Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success

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Overview

Psychologist Madeline Levine brings together cutting-edge research and thirty years of clinical experience to explode once and for all the myth that good grades, high test scores, and college acceptances should define the parenting endgame.

Parents, educators, and the media wring their hands about the plight of America's children and teens—soaring rates of emotional problems, limited coping skills, disengagement from learning and yet there are ways to reverse these disheartening...

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Overview

Psychologist Madeline Levine brings together cutting-edge research and thirty years of clinical experience to explode once and for all the myth that good grades, high test scores, and college acceptances should define the parenting endgame.

Parents, educators, and the media wring their hands about the plight of America's children and teens—soaring rates of emotional problems, limited coping skills, disengagement from learning and yet there are ways to reverse these disheartening trends. Teach Your Children Well acknowledges that every parent wants successful children. However, until we are clearer about our core values and the parenting choices that are most likely to lead to authentic, and not superficial, success, we will continue to raise exhausted, externally driven, impaired children who believe they are only as good as their last performance. Real success is always an inside job, argues Levine, and is measured not by today's report card but by the people our children become fifteen or twenty years down the line.

Refusing to be diverted by manufactured controversies such as "tiger moms versus coddling moms," Levine confronts the real issues behind the way we push some of our kids to the breaking point while dismissing the talents and interests of many others. She shows us how to shift our focus from the excesses of hyperparenting and the unhealthy reliance on our children for status and meaning to a parenting style that concentrates on both enabling academic success as well as developing a sense of purpose, well-being, connection, and meaning in our children's lives.

Teach Your Children Well is a call to action. And while it takes courage to make the changes we believe in, the time has come, says Levine, to return our overwrought families to a healthier and saner version of themselves.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

For thirty years, clinical psychologist and educator Madeline Levine has been hearing the same parental complaint: "We've tried to help our children in every way, but that just seems to make them unhappier and more stressed out." From hard-won experience and cutting-edge research, Dr. Levine knows that good child-raising means more than facilitating standout grades, high test scores, and acceptances from prestigious colleges. In this ever so timely book, the author of The Price of Privilege describes how straightjacket conceptions of success are undermining the talents, happiness, and wellbeing of our children. A thoughtful, impassioned call for awakening the skills most essential in the 21st century: creativity, collaboration, and innovation.

