Monday, October 1

Parenting Made Practical {Review}

This review was originally published March 2018 on our Gypsy Road site.

The award winning book, Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think, is a helpful book for parents at all stages. It's a call to stop reminding, threatening, and lecturing our kids, and it helps parents learn how to get them to start thinking and take ownership of their responsibilities and behaviors. It's available in both book format and on DVD.

Carla and Joey run a company called Parenting Made Practical, where they also offer materials such as Getting Your Child to Behave and Dating, Courting, and Choosing a Mate...What Works? Their materials span all ages of children and are appropriate for any parent.

We received a copy of both the book and DVD for Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think. I'm more of a book reader, and read the book first before watching the DVD. The DVD was pretty much the exact same information that is in the book, so I would recommend that you choose whichever format you are most comfortable with, and use it for getting the information.

The gist of the book and DVD is that we should be raising responsible children…rather than entitled ones…and we have to make a concentrated effort to do so. If your children complain and do not obey, this book will help you with some practical advice for changing that. If you have young children without any issues yet…that’s wonderful! But they’re not teens yet…and it’s worth checking out the book for its many practical applications in the world of raising teenagers.

The book isn’t that long; and if you aren’t into reading, the DVD is less than an hour long. They give practical tips on how to stay away from lecturing too much. It’s a good manual for parenting - full of wisdom and practical solutions.

One thing that surprised me was their definition of ‘lecturing.’ I had no idea that I lecture my kids so much! So what are some ways that parents stop their kids from thinking?

  • Reminders 
  • Lectures 
  • Anger 
  • Busyness 
Do you recognize any of these in your home? Sometimes, we get so caught up in making sure that everything is done, and done ‘just so,’ that we forget we’re training the next generation and they need to be just as capable. The authors suggest that by stepping back and retraining our children, we will actually free up more time and make sure that everything gets done AND end up with children who are both capable and responsible for their actions.

The DVD takes the information from the book and presents it in a slightly more entertaining way.  It appears to have been filmed at a homeschool or parenting convention, as it is done on a small stage with an audience.  The presenters' children participate, and there are several reenactments of lecturing scenes, followed up with "how could that be handled better?" scenarios.

One of the items that I found interesting within the book was the parental transitioning for tweens and teens. This is something that our family, as homeschoolers, needs to work on. I’ve joked that my kids are going to need an alarm clock that sounds like me knocking on the door…but really, it’s not funny. Nothing wakes those boys up except for me knocking on their doors in the morning…and why? Because I trained them that way. It’s my fault, and now I’m going to have to do the hard work of retraining them to an alarm clock…unless I plan to follow them to college. (Nope. Already done my campus time….) 

Other points that the authors make are :
  • It’s never too late to implement these strategies. As with anything….it will be easier if you start when the children are young, but if you’re willing to commit to the work, it can be done with older teens, too. 
  • We must also be willing to acknowledge that our kids aren’t angels…not just out loud / when we’re joking, but deep within our hearts. We want to believe in the best of our children, but need to acknowledge (and work with) both the good and bad points.
Finally, I appreciated the practical question and answer part of the book.  This is where we typically ask our teen, "What were you thinking?" and he responds with, "I don't know."  (Although, I'm here to tell you that I really don't think he knows what he was thinking most of the time....or if his brain was engaged at all.)  
Some questions to start a conversation with your child include :
  • Why did you do that?
  • What were you thinking when you decided to do that?
  • Did you feel guilty for not doing what I asked (this helps to determine the heart factor)?
  • What can you do instead the next time you are tempted in the same way?
Remember how successful Sheldon was at training Penny in the Big Bang Theory?  He didn't lecture her or remind her or get angry or anything.....of course, he did resort to a sort of bribery (through operant conditioning's positive reinforcement).....I'm not sure the authors would approve.  😉

Find out what others are saying about Parenting Made Practical over at the Homeschool Review Crew!
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