on November 1, 2011
Of all the parenting books I've read, this one stands out as truly exceptional. (And, P.S. I generally dislike parenting books for being irritating, guilt-inducing, and over-generalizing.) But, this book? I could read a chapter, easily understand the research and strategies, and immediately apply what I learned moments later. There was so much I needed, and this book really helped me!
In the "Tempering Perfectectionism" section I'm applying what the authors call "reflect" and "resist the temptation to offer pointers." So hard! That means, I'm not arguing when my daughter says, "I can't do math," but reflecting her words by saying "You're feeling frustrated about math." In this same chapter, I'm applying the "no excuses, only plans" strategy. This means, I don't argue with her statement that she can't do math, reflectively listen, and then I ask her, "What do you think you could do that might help?" \
I could write a book about this book so I better skip to chapter six on developing motivation, which is "a state, not a trait." The authors break motivation into what we already know -extrinsic and intrinsic -- but take it further and show that extrinsic motivation is three kinds - situation-based, approval-based, and value-based. Value-based motivation is the most "robust form" say the authors and stems from "children's consciously chosen and personally meaningful ideals." Who knew? I didn't and while I'm all for intrinsic motivation as much as possible, it's not always going to happen when you have to memorize multiplication tables, or go into the hospital for mandatory tests like we had to last week. So, this section is a must read -- and more realistic than other books that demand only intrinsic motivation. That simply doesn't work for all situations and all children all the time.
Other chapters in Smart Parenting for Smart Kids include Managing Sensitivity, Handling Cooperation and Competition, Dealing with Authority, Finding Joy, and the Conclusion talks about the pressure to perform versus the power to grow.
I can't say enough good things about this book, it's absolutely one of the best books on parenting I've ever read.
on February 29, 2012
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.
on June 28, 2011
Where were you, Eileen, when I struggled as a child, unaware why people didn't understand me? Where was this book when I was dealing with two bright kids? This book is jargon-free, very readable and even more important, realistic about the challenges faced by smart kids, so many of whom are socially clueless. It's also realistic about how hard we as parents have to work to keep such children challenged, and to keep them from alienating both other children and adults. Among the many comments that ring true with me is "doesn't understand status difference between adults and children." How many times I have had to deal with adults who insinuated that I was encouraging my child to condescend to them. The examples are brief, with informative explanations of what issue is demonstrated in each, and the recommendations for handling the issue make sense and sound reasonably easy to implement. My children are young adults now, but the advice on handling disappointments can still be put to use...and some of your content may help with the bright guy I'm married to!
on March 31, 2011
This book addresses something I worry about frequently - making sure my children reach their potential. I have opposite ends of the academic spectrum with both a special needs child and very "bright" and "high potential" children - as referred to by their teachers. This book outlines the challenges we face parenting these "high potential" kids, and some very tangible solutions.
on April 19, 2011
This isn't a book on teaching theory; it's a book full of real, practical everyday tips on how to raise a smart kid. Just by flipping through the book and looking at the subheads, you can see how this approach can be helpful: "Acknowledge the Feelings but Not the Intensity," "Look for Winning Role Models" and "Avoid Multitasking," just to name a few. My wife and I are reading it together and it's already helping. Thanks, Doctors!
on March 5, 2014
This book should be a text book for parents irrespective of whether you think that your kids are smart or not. :) Book has so many nuggets of excellent information, and ideas on how to work with your kids. I have notes on so many pages and can already feel the difference in how I approach some issues with my kids.
After reading this book, besides recognizing areas where I need to step in, I also recognize how good my kids are in some areas and appreciate them for it.
Have already recommended this book to my colleagues and friends. Real treasure!
on April 4, 2013
This is the first book I've read about gifted children that actually offered helpful tips for dealing with the difficulties that come from raising a gifted child. The essence of the book is to find tools that will help you help your child reach their full potential socially, emotionally, and intellectually. It gives you ideas on how to compassionately guide them on their journey not to dictate the path they should take. Great book with many great ideas.
on March 27, 2015
Every parent should read this book, whether they think they have a gifted child or not. This book is unique in its approach and the authors superb in their insight. Had my parents read this book. Oh my. The authors insight directs nonintrusive guidance that challenges children to think and think and think, while promoting an air of empathy for the plight of children whose social skills and concerns may take a back seat to other preoccupations children have. Reading this book, I have found myself correcting the numerous mistakes I've employed in the past with my other children. I have utilized the recommendations of the authors. They work! Communication with my children has improved 10 fold. They actually listen without argument and appreciate my wisdom. Thank you Kennedy-Moore for authoring this book.
on March 6, 2011
Drs.Kennedy-Moore and Lowenthal write with compassion, and even occasional humor. They support and reassure parents who wonder whether our culture's emphasis on 24/7 academics and activities for our kids will help them become the type of adults we want, and society needs them to be. The perfect antidote for the "tiger mom" syndrome. - Michelle, New Jersey.
on January 17, 2015
A very good book for parents. I love the chapter about perfectionism. The discussion is very deep, and the advice is very practical. It reminds me several things that I have learnt from Stephen Covey who is also one of my favorite authors.