Publishers Weekly
In this powerful text, psychologist Levine (The Price of Privilege) argues that “our version of success is a failure.” Levine reports that our nation’s ideas of success have led to children and teens who are stressed, anxious, depressed, and exhausted (as are many parents). Kids are on a fast track to higher grades and impressive tests scores, prestigious colleges, and relentless competition—goals that are wearing everyone out—rather than focusing on such skills as resilience, creativity, innovative thinking, and the ability to collaborate. While academics are important, Levine maintains, growing up to become authentically successful involves making friends, playing, developing a sense of self and emotional intelligence, and many other nonacademic tasks. In separate chapters, the author takes readers through the stages of child development that occur in elementary, middle school, and high school, and includes practical tips on how parents can help kids flourish during each phase. According to Levine, our society is at a “tipping point,” and it’s time to redefine success so that kids can meet their full potential in academic and other areas without relinquishing their well-being. The text also includes various examples that illustrate the ways in which kids and parents are struggling with our “dysfunctional system.” Though bucking the trend may be a challenge, parents who want their kids to succeed without compromising their health or losing the joy of learning will be buoyed by Levine’s support, encouragement, and guidance. (Aug.)
Forbes
“An excellent new book.”
Psychology Today
“Here’s one potentially bright and shiny opportunity for optimism (at least if you take her advice) thanks to one busy and one hope’s wise clinical psychologist. . . . Her insights are fresh . . . look no further for your Beach Book, here it is!”
San Jose Mercury News
“Levine, author of The Price of Privilege, offers practical tips for helping kids relax, cope with the very real demands of adolescence and mature into healthy adults.”
Judith Warner
“Levine really comes into her own . . . when she moves beyond child development to concentrate instead on parent development, exploring why we do the misguided things we do, and asking how we must (as we must) change ourselves and behave differently.”
Dr. Ned Hallowell
“A fantastic, on-point, desperately needed book! If you have children or care about children or care about the future of this country and the world, read this book.”
Daniel H. Pink
“Madeline Levine’s voice is a welcome antidote to the Tiger-Momming of America. [Teach Your Children Well] is packed with smart and savvy advice for raising independent, productive, and well-adjusted young people. Read this book—your kids will thank you.”
David Elkind
“With keen insight and telling examples, Levine offers suggestions for adopting a more balanced idea of success that requires changing deeply ingrained habits but is well worth the effort.”
Kenneth R. Ginsburg MD
“For the sake of the adults of tomorrow, I hope that Teach Your Children Well becomes a must-read and must-discuss book for parents today.”
Wendy Mogel
“A modern guide for the perplexed! First Levine captures a culture which puts competition and social status ahead of character. Then, with a gentle, firm remarkably clear head, she tells parents precisely what to do to bring good sense and respect for children back to parenting.”
Doctor - Ned Hallowell
"A fantastic, on-point, desperately needed book! If you have children or care about children or care about the future of this country and the world, read this book."
MD - Kenneth R. Ginsburg
"For the sake of the adults of tomorrow, I hope that Teach Your Children Well becomes a must-read and must-discuss book for parents today."
Kirkus Reviews
Practical advice for raising well-rounded and successful children. Psychologist, author and co-founder of Challenge Success, Levine (The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids, 2006, etc.) draws on 30 years of counseling experience and current research to debunk contemporary thoughts on raising children. Beginning in preschool, parents and teachers push their students to obtain good grades and high SAT scores and participate in numerous extracurricular activities, with the end goal of attending a prestigious college. While these are still worthwhile endeavors, Levine offers readers hands-on solutions to "optimize conditions so that a far greater number of children can actually be successful without the accompanying high levels of distress that have become so prevalent." Today, there is too much emphasis on driving children toward an often unrealistic and narrow definition of achievement, creating a generation of young adults at "high risk for emotional, psychological, and academic problems." Through the use of scenarios from her own experience of raising three sons, as well as instances from her clinical practice, Levine provides examples of common situations encountered while raising children and suggests new solutions to handle these situations. The author's approach includes unconditional love, empathy, stimulating challenges, a safe environment that encourages curiosity, and discipline when necessary. With these tools, Levine believes all children are capable of leading "satisfying, meaningful, and authentically successful lives" without the accompanying stress, panic and exhaustion commonly seen in adolescents. A rethinking of the term "success" provides new insight on how to raise today's youth.
The New York Times Book Review
…a cri de coeur from a clinician on the front lines of the battle between our better natures—parents' deep and true love and concern for their kids—and our culture's worst competitive and materialistic influences…Levine has good, if familiar, lessons for parents about the virtues of teaching empathy; encouraging the development of an authentic self; and making time for dreaming, creating and unstructured outdoor play. But she really comes into her own…when she moves beyond child development to concentrate instead on parent development, exploring why we do the misguided things we do, and asking how we might (as we must) change ourselves and behave differently.
—Judith Warner
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061824746
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/24/2012
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 230,458
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Madeline Levine, PhD, is a clinician, consultant, and educator; the author of the New York Times bestseller The Price of Privilege; and a cofounder of Challenge Success, a project of the Stanford School of Education that addresses education reform, student well-being,and parent education. She lives outside San Francisco with her husband and is the proud mother of three newly minted adult sons.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Courageous Parenting-Taking the Long View xiii

Part 1 Authentic Success: It's Not About Bleeding Hearts Versus Tiger Moms 1

Chapter 1 The Kids Are Not Alright (and Neither Are Their Parents) 3

Chapter 2 How Did We Get into This Mess? 23

Part 2 The "School Years" are Not Just About Academics: A Primer on Child Development 43

