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Parents Do Make a Difference: How to Raise Kids with Solid Character, Strong Minds, and Caring Hearts Paperback – May 7, 1999
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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In 1998, a fierce debate was sparked by Judith Rich Harris's The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do: Parents Matter Less Than You Think and Peers Matter More, a fairly scholarly book that posited, as clearly indicated by the subhead, the radical theory that children are more influenced by peers and siblings than they are by their parents. Parents Do Make a Difference, by Michele Borba, Ed.D., has clearly been marketed as a rebuttal. The title alone is a kind of bolster to parents' sagging self-esteem.
Once you open the book, though, it's just as clear that, marketing aside, the book was not actually written as part of the parents vs. peers debate, which it has absolutely nothing to do with. Nor is it a scholarly work, in the vein of Harris's book. The original title of this book was probably something like "The Eight Skills of Raising Successful Children." These simple skills, which Borba (author of 36 other educational publications) has researched and workshopped across the country, then implemented in the curriculum of three elementary schools, are commonsensical, feel-good affirmations for parents and kids. Borba uses lots of lists: the aforementioned eight skills, "four steps to developing positive self-beliefs," "four steps to enhancing social competence," and so on. The "success tips" and affirmations are pretty straightforward, as with this suggested "pillowgram": "Slip a message under your child's pillow. 'Kevin, I loved looking at your drawings today. You are so artistic! Sleep tight! Love, Dad.'" These are fine, basic self-esteem builders; unfortunately, they can sometimes veer too much on the cloying side. But for parents who want to help their children develop the eight skills (self-confidence, communication, getting along, perseverance, self-awareness, problem solving, goal setting, and caring), it should be of significant help.
"The fact is this may well be the only book you'll ever need on raising great children." (from the Foreword by Jack Canfield, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Soul®)
"Packed with helpful suggestions and insights. This book is a wonderful guide to help kids become winners." (Louise Hart, author of The Winning Family: Increasing Self-Esteem in Your Children and Yourself and On the Wings of Self-Esteem)
"Parents Do Make a Difference makes a huge contribution to the well-being of children. It's positive, practical, and instantly usable. Kids across America will surely become more confident and self-reliant as a result of this wonderful book." (Naomi Drew, author of Learning the Skills of Peacemaking)
"Dr. Michele Borba's years of research and experience make her uniquely qualified as an expert in this field. The many practical and creative suggestions offered here are sound, effective ways of developing successful human beings. I'm certain that this outstanding book will become an extremely valuable guide and resource for both parents and teachers." (Robert W. Reasoner, president, International Council for Self-Esteem and retired school superintendent)
"Michele Borba's book is bursting with wise and practical ideas for helping kids develop the strengths of character-qualities like caring, self-discipline, and perseverance-that make us fully human." (Thomas Lickona, author of Educating for Character)
"Parents Do Make a Difference is a godsAnd for parents. Dr. Borba speaks clearly and authoritatively about the things that matter most to a child's success-not grades or test scores, but the ability to set goals, cooperate, and empathize with others, to be self-reliant and self-motivated, and above all, have high self-esteem." (Thomas Armstrong, author of Awakening Your Child's Natural Genius and In Their Own Way)
"Michele Borba's new book is invaluable. Drawing on a lifetime of rich experience, the author understands parents' concerns and speaks to them wisely and compassionately. Best of all, she spells out what parents need to know in easily accessible language and easily learnable stages." (Nathaniel Branden, author of The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem and A Woman's Self-Esteem)
"Parents Do Make a Difference is able to address the core issues of parenting. Cross-culturally, Dr. Michele Borba has brought valuable insights to teaching professionals. Her parenting ideas have also been widely adopted by parent educators in Hong Kong." (Ivan Yiu, assistant community services secretary for children & youth, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, Hong Kong)
"Every child arrives in life with a birthright to healthy self-esteem and to be welcomed, nurtured, and inspired by parents who abide by the practices Michele Borba recommAnds in this book. Applying these principles would quickly help the world become a much healthier and happier place." (Senator John Vasconcellos, 13th District, California State Senate)
"Finally, a 'cookbook' for parents and educators on how to raise successful kids. My seminar attAndees have asked me for years, 'Wouldn't it be terrific if children could be exposed to these principles of self-esteem?' Michele, you've done it. The world needs your recipes for success-what a difference they'll make in our kids' futures!" (Bob Moawad, chairman/CEO, Edge Learning Institute, and past president, National Association for Self-Esteem)
"Michele Borba has done it again - she's written another must-have, must-read book! Parents of grown children will ask, 'Why didn't they have this when my kids were younger?' and then buy it for their grown kids so the grandkids will be raised sensibly. I highly recommAnd this book to anyone who cares about kids." (Hanoch McCarty, coeditor of A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul® and coauthor of Acts of Kindness)
"This book is loaded with practical, proven ideas for teachers and parents to use in their efforts to be the best influence they can be. Children of all ages will be helped to develop skills they need to be their personal best in the new millennium." (Dorothy Rouse, board member and former teacher, Los Gatos Union School District Los Gatos, California)
"By applying the strategies from Parents Do Make A Difference I experienced such stunning success with a severely disturbed foster child that it caused an astonished juvenile court judge to label her transformation "miraculous." He even lead his courtroom in a round of applause for her success and credited her rehabilitation to Dr. Borba's techniques. One could only imagine how using these techniques could profoundly impact the lives of all children." (Dawn Hamill, foster child advocate)
"As one who works with foster children, I consistently look to Michele Borba for her expertise, insightful guidance, and sound advice. I personally have seen miracles occur in the lives of foster children who have been touched by the skills detailed in Parents Do Make A Difference. Because of this book, foster children's lives are being changed - more importantly, their lives are being saved." (Madelene Hunter, recipient of the California Foster Parent's Association's President's Award; founder, Madelene Hunter Foundation Serving Foster Children, San Diego)
"I strong Andorse Michele Borba's new book, Parents Do Make a Difference. Grounded in solid research, her message has the potential to truly help parents help their children be more successful in school and in life." (Richard Herzberg, executive director, Bureau of Education & Research)
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Definitely worth the money & time spent reading it & putting it into practice. Does what it says on the cover!
The aims of each chapter are clearly established, the problem and ideas through which to deal with the problem are easy to locate and ideas for resources abundant. If a parent is looking to work with the school to deal with child rearing issues, this book provides ways forward that any teacher would welcome a parent bringing to their attention.
I only regret this book came to my attention when both children and grandchildren are too old for its wisdom to help sort out the odd behavioural crisis that arose from time to time throughout their life's journey!