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Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success Hardcover – July 24, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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  • Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success
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Editorial Reviews


“Levine really comes into her own . . . when she moves beyond child development to concentrate instead on parent development, exploring why we do the misguided things we do, and asking how we must (as we must) change ourselves and behave differently.” (Judith Warner, New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice))

“Here’s one potentially bright and shiny opportunity for optimism (at least if you take her advice) thanks to one busy and one hope’s wise clinical psychologist. . . . Her insights are fresh . . . look no further for your Beach Book, here it is!” (Psychology Today)

“Powerful text. . . . Parents who want their kids to succeed without compromising their health or losing the joy of learning will be buoyed by Levine’s support, encouragement, and guidance.” (Publishers Weekly)

“An excellent new book.” (Forbes)

“Levine, author of The Price of Privilege, offers practical tips for helping kids relax, cope with the very real demands of adolescence and mature into healthy adults.” (San Jose Mercury News)

“Practical advice for raising well-rounded and successful children. . . . A rethinking of the term ‘success’ provides new insight on how to raise today’s youth.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A modern guide for the perplexed! First Levine captures a culture which puts competition and social status ahead of character. Then, with a gentle, firm remarkably clear head, she tells parents precisely what to do to bring good sense and respect for children back to parenting.” (Wendy Mogel, PhD, author of The Blessing of a B Minus and The Blessing of a Skinned Knee)

“A fantastic, on-point, desperately needed book! If you have children or care about children or care about the future of this country and the world, read this book.” (Dr. Ned Hallowell, author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness)

“Madeline Levine’s voice is a welcome antidote to the Tiger-Momming of America. [Teach Your Children Well] is packed with smart and savvy advice for raising independent, productive, and well-adjusted young people. Read this book—your kids will thank you.” (Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind)

“With keen insight and telling examples, Levine offers suggestions for adopting a more balanced idea of success that requires changing deeply ingrained habits but is well worth the effort.” (David Elkind, PhD, author of The Hurried Child)

“For the sake of the adults of tomorrow, I hope that Teach Your Children Well becomes a must-read and must-discuss book for parents today.” (Kenneth R. Ginsburg MD, MS Ed, author of Letting Go with Love and Confidence and Building Resilience in Children and Teens)

From the Back Cover

Psychologist Madeline Levine brings together cutting-edge research and thirty years of clinical experience to explode once and for all the myth that good grades, high test scores, and college acceptances should define the parenting endgame.

Parents, educators, and the media wring their hands about the plight of America's children and teens—soaring rates of emotional problems, limited coping skills, disengagement from learning and yet there are ways to reverse these disheartening trends. Teach Your Children Well acknowledges that every parent wants successful children. However, until we are clearer about our core values and the parenting choices that are most likely to lead to authentic, and not superficial, success, we will continue to raise exhausted, externally driven, impaired children who believe they are only as good as their last performance. Real success is always an inside job, argues Levine, and is measured not by today's report card but by the people our children become fifteen or twenty years down the line.

Refusing to be diverted by manufactured controversies such as "tiger moms versus coddling moms," Levine confronts the real issues behind the way we push some of our kids to the breaking point while dismissing the talents and interests of many others. She shows us how to shift our focus from the excesses of hyperparenting and the unhealthy reliance on our children for status and meaning to a parenting style that concentrates on both enabling academic success as well as developing a sense of purpose, well-being, connection, and meaning in our children's lives.

Teach Your Children Well is a call to action. And while it takes courage to make the changes we believe in, the time has come, says Levine, to return our overwrought families to a healthier and saner version of themselves.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (July 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061824747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061824746
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are three major ideas from this book that I really liked-
1. Focus on what you're doing right rather than what is wrong.
2. We need to have a more complete picture of what success is.
3. Parents should focus on life skills more.

I agree with all of those things. As a mom with 4 teens at home, I am very interested in preparing them for the world in ways that help them be successful.

That said, to me, the author seems completely unaware of her own privilege. My kids have grown up on a farm and have had jobs since they were 11-13. My experience is so disconnected for the picture she was painting that I just cannot relate. She presupposes that her experience is representative. Not only is it not representative, it isn't even related.

I also disagree with her advice on sex. The idea that kids are going to have sex and we should just accept that is bothersome to me. I understand that some teens have sex. I have realistic discussions with my kids about birth control, stds, pregnancies, and heartache. But I do think that helping kids postpone premature sexual activity is a worthy goal. We should not just assume it's inevitable.

