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Privilege of Parenting Paperback – December 14, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 442 pages
  • Publisher: Pop The World (December 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984625755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984625758
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #871,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bruce Dolin, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in Beverly Hills, California. With a BA from University of Michigan, an MFA from NYU and a doctorate from California School of Professional Psychology, "Privilege of Parenting" is a synthesis of what Bruce has learned in life, in two decades of clinical experience in work with children and families ranging from group home children, consulting at private schools and working in private practice and as the parent of two boys. He lives in Studio City, CA with his wife of 20 years, Andrea Alsberg, a film curator, their sons Nate and Will and also their rescued bulldog-boxer, Agnes.

More About the Author

Dr. Bruce Dolin is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice in Beverly Hills where he sees individuals, couples and families and has a sub-specialty of working with parents in the service of their children's well-being. Bruce has a BA from the University of Michigan, an MFA from NYU and a doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology. With nineteen years of clinical experience, Bruce draws on a wide range of theoretical perspectives to align with clients to think deeply and work pragmatically to achieve tangible results.

While Bruce (like many of us in his generation) may indeed ask himself, as David Byrne so lyrically suggests, "How did I get here?" He finds himself to be a psychologist in LA, inspired by a passion to support parents in the service of all our collective children--this is where he has decided to plant his flag, so to speak, in an attempt to occupy his own life and our collective situation with as much heart, soul and authenticity as he can muster.

As for the story of his story:

Upon leaving NYU Grad film school in 1986, the doors of Hollywood initially appeared to open for Bruce Dolin (quickly getting an agent, getting TV directing work and writing work), but while he found the god of luck his constant companion, it was mostly bad luck.

He gets a writing gig the week the writer's strike hits; he adapts a Martin Amis novel ("London Fields") but the producer insists on holding out for Stanley Kubrick (who, although alive at that time, never directed a movie he did not write; the agent came close to strangling her); Vin Diesel loves an action movie he wrote, but he's not yet a star and the agents don't see him as star material--they go out to all the studios with a star they already represent and everyone yawns. The capper comes when Dolin gets a job writing an ill-fated action movie with Andy Garcia and private financing... which is a green light until the financier is tragically killed in an avalanche.

In a town where one can die of encouragement, Dolin had to admit that the universe was not particularly encouraging him.

Realizing that he could never afford the amount of therapy it would take for him to survive in Hollywood, he decided to become a therapist--a job that's easier than directing because you get to sit, and easier than writing because you don't have to be alone all day.

While he might have pictured an "Ordinary People" sort of cushy office, armed with his doctorate Dolin ended up in the trenches of non-profit mental health--working with severely emotionally disturbed group home kids (while, along with his wife, raising a couple of little kids of his own). Subsequently Dolin consulted at a private school and built a practice in Beverly Hills. Along the way he found himself thinking about the universal things that matter to parenting across all sorts of divides of race, culture, socio-economics and pathology.

He also picked up a yoga practice along the way.

Realizing that he'd developed writing skills along the way, and with clarity about Hollywood and its being a bad fit with him (producers often told him things like, "you should move to Europe, that's where they make the sort of films you write."), Dolin decided to write a parenting book meant to help parents stop reading self-help parenting books and instead learn to think deeply and trust their own instincts.

After trying (and failing) to please everyone from actors to producers to agents, Dolin finally followed the age-old advice: write what you know. He didn't really know anything about terrorists and action movie heroes (except what any parent learns from tantruming children), but, after a couple of decades of practice, he did know a bit about what worked in therapy--about what helps kids and families heal.

The gods of luck, good and bad, still seemed to be shadowing him. He got a lit agent right off the bat, but then publishing fell off a cliff. Luck's a funny sort of thing.

Several publishers (including MacMillian and Harper Collins) said they loved the book, but claimed that Dolin needed a "bigger profile" (i.e. to be Dr. Phil) in order to justify publishing in an over-crowded market. One publisher even proposed that they work together on a new book--one that would clearly scare parents about some topic and then offer the cure. Dolin respectfully told them that he'd learned his lessons in Hollywood and that such an approach was the diametric opposite to what he'd come to believe actually helps.

While initially meant to "raise his profile," Dolin started blogging (@ www.privilegeofparenting.com) in 2009 and found that it connected him with a community of intelligent parents and writers interested in swapping comments and perspectives on a wide array of issues related to parenting, ranging from arts and culture to what to do if one's child talks about wanting to kill themselves (sadly, his most-read post, often with scores of parents searching specifically for this particular query each week).

Quietly offering quirky perspective and compassionate reason, Dolin and his blogging buddies (mostly moms) talk, laugh, cry and care their way through the morass of shifting fads and tempests in tea-pots, from attachment parenting to the context of the blogosphere, from tiger moms to the race to nowhere, Dolin has been heartened by the tone of respect and authenticity he has found on-line, in quiet eddies of discourse and connection, pulsing steadily below the radar of glaring manic noise and bombast.

While Dolin went to many a Sundance (his wife is a film curator), he never made an independent film. But he realized he would have to make an independent book. Working in that spirit, Dolin served as his own producer, writing to his liking, but then hiring a well-established editor to help tighten his manuscript as well as choosing a designer for the book's cover (and a revamp of his website as well).

