You’re Not the Boss of Me – A Book Review

When I got the email from Mom Central seeking participants in a blog tour for “You’re Not the Boss of Me – Brat-Proofing Your 4- to 12-Year-Old Child” by Betsy Brown Braun, I couldn’t enter my sign-up information fast enough. 
Once I started reading the book, I placed little tabbies on pages with ideas I could relate to or that echoed parenting challenges I have had in the course of raising an almost-11 and almost-14 year old.  As you can see, the book resonated with me:
As I was reading the book, I had the distinct feeling that the universe’s vibes were aligning to give me some life experiences that would result in me adding more tabs.  Like the phone call I got from Wayne’s teacher telling me that he had decided not to turn in his art project, one he had been looking for about three weeks prior and that I had put out of my mind.  Like my 13 year old getting threatened to be “beat up” because she stated something factual (yet incendiary) in a phone conversation.  Like the parent of one of my son’s peers who called to say my son had had possession of his kid’s “Phiten” necklace four months ago and since it could not be found any longer our family should pony up a replacement.  Yeesh.  How is it that everything I learned obtaining a degree in Child Development and Family Relations, as well as a master’s degree in Counseling and Human Systems, goes out the door when I cross my own threshold?
Although I didn’t agree with 100% of Betsy Brown Braun’s suggestions, the book did help me take a step back from the intense, subjective aspects of parenting and think about some logical, concrete tactics that I can use to parent more effectively and restore the balance of authority in our household.  Ms. Braun reminds us parents that:

“…as you well know, your child is not like a self-basting turkey; he’s not going to emerge well-seasoned and having just the right tenderness without effort.”

So true. 

Ms. Braun breaks each chapter into an introductory “theory” section that discusses parenting topics such as “Growing an Empathetic Child,” “Teaching Responsibility,” ” Instilling Honesty in Your Child,” and “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme! – Eliminating Spoilage in Your Child.”  These introductory sections are followed by Tips and Scripts that provide concrete methods for applying the theory.  In the chapter on Building Independence, for example, Ms. Braun encourages us to Support your child’s interests; they may become his passions.  As a parent who has struggled to “let go” of Tenley’s successful and intense gymnastics career, I took to heart Ms. Braun’s reminder that, “Your child needs to live his life, not yours.”

In the chapter on Instilling Honesty, one of the tips is:  When it’s done, let it go.  How often does a particularly memorable incident become part of family lore?  Yes, I have had one of my two children steal something from a store.  Yes, I marched this child back into the store and made the child return the item.  Yes, many years later I still joke around with this child about the incident.  Ms. Braun reminds us parents that, “Your child must not feel defined by her transgressions.” 

Again, so true.

One of the appendices of this book is called The Ethical Will of a Grandfather to His Grandson.  Although the book goes into thorough detail and provides specific tips, this appendix almost completes sums up the point in one page.  I particularly liked:

  • When there is a job to do — do a good job, never a sloppy one.
  • When your time is free, explore the things you think might be interesting.  Follow your curiosities.
  • Think for yourself.  Don’t believe what you read or what other people say, unless it seems true to you.
Blue hair?  It happens.

Ups and Downs of Parenting?  Yep, that happens too:

Two children worth taking the time to read a book that will help them be all they are meant to be?  Right here:

Note:  I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of HarperCollins and received a copy of You’re Not the Boss of Me to facilitate my review  Mom Central also sent me a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.  pk

I Hope I Look Spent

(photo credit: Jackisue/Flickr)

I love 5K races that do not involve waking up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday.  This Memorial Day weekend, I had the exquisite opportunity to sleep in late yesterday (Saturday) morning.  I also had the exquisite opportunity to have Friday off due to our Executive Director’s decision a few months ago to add the Friday prior to Memorial Day as an official office closure day (thanks, Rich!!).  I don’t know why he did that, but this is one situation where the “why” is pretty insignificant.

When I planned tonight’s blog, I planned to post my review of “You’re Not the Boss of Me — Brat-Proofing Your 4-12 Year Old Child” by Betsy Brown Braun.  Since I am not done with the book, and my review can be posted as late as Tuesday, that idea got jettisoned.  I have a commitment to blog weekly, though, and for me that is every Sunday night. 

When I was listening to a RunRunLive podcast this week, the host (Chris Russell) conducted an interview with Erskien Lenier.  At one point in the interview the two were discussing the condition in which runners cross the finish line.  I think it was Chris who commented about how totally spent the elite runners look when they cross the line.  Spent, as in at the point of collapse.  The point was that these runners leave it all on the course.  And he went on to ask of us listeners:  how much are you holding back when you race?  Are you leaving it all on the course?  Is there something else you can pull out of your arsenal as the race elapses that can help you more effectively reach your goals?

Most of you know that my running-related goal is to run a 5K in less than 30:00.  I started training for this in December 2008 and have felt somewhat “plateaued” over the past month or two.  I have seen enough athletic training (including a zillion hours watching young gymnasts train when my daughter was a gymnast) to believe that an athlete should be exceeding in practice what they want to demonstrate in competition.  So, since I have not broken 30:00 in my usual workout routines, it’s not going to happen tomorrow night in Bainbridge.

BUT, what I can do is pledge to myself to leave a little more out there on the roads of Bainbridge.  And I can tell all of you that that’s my plan so that you can help hold me accountable! 

I read a great quote that sums up my feelings about tomorrow night’s race:

Every person’s work…is always a portrait of that person. – Samuel Butler
The work I do tomorrow night in Bainbridge will hopefully convey a portrait of perseverance. 
I’ll drop in tomorrow night after the race and provide a follow-up comment.
Then I’ll “run” into you all again on Tuesday, for my review of “You’re Not the Boss of Me”!