Friday, February 17, 2012

Smart Parenting for Smart Kids by Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Mark S. Lowenthal

Smart Parenting for Smart Kids: Nurturing Your Child's True Potential by Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Mark S. Lowenthal
ISBN: 978-0470640050
Published March 1, 2011
Trade Paperback, 320 pages

I am always on the lookout for good books on parenting, both as a parent and as an educational consultant. When I saw Smart Parenting for Smart Kids I knew I wanted to read it. My children are middle-graders with a new set of challenges from their toddler years, and I am a working mom with new challenges in my household management, parenting included! However, I didn't want a book on how to be a parent. I wanted one that helped me tackle specific issues as I helped my children to succeed in life. This was the perfect book for me.

Right off, I liked the tone in this book. It was intelligent, yet compassionate, chock-full of parenting insight and child psychology, yet practical and very readable. This book took me a long time to finish reading because it needs to be absorbed and it made me think a lot. It made me question my actions and my motives and had me observing more closely my children and their reactions toward my response whether positive or negative.

I'm on the bandwagon of parents who want to offer their kids good opportunities for learning, immersing our family in music lessons, extracurricular activities, sports, volunteering, homework supervision and so on. But I've learned to watch out for stress signals and to balance our family life so as not to be over-scheduled. Yet, I still struggle with this and reading Smart Parenting has assuaged my fears that my kids would be left out if not fully involved in activities that help them grow in some aspect of their life.

The chapters I focused on the most were: Tempering Perfectionism, which had me re-evaluating the way I supervise homework (I'm the perfectionist, not my kids!); Managing Sensitivity, which was so insightful for me on so many levels (both my daughter and I are sensitive); Handling Cooperation and Competition, which is helping me deal with my son's competitiveness; and Finding Joy, which made me realize how important it is to make small changes that will result in my family experiencing more joy and happiness.

Throughout the chapters, there are scenes with dialogue (some of which will sound so familiar) followed by strategies that parents can implement to deal with that particular situation or behaviour. These vignettes easily had me identify if this was a problem I had encountered (not just as a parent but also in my field) and how I could deal with the social, emotional and intellectual needs of my children and clients. I learned a lot about myself, not only as a parent but also as a person. Sometimes, helping your child succeed means changing the way you parent—like not correcting your child's homework!

I can't stress enough how helpful and insightful Smart Parenting is for any parent who wants to nurture their children's true potential without heaping expectations on them (ours or that of society) that can be detrimental in the long run. All parents, of course, want the best for their children, and whether we admit it or not, we do have expectations for them. But each child is an individual with a complex emotional, social and intellectual make-up. Smart Parenting guides parents in understanding their children and working alongside them to maturity and success according to their abilities and desires.

I highly recommend this intelligent book to all parents who feel the stress of helping their kids' achieve, to educators, social workers and teachers. It's an excellent resource and a keeper on my bookshelf. It' a book I will refer to again and again.

Note: This book is rated C = clean read.
I will count this book toward the following challenges: TBR Pile Reading Challenge, A-Z Book Challenge

Reviewed by Laura
Disclosure: Thanks to Eileen Kennedy-Moore and for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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