Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Teaching Kids to Think by Ron Stolberg & Darlene Sweetland

Teaching Kids to Think is an interesting read about the current generation of kids who seem to be used to getting everything instantly. The book is geared toward parents who want their children to grow up and become confident, independent and thoughtful adults in a time where children are used to relying on their parents and the technology around them. The book strives to show parents ways to guide their children to develop the skills to be able to plan, organize, problem solve and make their own decisions.

The book is laid out very well and contains an introduction and the following chapters:

  1. The Parent Traps: Do you take the Bait:
  2. Missed Opportunities When Parents Rescue Their Children
  3. Make No Mistake About It: Everyone Makes Mistakes
  4. Understanding Developmental Stages
  5. Take Advantage of the Critical Periods of Brain Development
  6. Ivy League or Bust: Are We Providing Children What They Really Need?
  7. The Phones Might Be Smart, But What About Us?
  8. The Trouble With Technology: Video Games, Social Networking & TV
  9. Athletics Provide More Thank Just Fun
  10. Why Drugs And Alcohol Are So Appealing
  11. Will Your Child Be Ready To Launch?
  12. Parents Have Grown Accustomed to Instant Gratification, Too
  13. Lessons Learned

This book really does cover a multitude of different subjects that sneak into every parents life at some point. Sweetland and Stolberg seemed to offer plenty of examples they have seen in their offices in each chapter. There are also several several lists included to allow parents to identify if they are exhibiting any undesirable behaviors that could be contributing to the problem. Chapters are also ended with a Putting It All Together section that includes an overview of The Issue, The Trap your falling into, and The Alternative which states different ways to handle the issue. The last chapter of the book entitled Lessons Learned is a very brief recap of the book and just summarized the ideas of the book.

There were plenty of things I liked about this book. What I enjoyed the most about this was that it's not preachy at all. In fact this book is written by parents who admit in the Introduction that they have fallen into these traps plenty themselves and just want to help other parents avoid them. I really enjoyed that the book wasn't only aimed at one age group but instead offered not only examples of different ages but also suggestions for each. So many of these traps are easy to fall into and don't seem like a big deal at the time. I honestly haven't ever thought about what my son is missing by me helping him, I instead was only thinking of how I was helping. This book really opened my eyes to the different ways helping can really hurt in the long run. As parents it's important to think of the far reaching implications of our actions. I liked the list of things teachers sent in regarding what traits students will need to be successful adults. 

There were several ideas I found in the book that I want to implement in my home such as: "Fun Friday" - A day designated to no housework etc so you can play games, plan a sleep over etc so, as a working mom, your child can plan for a specific day instead of 'maybe later' or 'someday'. I am also going to try observing a situation my son is in for at least 5 to 10 seconds for jumping in to help. With play dates and social situations I'm going to help set parameters but let my son take control. There were also some things that I've already put in place so I was glad to see them on the "to-do" side of this book lol. 

There were also a few things that didn't apply to me because they were not meant for children with special needs - this book was definitely written with neurotypical kids in mind. Really the only thing that I would have liked to have seen was any talk at all about non-neurotypical kids. More and more children are being diagnosed with Autism each year and I feel like this book missed a huge section of the population(including my child). A wonderful read and I'm beyond glad that I got to read it.

This ARC was kindly provided to me by NetGalley for my honest review.

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