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Strategies for Raising Happy, Achieving Children

Did you ever wonder where the instruction manual was for your adolescent? Well, I may have found it for you. No, it wasn’t stashed away in a junk drawer in the kitchen…you can find it at any bookstore (the bricks and mortar type or the virtual kind). Dr. Sylvia Rimm, a best-selling author, nine-year correspondent on NBC’s Today Show, and host of the national radio program Family Talk, has developed a very readable and eminently sensible guide to raising kids. In her book How to Parent So Children Will Learn: Strategies for Raising Happy, Achieving Children, Dr. Rimm provides practical, no-nonsense advice for addressing both the mundane tasks of living day-to-day as well as deeper issues that we may encounter while raising our progeny. Her compassionate and practical tips span from pre-school to college and thus make this a handy volume to have in your personal library.

Dr. Rimm recognizes that parents are busy people. Sitting down and leisurely reading a book on parenting is simply not an option for most of us…especially those of us with teens! How to Parent is divided into four chapters: Empowering Your Children with the ‘v’ of Love; United Parenting; Teaching Habits that Encourage Learning; and Setting Positive Expectations. Each chapter has a summary, illustrations (that will no doubt make you laugh), “parent pointers”, sample activities and ready-to-use dialogues, and an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section featuring letters from parents in a “Dear Abby” format. This volume also includes an in-depth parent resource list with organizations, associations, and websites as well as DVDs for Parents and Educators. Perhaps most helpful is the extensive index that will enable you to find information by topic easily.

As a step-mom to a 14 year old son, I have found Chapter 3: Teaching Habits that Encourage Learning incredibly helpful in recent days. We had a bit of an issue regarding homework and apathy. Dr. Rimm provides several useful hints on how to deal with such issues as well as motivation. Chores are another sore spot in our household. Sylvia addresses these in the “chores and work” portion of Chapter 3 discussing the pros and cons of paying adolescents to do chores, the amount and frequency or “reminders” before it becomes “nagging”, and using written checklists.

Overall, I was duly impressed with this volume. It covers a lot of ground while still being enjoyable and at times humorous reading.

How to Parent So Children Will Learn: Strategies for Raising Happy, Achieving Children 3rd edition © 2008. By Dr. Sylvia Rimm. Published by Great Potential Press, Scottsdale, AZ.

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