So basically, this is a decent child rearing guide for upper middle class parents of suburban kids who are growing up without some very basic life experiences. That sounds like I am dismissive or critical. I am neither. But the truth is that the children this book is about are very well protected from reality. They truly do need someone to teach them values, instill a sense of purpose and prepare them for life.

Otherwise they'll all become politicians and investment bankers.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have four kids, so I read a lot of parenting books. I had heard of Dr. Levine's, "The Price of Privilege," but had not read it...so I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I feel so lucky to have read it. There is so much great information here. In reality, it's like four parenting books in one.

I really loved this quote from the book, "While we all hope our children will do well in school, we hope with even greater fervor that they will do well in life. Our job is to help them to know and appreciate themselves deeply; to aproach the world with zest; to find work that is exciting and satisfying, friends and spouses who are loving and loyal; and to hold a deep belief that they have something meaningful to contribute to society. That is what it means to teach our children well."

The thing is, our society/culture is not set up for that. RIght now, we're all focused on grades and money. Most schools only reward those who excell in athletics or English and math--we forget about all the other areas where kids (and people can excell). Parents care that kids get into a "good" school more than they care about whether or not that college is a good fit for their kids. Kids are over-programmed and denied play (especially unstructured), art, and music. We're doomed for failure if we continue this way.

I loved so much about this book. It was a wake up call. One nice aspect missing in many parenting books is that Dr. Levine isn't just focused on young kids, she breaks the book down into early elementary, middle school, and high school--and tallks about what kids need at each stage. The last part of the book is focused on seven essential skills kids need to develop to thrive. She includes real concrete ideas on how to teach your kids these skills too.

Can't say enough good things about this book. Filled with real-life examples, too. Excellent.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a mom of four kids, I am a junkie for books on child development. Even though I've read a variety of books on this topic, this book still offered new gems of insight. I felt it really shined in its explanations of developmentally appropriate behavior. For example, my son, a recent 1st grade graduate told me he was "really good" at reading and math. He is good at math, but definitely not exceptional at reading. This book explained that before age 8, kids often do not compare their abilities against their classmates, thus have a high view of their competencies. I was interested to read the research showing the impact involved dads have in their kids' lives and dog eared these pages to share with my husband. These are just a couple of useful bits of info I learned from this book.

Child development (part two of this book) is divided into three sections - Elementary Years, Middle School Years and High School Years. I found all three sections helpful, even though my oldest is only 7. (If you are of an "abstinence-only" mindset you may find her attitude about sex a little cavalier.) There is much to glean from all three of these chapters.

This book isn't a bunch of ivory tower research. Part Three of the book contains practical tips for creating resilience in children. Part Four is about "becoming the parents we want to be." Both sections give ways to apply what you've just read in your day-to-day life.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was easy to read and practical.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I will be giving EVERY parent and teacher I know a copy of this book! Dr. Levine starts by talking about how we as a society (and as parents today) tend to view success for our children-good grades, Ivy League schools, LOTS of activities and sports. She explains that although it's not necessarily a a bad thing to push our children, we need to adjust our perception of success so we don't create either self-centered, emotionally stunted kids, or the reverse, children who feel so over pressured they shut down and become complete "failures" in our view.

The book is broken up into 4 sections:
1) Authentic Success: It's not about bleeding hearts vs. tiger moms
2) The "School Years" are not just about academics:A Primer on child development
3)The Resilience Factor: Seven Essential coping skills
4)Walking the Talk

Each of the sections addresses an important part of her belief that parenting is not about raising the "Best" kid in society's eyes, but raising kids who can and do make the best decisions for who they are and who they think they may want to become.

As a parent of small children (1 year old and 3 years old) I am so glad I read this book now. There is an entire section that encourages parents to hone-in on the beliefs they want to raise their children with and how to go about instilling these morals in a meaningful way instead of a forceful "Because I said so" way. That being said, this book really is more for parents of school aged children, so if you have young kids, it's great to read, but when they start school, you'll want to read it again to refresh!

Overall, I love the idea that we as parents need to stop, step back, and look at what is best for our kids emotional, spiritual, and social well being and stop pressuring them to be what society says is the "Best"!
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