Pierce’s guide for teaching parents how to manage their own and their children’s daily distractions.
Founder and president of the Southwest Family Guidance Center and Institute, Pierce encourages parents to reconsider how to manage the interruptions of smartphones and computers in an effort to form healthier and happier relationships with their children. The author coined the term “Attunetion”—a combination of “paying attention” and “tuning in”—and throughout the book, he encourages parents to do both. “[N]o one knows your kids and what they need better than you do,” he says. Pierce offers solutions to day-to-day problems that most parents encounter—from finding more time to give children focused and sincere attention to the impact on families of technological distractions like social media. As part of this solution-based approach, Pierce emphasizes the importance of developing empathy for a child’s emotional health. In order for a child to feel compassion, the author believes, he or she needs to be treated with compassion. The wide-ranging guide comprises 12 chapters, including “Raising Perfect Kids? Careful What You Wish For,” which discusses the benefit of allowing your child some autonomy; “Maxed Out Minds: The Impact of Technology on Growing Kids”; and “When ‘Good’ Kids Behave Badly.” Pierce understands the significance that technology plays in the lives of children growing up today but wants parents to understand that “[w]hatever rules you make for your family, the goal is to teach kids how to master technology without it mastering them.” Pierce believes that giving a child more attention can be something that helps the entire family. His suggestions are straightforward—don’t text while your child is talking to you, for example, and make time to spend with your teenagers rather than expecting them to schedule you into their routine—but that’s what makes them so helpful and manageable. One of the book’s main strengths is that Pierce acknowledges, without judgment or condemnation, the many distractions that both parents and kids face in this modern technological age. The author doesn’t point fingers or belittle the reader but rather offers encouragement and support.
Reminds parents that much of their power and influence resides in listening and paying attention.