"Privilege of Parenting" frames parenting itself as a sort of yoga, a spiritual practice cloaked in endless, often frustrating, expensive and ungratifying tasks. He conceptualizes the challenge of parenting less in terms of knowing what to do and more in terms of how hard it is to consistently be our best Selves in the face of frustration, anxiety, stress and an often toxic and fear-mongering parenting culture. To that end he encourages us to think deeply and work practically--and toward the good of all our collective children, not merely our own precious offspring.

So, while "Privilege of Parenting" does support the reader to be their best Self as a parent, it also challenges all of us to think about the many kids who are indeed left behind, and to consider them in our parenting paradigm, as being central to a better world for all of us.

Dolin says he is haunted by East of Eden, which he read along with his son a couple of years ago, and the idea that if your offering is not received, you just have to make another offering. Nineteen scripts were not received. Perhaps his book, "Privilege of Parenting," will fare better. If not, maybe next time.

Customer Reviews

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I practically read this entire book in one sitting.
Patricia Fitzgerald
His sense of balance and nurturing impart calm and confidence to the harried parent.
Monagal
It has great exercises at the end of each chapter that really help and give hope.
Raine Rayher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jennyentman on December 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
I had the opportunity to read this book and I was so excited to find how helpful and inspiring this was for my daily life. I have 3 boys and this book covered a ton of topics. It gave advice and words of wisdom for a lot of different scenarios. I will read this book many times and refer to it often.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Liebman on June 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book about mindful parenting. As Bruce Dolan writes in his introduction, this isn't a "how to" book so much as a "why to" book. He goes on: "The more deeply we understand each other, ourselves and our children, the more we are able to be our best Self in parenting. . . ."

The author writes about such things as attitude, seeing without judging, good feelings that last, using intuition, building self-esteem, spiritual parenting. These are not easy subjects and there aren't many books that even try to cover them in the depth found here. Fortunately, we're in the hands of a guide who knows the territory. Bringing his two decades as a clinical psychologist (and as a father) to bear, the author makes his subject vivid through insight and stories.

A dense book, almost encyclopedic, this is not for the casual reader. One opens it almost as one consults the I-Ching, and it is digested best in small pieces. For those interested in parenting as a path of personal and spiritual growth, the rewards are ample.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kristen on April 25, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am generally not a big fan of parenting books. Indeed, the only thing I know for sure about parenting is that there is no one way to do any of this. And that's why I loved Privilege of Parenting: Bruce Dolin doesn't promise a child-care equivalent of a Get Rich Quick scheme. Instead he admits upfront, "The art of parenting is not so much knowing what to do, as it is consistently doing it," and goes on to explain that his book "is not so much a 'how-to' book as it is 'why-to.' The more deeply we understand each other, ourselves and our children, the more we are able to be our best Self in parenting and all our endeavors."

So how does Dr. Dolin go about helping us understand ourselves, each other, and our kids? By tapping into his nearly two decades of experience as a clinical psychologist in the "system" and in private practice (not to mention as a partner and as a dad) to tell stories that skillfully illustrate his ideas. We meet Lenny, a foul-mouthed group home kid of questionable hygiene, to learn about the importance of trying to understand rather than change. And Allison, a sweet 11-year old left out of the "cool" girl's sleepover party, to illuminate the connection between self-esteem and kindness. And Joseph, a sweet, developmentally disabled boy on the cusp of adulthood, to reflect on "our essential task as human beings: loving presence to the moment and all it contains." Dr. Dolin also mines his exhaustive knowledge of film and literature to give us other lessons from sources as wide-ranging as Atticus Finch, Mary Poppins, and Mr. Henshaw.

I bought this book on the day it was published last December and read it through cover to cover.
Read more ›
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By schoolswap on July 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am the parent of a 9 year old, 6 year old, and 3 year old. This is a wonderful book to read as my kids get older. The chapters are broken out into the times when I feel most helpless with my children (when they are sad, angry, and manipulative), and helps me understand what it really feels like to be a sad, angry or manipulative child, what the correlating adult emotion is, and what is needed to help walk with a child through that difficult place. This isn't another book about time outs, or magic words you can say to make your children perfect. It emphasizes that healthy children are borne out of healthy relationships with their adult caregivers. Each chapter is incredibly long - I can barely finish one a day. But each chapter gives me so much to think about and has helped strengthen my empathy for each of my kids.
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Everything I hoped for and then some. Makes me more peaceful just by reading. Thankful for this book.
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Such a wonderful and well written book. It has great exercises at the end of each chapter that really help and give hope. This book offers so much comfort and support to parents; it is a book I am recommending this book to everyone I can. If you need some support and are facing parenting challenges that seem almost insurmountable this is the book for you. I ordered it, then it came right away and it has become my grounding book whenever something confusing happens or I am not sure what to do. If I am anxious or worried I reach for my Privilege of Parenting and a cup of herbal tea - this has become my recipe to inner peace, understanding, and gives me the strength to be the best parent I can be. I am finding that now I am really able to reach my beautiful 8 year old daughter effectively and our bond is stronger than ever now. Thank you Dr. Dolin for this truly life applicable book. It is a true gift the way you reach each of your readers as if you are speaking to each of us individually no matter what challenges each of us is facing with our children. This book written by Dr. Bruce Dolin indeed is a gift from the Universe.
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