A blueprint for teaching responsible habits to young kids.
Debut author Delman’s opening assertion in this bracing book is solidly optimistic: “Scratch beneath the surface of kids who seem lazy, oppositional, or bored, and you’ll usually see young people with opinions, drive, and skills.” Throughout these quick, informative chapters, Delman, the CEO of student coaching company Beyond BookSmart, gives his target audience of parents practical and thematic advice on how to implement less coercive and more cooperative parenting methods. Many of these revolve around encouraging “Executive Functioning” skills, which involve long-term planning and perspective—essential components to future success and happiness. The skills specifically center on controlling impulses, doing unpleasant but necessary tasks, setting priorities, staying mentally flexible, and, especially, focusing one’s attention effectively. The book is cleareyed about the fact that young people can struggle in an age in which technology allows so many things to compete for their attention. The book’s style is concise and upbeat, even when it’s addressing issues such as boredom, recalcitrance, and defiance. Along the way, it provides parents with many different approaches to these and other age-old problems—and it offers many prompts for parents to check themselves along the way. Many of the author’s approaches are eye-openingly simple. In a discussion about setting goals, for example, Delman argues convincingly for ditching vague generalities (“be a better student”) in favor of doable specifics (“improve my English grade this quarter”). The book’s lack of condescension and fault-finding is also a revelation.
An insightful and fresh approach to parenting.