Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Review : Raising Kids to Thrive: Balancing Love With Expectations and Protection With Trust

In his latest book --  Raising Kids to Thrive: Balancing Love With Expectations and Protection With Trust (American Academy of Pediatrics, March 24, 2015) -- best-selling author, pediatrician and resilience expert, Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MS Ed, FAAP, offers essential tips on fostering resilience in teens.  He gently helps parents understand how they can meet the challenge to balance unconditional love, yet still hold high expectations for their children.  Through his Lighthouse Parenting Strategy, he also helps parents recognize when to set boundaries and when to get out of kids ways.
This groundbreaking book includes two chapters written by Dr. Ginsburgs twin teenage daughters, and interweaves opinions and input of over 500 adolescents who participated in the Youth View chapters.  By combining the wealth of experience from Dr. Ginsburg and insightful commentary from todays teenagers, Raising Kids to Thrive offers a fresh take on how to successfully parent teens in todays complicated world.
Raising Kids to Thrive will help parents to raise kids who thrive for lifetime by:
         Balancing unconditional love with high expectations.
         Eliminate the need for helicopter or tiger parenting.
         Start meaningful conversations with their children by being a sounding board, not necessarily a dictator.
         Become a stable beacon so their children can turn to them for guidance and self-measurement.
         Understand and accept that people are uneven and the importance of expecting growth, not perfection from children.
         Reduce anxiety for themselves and their kids as they venture out on their own and move into adulthood.
         Holding our kids to high moral standards, while also being a role model for those standards.

Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MS Ed, FAAP, is a professor of pediatrics at the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and director of health services at Covenant House Pennsylvania. He is the author of the best-selling Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings (AAP currently in its 3rd Edition, October 2014) and coauthor of Less Stress, More Success: A New Approach to Guiding Your Teen Through College Admissions and Beyond (AAP). 

Available at bookstores nationwide and online; also available from, the award-winning AAP Web site for parents.

My Thoughts
Raising Kids to Thrive: Balancing Love With Expectations and Protection With Trust is a quick read filled with excellent child rearing advice. As a mother of four children, two of which are teens, I sometimes struggle with deciding when I should give my kids more freedom. My oldest is fourteen now, and she wants to go out with friends. I trust her, but I don't trust other people, and I know I can get overprotective at times. I know from my own personal experience growing up, that being too sheltered can cause more harm than good. When I left for college, I overwhelmed and terrified by the real world. I don't want my daughter to face those same issues.  This book teaches parents how to find a balance between protection and trust.

The book  also talks about expectations.  As parents, we want what's best for our children, but there is a line. We can't live through our children or push them to do the things we wish we had done.  The first half of the book teaches you to temper your expectations. Learn to look closely at what your child needs. They may not be a straight A student, and that's okay as long as they are doing their best. They may not be the captain of the football team. They may not even want to play sports at all. But that's okay too. Forcing what you want on your kids makes it hard for them to find themselves. This book will help teach you how to accept your children for who they are, and love them even more for it. It also teaches us not to be too hard on them. If they make a mistake, show them love instead of discipline, and you will get a much better response.

I learned so much from this book about how to get the right messages to my children. I already knew most of the things they were telling me, but the book taught me new approaches, so that I know I'm getting my message across the right way. Already, I feel my relationship with my teens has improved, and I know this book has a lot to do with that. I would recommend this book to parents of kids of all ages. Even if your kids are younger, this book will help lay the foundations of a healthy relationship as they get older and start looking to spread their wings.


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