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Parking Lot Rules & 75 Other Ideas for Raising Amazing Children Hardcover – May 6, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“A well-written, entertaining, and supremely practical guide to leading our kids into adulthood safely and strongly. Even as a so-called parenting expert, I found myself surprised by Sturges’s creative solutions and strongly motivated to put them into place in my own home.”
--Hal Runkel, family therapist and author of ScreamFree Parenting

"Packed with practical insights, wisdom and fun, Parking Lot Rules hits the bull's eye when it comes to helping our children. Every parent must read it."
--Meg Meeker, M.D., author of Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

"Tom Sturges has gotten the recipe for parenting just right: five parts love, three parts struggle, two parts humor and a dollop of wisdom. His suggestions for a wide variety of parenting problems are practical and funny. I wish I'd read these rules (especially "Almost Always Skip the First Thing That Comes to Mind") before I'd raised my two children."
--Michael Thompson, Ph.D., co-author of Raising Cain

About the Author

Tom Sturges is a mentor, teacher, coach, and volunteer, and the father of two sons, now ages ten and sixteen. He is Executive Vice President and Head of Creative for Universal Music Publishing Group.

Many of the ideas in Parking Lot Rules were nuanced and matured while he mentored a group of 32 at-risk children at a South Central Los Angeles public school. He received commendations from several civic and national leaders for these years of volunteerism and this story will be told in the forthcoming documentary, Witness To A Dream.

Tom also created a learning program that develops creativity in children via the writing of lyrics, melodies and recording the finished songs. Every Idea Is A Good Idea has been an integral element of the MBUSD Gate Program for five of the last six years, reaching more than 360 students. Tom also teaches The Music Business Now at UCLA Extension, a course central to the UCLA-E Music Business Certificate Program.

Sturges, who lives in Manhattan Beach, California, is a golfer, and an inventor and the son of legendary writer & director Preston Sturges. He is also the President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Academy Of Recording Arts & Sciences.

Parking Lot Rules & 75 Other Ideas For Raising Amazing Children is his first book.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (May 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345503732
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345503732
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,474,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Julie Neal VINE VOICE on June 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This helpful book has loads of specific parenting tips from a dad that obviously cares for his kids.

There are 76 ideas here, each one quite practical and easy to implement. For example, #7 is Almost Always Skip the First Thing That Comes to Mind. Hey, I could use that with my husband! Another Post-it-worthy one is #45: Your Child Has to Know Where You Are. How many of us forget that? I know I do. I almost always know where my daughter is, but she often has to track me down.

Each rule covers a couple of pages, and includes an example or two taken from real life. If you're like me, you'll find yourself using the ideas right away.

One quibble: The book has a whiff of cheapness, especially given that it's from a major publisher. The few photos are horribly reproduced black and white images that look Xeroxed.

Here's the chapter list:

1. Every Day: Ways to keep your children safe, healthy, respected and cherished, every day
2. Communicating With Your Children
3. Manners Matter
4. No Lost Children
5. Disciplines and Punishments
6. Pain Happens, Now What?
7. Play Sports, Period
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Format: Hardcover
As a soon-to-be first time parent, I bought this book based on a reprint of one of the rules within BestLife Magazine. The book offers some useful parenting advice and tips- such as the 'Parking Lot Rule' but some of the other rules seem too protective of the child. While it may simply be a difference in parenting styles, some of the rules make it seem that children should be treated as delicate objects and suggest isolating them from ANY type of outside harm (emotional, physical, etc.) .

For example, one of the rules had to do with dealing with the child being in a embarrassing situation- such as toilet paper on the shoe, or a open pants zipper. Tom Sturges suggests that you should ask the child "If your zipper was down would you want me to tell you?" as a way to alert them to the situation without directly addressing it. I understand that you probably wouldn't want to point and laugh at your child in front of a crowd- but I also don't see the harm of pulling the child aside and whispering "Hey, your zipper is down" or using humor to diffuse the situation.

Other than a few of these overly cautious rules, the rest of the book offers useful tidbits and rules that I'm hoping to use as a parent.
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Format: Hardcover
I have three children, ages 9, 7, and 5. I think this is a great little book, full of some very practical and usable advice. But I felt that some of it went overboard into protecting children too much.

For instance, #20 is "yes, it's okay to go off-topic." The author says that if your child doesn't want to listen to what you have to say, they can ask to go off-topic as long as they ask politely. The book advises "For whatever reason, you did not keep your daughter interested. You did not keep your customer satisfied." Well, I think that kids need to learn to pay attention when they don't feel like it sometimes.

#17 (The importance of children telling stories and the significance of listening to them) talks about listening attentively to your children's stories. "You must show incredible patience when listening to your daughter's stories. You must be interested throughout the telling and surprised by the depth of knowledge she has to share." Later it says that "interrupting a child's storytelling may disrupt some tender wiring, and introduce the possibility of speech and learning difficulties later in her life." Really? I think pretty much every typical child's storytelling is interrupted at times so that the parent can tend to something urgent, and I am not aware of any research showing that it results in some kind of future disability!

So all in all I feel this is a good read and has some pearls of wisdom for every parent. I just feel like it doesn't give kids enough credit and that you'd be selling them short by following all of these as written.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great simple "rules" with direct reasoning for them. Not only did I learn a few useful ways to deal with scenarios that arise in parenting but I also got affirmation for the different ways I've been raising my daughters the way that I do. The author was able to articulate reasons for me & my outlook on what is important as a parent and what matters most that I haven't been able to put words to before.
I bought this book for my husband who has found himself a step-father, helping to raise children who are already off and running at 10 & 13 years old. He hasn't had the time or experience to grow into parenthood & after having read this book myself years ago, I knew it would be the perfect book for him to not only get his mindset on the parenting track but also to use as a reference in years to come. I still reference my copy after a number of years as my daughters have grown & are having experiences that are referenced in the book that weren't applicable to them when I first read it. Can't say enough about this book
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently purchased this book based on a article that was written in "Best Life" magazine. The article had several excerpts from the book that I found to be simple and obvious, but profound at the same time. Mr. Sturges has a great perspective on dealing with children, one that I think many of us lose sight of as we get older and perhaps more jaded about everything; life, kids, work, spouse...
This book will remind you of how to be a great parent to your children, the parent you envisioned yourself being before he or she was born.
If that isn't enough, Mr. Sturges's ideas are easily utilized in dealing with everyone around you; the book gives simple lessons on how to be a better parent, but these lessons easily translate into being a better person toward everyone around you.
Highly recommended, easy reading, easy to remember lessons, enjoy...
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