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Middle School Makeover


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About the Author

In 2004, Michelle Icard launched Athena's Path, a curriculum that helps girls navigate the tricky middle school social scene. Shortly after, she added Hero's Pursuit for boys, and in 2011 launched her website about how to parent middle school children: Athena's Path and Hero's Pursuit have been implemented in thirty schools, in five states, and have impacted over 10,000 students. More than 250 teachers have been trained to implement the programs in schools. Michelle is often a guest speaker at schools and parenting events, and she hosts Right in the Middle, a conference for girls headed to middle school and their moms. Michelle also runs Moms Meet Up, a parent conversation and support group for parents of middle schoolers. She provides private coaching for parents and teens. Michelle has written curriculum for other national programs for adolescents, including Girlology and Girls Rock the House. In addition to her own blog, Michelle writes for Your Teen Magazine, The Karina Chronicles blog, and Charlotte Smarty Pants. She is the mother of a 13-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son.


"Icard, the creator of the middle school social skills courses Athena's Path and Hero's Pursuit, shares affirming, spot-on advice for guiding kids through the difficult middle school years, blending thoughtful practicality, and gentle humor. Icard recommends that parents serve as the calm 'assistant manager' to their children's growing brain, guiding them toward slower thinking and problem solving, and acting as empathetic coach rather than micromanager; she offers sample conversations to demonstrate what that might look like. Icard supports giving children greater independence, letting them take risks, and (monitored) use of social media, among many other helpful tips. Most importantly, Icard successfully positions herself as a knowledgeable, sympathetic peer-- someone who knows that parents want to have a great relationship with their children during this period of rapid change." --Publishers Weekly "Middle School Makeover is a great resource for anyone with a current or soon-to-be middle schooler in their life. With the voice of a friend, plenty of humor and lots of practical tips, Michelle Icard provides insight and answers to tween behaviors. Middle School Makeover also equips adults with useful 'to do' and 'to don't' tips for helping their middle schooler gain independence and confidence." --Melisa Holmes, MD; founder, Girlology; author of Girlology: A Girl's Guide to Growing Up "Written with humor, empathy, and remarkable insight, Middle School Makeover feels less like a book and more like a conversation with friends over coffee. Parent-to-parent, Michelle Icard translates cutting-edge developmental research and professional terminology into plain language and practical advice for managing the many twists and turns of early adolescence. Most importantly, the book transforms the image of middle school as dreadful for kids and dreaded by parents into a stage of life that is unique, exciting, and full of potential. You will not look at your child, or perhaps even recall your own middle school years, in the same way again!" --Beth A. Kotchick, PhD, associate professor, Loyola University, Maryland "Was middle school bad enough when you were going through it? Is facing middle school again through your child's experience giving you pause and anxiety? Worry no more. Michelle Icard has done an incredible job of offering parents not just the empathy they seek but the strategies they need to navigate their child's middle school year with wisdom, grace, and foresight. Icard so deftly blends storytelling, research, and guidance, you'll feel like you are having lunch with that smart, compassionate friend who never lets you feel defeated. Middle School Makeover will empower you to capably and calmly parent through the hard times and inspire you to celebrate through them, too." --Rosie Molinary, author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance "A makeover is desperately needed indeed. In twenty-five years of working with teenagers and their families, I've only had two people ask to volunteer to work with middle schoolers. In that same time, the stress that embraces parents is exactly what Michelle has described. Middle School Makeover is a book I will insist the families with whom I work and the students I teach have at their fingertips." --Brian Foreman, EdD, youth ministry consultant and author of #Connect: Reaching Youth Across the Digital Divide and How to Be #SocialMedia Parents. "Middle School Makeover is a masterpiece of how-tos for any parent dealing with the challenges of the middle school years. Parenting a middle schooler can be one of the most difficult times for parents to navigate. Michelle guides parents, using concrete solutions to reallife problems, faced by kids in their teen years. Michelle's practical advice and humorous writing style make for an easy read for busy parents on-the-go." --Seanna Crosbie, LCSW clinical therapist and director, Child Guidance Center, Texas "Every middle school parent, teacher, and child would benefit greatly from this makeover. With clear writing, warmth, and humor, Icard offers straightforward paths through some of the bumpier aspects of the dark, scary place known as Middle School. She weaves personal anecdotes together with research and expert insights to give parents and educators all the tools they will need to navigate this phase with their child. By addressing not just the needs of the middle schooler but the middle school parent as well, she reveals herself to be the perfect ally during this sometimes tumultuous phase. But Icard's greatest gift and the book's primary accomplishment is how it subtly shifts our expectations of middle school. By the end, every reader will feel that this is not a phase to be feared, but celebrated and enjoyed. We highly recommend to anyone who lives or works with middle schoolers." --Erin Dymowski and Ellen Williams, Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms "Middle School Makeover is a must read for anyone who has or works with middle students. Michelle brings understanding, compassion and wisdom to caring for this much misunderstood group of young people. I encourage every middle school parent to pick up this book, your middle schooler will be so glad you did!" --Vicki Abadesco, co-founder, Soul Shoppe author of Free to Be: Creating a Safe, Fun & Bully-Free World "Michelle's book is a terrific blend of solid research, innovative ideas, and good old-fashioned experience with adolescents. There are a lot of books full of buzz words and generic advice, but Michelle's book drills down into specifics: what to say, how to say it, how not to say it, and the facial expression to show while saying it. The book hits on many of those tough social situations that leave adults struggling for words when it comes to advising their children. In my job as a school counselor, I reach for her material when trying to guide a middle school student (or parent of a middle-schooler) through a very trying and very real situation." --Wes Calbreath, MED Middle School Counselor at Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System

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