, such as asking open-ended questions about things in life that make them happy, sad or angry.
"Ask how they felt when they didn't make cheerleader or when they won the spelling bee," he said.
Pettit said his children particularly enjoy a game their family plays at the dinner table called "high/low," in which each talks about their high point and low point of the day.
Pettit and his wife, Pam, live near Dallas with their five children: Lauren, 15; Austin, 14; Evan, 11; Haley, 10; and Christian, 8.
Paul and Pam Pettit grew up in Topeka, where he was an announcer for Joy 88 Radio and a youth pastor at Bethel Baptist Church.
The Pettits moved about 15 years ago to Dallas. Paul Pettit is director of spiritual formation at Dallas Theological Seminary, where he received a doctor of ministry degree this year focusing on the area of family studies. He also is president and founder of Dynamic Dads, an organization offering encouragement to fathers.
Pam Pettit received a master's degree in nursing this year from Baylor University and is a nurse practitioner at three hospitals in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Pettits teamed up in 2002 to write a book targeted at helping first-time fathers titled, "Congratulations, You're Gonna be a Dad!" Paul Pettit's second book, "Dynamic Dads," was published in 2003.