Chapter 3 The Tasks of the Elementary School Years: Ages 5-11 45

Learning How to Make Friends and Be a Friend 49

Becoming Competent and Excited About Learning 59

Developing a Sense of Self: Who Am I? 69

Becoming an Empathic Person 73

Remembering to Play 79

General Recommendations for Parenting Your Elementary School Age Child 84

Chapter 4 The Tasks of the Middle School Years: Ages 11-14 89

Navigating Puberty 93

Staying Healthy 103

Building Independence 120

Building a Peer Group 129

Note to Parents 144

Chapter 5 The Tasks of the High School Years: Ages 14-18 145

Becoming an Adult Thinker 148

Learning to Manage Sexuality 159

Building a Sense of Identity 167

Developing Autonomy 174

Part 3 The Resilience Factor: Seven Essential Coping Skills 185

Chapter 6 Teaching Our Kids to Find Solutions 189

Resourcefulness: "I can handle this" instead of "Mom …" 189

Enthusiasm: "I love this" instead of "Whatever" 194

Creativity: "Let's look at this differently" not "What's the right answer?" 201

A Good Work Ethic: "I'm going to keep at it" instead of "I quit" 209

Chapter 7 Teaching Our Kids to Take Action 217

Self-Control: "It just doesn't feel right" instead of "All the kids are doing it" 217

Self-Esteem: "I feel good about myself" instead of "I suck" 225

Self-Efficacy: "I can make a difference" instead of "Nothing I do matters" 232

Part 4 Walking the Talk 241

Chapter 8 Defining and Living Your Family Values: A Paper and Pencil Exercise 243

What Are Your Core Values? 248

Family Values Statement 252

Your Guiding Principles 254

The Family Action Plan 255

Chapter 9 Editing the Script: Becoming the Parents We Want to Be 261

Denial: "Problem? What problem?" 266

Projection: "Yeah, they've got a problem, not me" 271

Peer Pressure: It's Not Just for Teenagers 275

Is Parenting Hereditary? "I can't believe I sound just like my mother" 282

The Trinity of Change: Self-Reflection, Empathy, and Flexibility 286

Acknowledgments 299

Notes 303

Index 311

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    The most authentic child development blue print

    After being a parent for 10 years and after feeling increasingly stressed about my parenting techniques, decisions, strategies and my children's future, I was lucky to read Madline Levine's article in NY Times a few weeks ago which led me to this book.
    This is a fantastiic guide to parenting that puts the whole concept of parenting in a different and truly authentic perspective. Mrs. Levine with her easy to read jargon-free writing put an end to all my uncertainties and endless anxiety about my children's up brining by questioning the current standars of success which are truly flawed.
    I need to go back and read the book, particularly the last two chapters, again.
    This is a must read guide for every parent who strives for authenticly successful children and family no matter how old the children are.
    Mrs. Levine, thank you for your superbly written book and for sharing your knowledge and experiences as a professional and as a parent with the rest of us. Teaching Your Children Well is the light that all of us need as we try to navigate and find the right path for ourselves and our children everyday.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2012

    A Must Read for All Who Care About the Health & Well-Being of Kids

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for thoughtful advice on how to raise a well-balanced child in our hectic world. Dr. Levine reminds us of what's truly important when it comes to raising children: loving them for who they are as individuals vs. what we want them to be; allowing them to experience both the ups and downs of life in order to build resilience; and making time to connect with them during the simple, everyday moments as opposed to always running from activity to activity. Her words of wisdom encourage us to focus on raising kids who will grow up to be well-rounded and capable adults, rather than figuring out how to get them into accelerated classes or running interference for them when they are faced with the inevitable challenges of life. A fabulous read for parents and educators alike!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Teach Your Children Well is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's

    Teach Your Children Well is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.

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    Posted December 2, 2013

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