What to Do When Your Tween Is in a Hurry to Grow Up

No, really. What do you do when your tween wants to read/watch/play things that are way too “old” for them? Because this is something I’m constantly struggling with my 14 1/2 year-old boys.

“All” of their friends are watching Walking Dead. “All” of them are reading and watching The Game of Thrones. And I see what videos and memes friends are posting to my boys’ Facebook timelines, and, well, they’re definitely pushing the envelope in my opinion.

My answer is always “no” when Charlie asks for these things, but I also want to encourage him to read when he asks for a BOOK. (Yay! Books!) So far the best solution was for him to read the The Enemy series by Charlie Higson.


We don’t allow our boys to ingest media that’s got language, sex or is generally profane. But, they are also their own people and are surrounded by friends who don’t necessarily live by the same rules. I think my guys are generally respectful of our family’s standards, but the truth is–they are their own people. We can control the media in our own home, but we can’t control what sort of things they partake of when they’re out in the world.

The Enemy series was a good consolation for Charlie. He also enjoyed The Hunger Games series, and Divergent (but not the rest of the series).

It’s hard seeing your kids go from “little” to “big” where you can’t directly control what they read or watch!

So what’s your solution? What do you do to help your children bridge that scary chasm between child and adult?


Alex 1 (2)Alex Banks likes to say she holds a black belt in awesome since the only kind of kicking-butt she does is on paper. She lives in Utah with her kickin’ husband, two sparring sons, one ninja cat, one samurai dog and four zen turtles.

Alex writes Young Adult and New Adult fiction (suitable for readers over fourteen) under the name Ali Cross.
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5 thoughts on “What to Do When Your Tween Is in a Hurry to Grow Up

  1. I’ve been struggling with this, too, Allie. My daughter (15) wasn’t allowed to read Hunger Games till high school. I then allowed her to read the Divergent series but I won’t allow the recent second movie. She’s still not allowed to read Twilight or Fault in our Stars yet. It’s hard when “everyone else is”. And we’ve had an age 12 rule on Harry Potter, which I’m going to wave a little early for my youngest because we’re going to read them together (which makes a difference). It’s a personal choice, but I think kids who aren’t exposed to too much before they’re ready for it are better off for it. It really is a form of tough love.

    1. Absolutely! And I love that you’re reading them together. Then you can discuss themes as they come along as well as help them over difficult reading patches.

      I’m actually really grateful for Emblazoners authors who provide great, exciting reads without all the “adult content”. There are resources. We just have to get them hooked on the good stuff instead of the “sensational”.

  2. Wow, this is a hard one. I have a twelve year old who wants to dive into Hunger Games. Given how traumatic that third book was to me, I can’t imagine her dealing with it. The primary solution I’ve found is to go the humor route. They started with Diary of a Wimpy Kid and moved on up with some of the James Patterson and Jerry Spinelli middle school books, then on to Hitchhiker’s Guide, etc. Everyone likes to laugh, right? They can feel “grown up” for reading a big ol’ fat book, but without the violence, etc. Humor!

  3. I may get in trouble with some of you here, but we actually let our kids watch The Walking Dead. My daughter’s 14 and son is 17. My son’s been watching it for a couple years, and my daughter just started end of last year. To me the key here is we watch it together. The show actually has fantastic talking points about relationships, moral ambiguity, right and wrong, etc… I get that it’s bloody… I mean really bloody. But it’s almost to the point where it’s cartoony, and since neither of my kids are particularly squeamish, it hasn’t seemed to cause any issues (I may find out in later years all the damage we did.) But, when all’s said and done, you’ve got to do what’s right for your family.

    Now, Game of Thrones is another story… Even I’m not allowed to watch that 🙂

  4. You guys all have great points. I love that they are all a little different, because there really is no right way to do this parenting thing!

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