Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Summer Reading. . . For PARENTS! by Mikey Keating Smith, M. Ed

On the last day of school, the one item in many kids’ backpacks is the dreaded summer homework packet. More and more schools are hoping to fight summer slide by assigning kids reading and math work over the summer, and usually several books to be read. What about parents, though? What better way to encourage our kids to be lifelong learners than by setting a positive example by taking on some summer reading ourselves?

Since summer tends to be a bit less stressful than the jam-packed school year, it’s a great time to pick up a new book. You can take one on vacation, suggest one for your book club, or, even better, read one as a family. This summer, though, how about making that book one that can help you better understand your child and the world he or she inhabits? There are hundreds of books on parenting and adolescents, but because everyone’s time is precious, below is a sampling of well-reviewed books on a variety of topics. Hopefully one will make your summer reading list!


The Five Love Languages of Teens, by Gary Chapman (also available: The Five Love Languages of Children, by the same author) Description from

Socially, mentally, and spiritually, teenagers face a variety of pressures and stresses each day. Despite these peer pressures, it is still parents who can influence teens the most. Get equipped to be a better parent as The Five Love Languages of Teenagers explores the world in which teenagers live, explains the developmental changes, and gives tools to help you identify and appropriately communicate in your teen's love language.

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (Description from

This bestselling classic includes fresh insights and suggestions as well as the authors' time-tested methods to solve common problems and build foundations for lasting relationships, including innovative ways to cope with your child's negative feelings, such as frustration, anger, and disappointment; express your strong feelings without being hurtful; engage your child's willing cooperation; set firm limits and maintain goodwill; use alternatives to punishment that promote self-discipline; understand the difference between helpful and unhelpful praise; and resolve family conflicts peacefully.


Mindset, by Carol Dweck  (Description from

Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success–but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals–personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.

NurtureShock, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman (Description from

One of the most influential books about children ever published, Nurture Shock offers a revolutionary new perspective on children that upends a library's worth of conventional wisdom. With impeccable storytelling and razor-sharp analysis, the authors demonstrate that many of modern society's strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring--because key twists in the science have been overlooked. Nothing like a parenting manual, NurtureShock gets to the core of how we grow, learn and live.

Social Media & Technology

The Parents Guide to Texting, Facebook, and Social Media, by Shawn Marie Edgington

Today's youth are falling victim to the perils of social and mobile networking at an alarming rate. Textual harassment, cyberbullying, sexting, and online predators have become national epidemics. According to recent studies, about half of young people have experienced some form of online harassment. The Parent's Guide provides awareness, solutions, and preventative resources to keep your children safe and secure online

Talking Back to Facebook: The Common Sense Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age, by James P. Steyer

Now, more than ever, parents need help in navigating their kids’ online, media-saturated lives. In this essential book, Steyer—a frequent commentator on national TV and radio— offers an engaging blend of straightforward advice and anecdotes that address what he calls RAP, the major pitfalls relating to kids’ use of media and technology: relationship issues, attention/addiction problems, and the lack of privacy. Instead of shielding children completely from online images and messages, Steyer’s practical approach gives parents essential tools to help filter content, preserve good relationships with their children, and make common sense, value-driven judgments for kids of all ages.

Other Cultures

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua  (Description from

All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua's iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, her way-the Chinese way-and the remarkable results her choice inspires.

Bringing up Bebe, by Pamela Druckerman  (Description from

When American journalist Pamela Druckerman has a baby in Paris, she doesn't aspire to become a "French parent." French parenting isn't a known thing, like French fashion or French cheese. Even French parents themselves insist they aren't doing anything special. With a notebook stashed in her diaper bag, Druckerman-a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal-sets out to learn the secrets to raising a society of good little sleepers, gourmet eaters, and reasonably relaxed parents. She discovers that French parents are extremely strict about some things and strikingly permissive about others. And she realizes that to be a different kind of parent, you don't just need a different parenting philosophy. You need a very different view of what a child actually is.

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