It has been a while since I have picked up a book today -- if I recall right, the last book I read was around Christmas. So, when I was recently asked to read two books for a review/feature, I used this as an opportunity to get back into reading...and, boy, did I miss it!
The first book I was sent to read, and was able to finish in a weekend was "Raising Kids to Thrive: Balancing Love with Expectations and Protection With Trust" by Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MS ED, FAAP, along with Ilana Ginsburg and Talia Ginsburg, Dr. Ginsburg's teen daughters. Unlike othert parenting books I have read, which are usually written from a parents point of view, this was included views by the author's daughters, as well as hundreds of other teens from across the country, on a multitude of topics. From sharing their thoughts on love, trust, safety, honesty and independence, the reader (usually a parent) can see what teens think of these topics that parents find themselves struggling to fight a happy medium with, while also remaining the parent and enforcing the groundwork they are laying so that their children and grow and flourish.
Even though my girls are still young, I am finding books like this one extremely useful in how I parent. I want them to feel like they can come to me whenever they have a problem or need direction, without feeling scared or embarressed.
This book, along with research shared by Dr. Ginsburg and firsthand responses from teens and his daughters is helping me recognize that there is a time for parenting and a time for letting my girls experience things on their own in order to learn and build self-confidence. I, for one, find it hard to loosen the reins and let the girls venture off on their own. I feel that I need to be holding their hand or hovering over them, in case I have to step in and assist. But, my girls, just like the teens who shared their thoughts in this book, tell me that they are "big girls" and can do things on their own. Yes, boundaries are needed when you are parent and raising children (of all ages), but we have to also have faith in our kids and know that what we have instilled in them thus far, will allow them to learn life lessons on their own, without our hand holding.
About this book:
"…loving our kids unconditionally yet still hold high expectations for them; when love feels conditional (when parental affection is solely shown in response to grades, performance, or behaviors) kids experience an ever-present sense of pressure.
…Accept that our children (and adults) are “uneven" kids: the importance of expecting growth and not perfection from our children.
….Holding our kids to high moral standards, while also being a role model for those standards.
….Recognizing and coping with stress.
...when to set boundaries and when to get out of kids’ way: how to set clear expectations about risky behaviors
…how to start meaningful conversations with our children by becoming a sounding board and not necessarily a dictator
…reduce anxiety – for themselves and their kids – as they venture out on their own and move into adulthood
In his latest book -- Raising Kids to Thrive: Balancing Love With Expectations and Protection With Trust (American Academy of Pediatrics, March 24, 2015) -- best-selling author, pediatrician and resilience expert, Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MS Ed, FAAP, offers essential tips on fostering resilience in teens. He gently helps parents understand how they can meet the challenge to balance unconditional love, yet still hold high expectations for their children. Through his “Lighthouse Parenting Strategy,” he also helps parents recognize when to set boundaries and when to get out of kids’ ways.
This groundbreaking book includes two chapters written by Dr. Ginsburg’s twin teenage daughters, and interweaves opinions and input of over 500 adolescents who participated in the “Youth View” chapters. By combining the wealth of experience from Dr. Ginsburg and insightful commentary from today’s teenagers, Raising Kids to Thr
ive offers a fresh take on how to successfully parent teens in today’s complicated world.
Raising Kids to Thrive will help parents to raise kids who thrive for lifetime by:
- Balancing unconditional love with high expectations.
- Eliminate the need for helicopter or “tiger” parenting.
- Start meaningful conversations with their children by being a sounding board, not necessarily a dictator.
- Become a stable beacon so their children can turn to them for guidance and self-measurement.
- Understand and accept that people are uneven and the importance of expecting growth, not perfection from children.
- Reduce anxiety – for themselves and their kids – as they venture out on their own and move into adulthood.
- Holding our kids to high moral standards, while also being a role model for those standards.
“People are uneven,” says Dr. Ginsburg. “Highly successful people are great at something, and their desire to explore other areas is what makes them interesting.” He adds, “We harm kids when we suggest that to make it in this world they must be good at absolutely everything.”"
The book itself is broken down into 4 parts. The first part deals with unconditional love versus high expectations, which is comprised of seven chapters and a reflections and discussion at the end. These chapters deal with setting expectations as a parent in such a way that kids will not feel stressed or anxious if they don't perform up to our standards, but can also be successful.
The second part is about "Protection Versus Learning From Life's Lessons, is also made up of seven chapters, followed by a reflection and discussion section. This was the hardest part to read, and had be highlighting many points made by the author, as it dealt with learning the difference between protection and preparation. It also talked about love boundaries and preparing children for a stressful world. Kids want to rush to be adults as they feel they will have for freedoms, but they don't realize that being an adult carries more responsibilities and stress. I personally liked the "Navigational Strategies" chapter, which dealt with ways to handle life's stressors, with useful tips and strategies, ranging from staying organized to self-care and even presentation and self-advocacy skills.
The third part, which was the shortest, but a real eye opener in regards to how our children see things, was titled, "The Voice of Youth." The three chapters making up this section dealt with the youth perspective on love versus expectations and protection versus trust. I can see this being a very important section for parents of tweens/teens to read, so that they can maybe rethink their parenting or expectations of their children.
The last part is titled "Rebooting: Moving Toward the Relationship You Hope to Have" has six chapters. After reading the chapters I could see this section being one parents and children will want to read and then gather to talk about. I know as a parent I want my children to have a healthy relationship with me and know they can turn to me for anything. But, there will come times that they will rebel and think they have all the answers, and this is when communication is key. Part 4 does an amazing job at sharing useful information for parents (and kids) about listening and talking, guiding your children to find their own solutions, as well as offering a space for change.
If was I was to recommend one chapter out of the whole book to focus on, it would be the last chapter (chapter 23), which is for young people and deals with the first steps toward a better relationship with your parent.Kids will learn how to have a real conversation with their parents, when they need to apologize or how to regain trust, seeing your parents strengths and that they are looking out for your best interest, and most importantly listening and being open to criticism and direction.
Overall, I found this book to be very enlightening and one I wholeheartedly recommend to parents of children (of any age). This is one book I will be keeping on my bookcase and pulling out time and again to reference when I find myself struggling to guide my girls or having that relationship I had hoped for with them. Like I said earlier, I read this book in a weekend, as I couldn't put it down. I found myself wanting to read on and learn ways to be a more successful parent to my girls.
The book is available to purchase right now in Kindle format for only $9.59 and as a paperback book from Amazon for only $13.56. Click here to order now. This book, which released on March 24th (this past week) is also available at bookstores nationwide and online as well as from shop.AAP.org/books, the award-winning AAP Web site for parents.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kenneth R. Ginsburg, M.D., M.S. Ed, FAAP is a specialist in adolescent medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and a professor or pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is also director of health services at Covenant House Pennsylvania. He has over 100 publications, including 30 scientific articles and 5 books including the award-winning / best-selling Building Resilience in Children and Teens (American Academy of Pediatrics). He drafted the AAP policy statement on The Power of Play and has been an expert source for several prominent parenting news articles and reports in media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, TIME Magazine, ABC News, Yahoo! Parenting, NBC News and CNN. He is working with The Boys and Girls Clubs of America to incorporate resilience-building strategies into their programming. He is also honored to be working with military parents and professionals to incorporate stress reduction and resilience building strategies into the lives of our nearly 2 million military-affiliated children. His greatest privilege is to be a husband and the father of two teenaged daughters.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored Role Mommy post in which I will be compensated for my time. However, all views shared are mine and mine alone.