Tuesday, August 23, 2011

breaking free of the gerbil syndrome: a review of It's Your Kid Not a Gerbil

Kevin Leman has written the book which should turn parenting upside down, and in the process strengthen the family. The title, It’s Your Kid, Not a Gerbil says it all.
For years we’ve heard that we have to get our kids on the fast track, they have to be involved in sports and arts; they should have study time and develop good study habits. And that’s all good stuff, but there’s a limit. Leman reminds us that at some point we have to say no to the ‘good’ in favor of the ‘better’.
Gerbils get in the little wheel, expend a lot of energy going in circles, and end up going nowhere. All too often it seems like we want our kids to get on that wheel and run nonstop. But what’s the cost?. Yes, we want the kids to develop good study habits, social skills and everything else, but when the kids are pushed so that the parents can brag about the accomplishments - it’s time to step back.
Dr Leman points out that at some point parents need to step up and be parents. Spending time with our kids when they’re young is ultimately more important than having them be recruited to an Ivy League school before they’re out of junior high. Family time is more important to a child than all sorts of lessons, and most kids would rather have their parents love them for who they are and not just for what they do.
Leman writes with a blend of humor and wisdom that engages the reader on any number of levels. He points out some of the misguided attempts at parenting that we all make, and he offers some great techniques and skills that parents can learn.
One of the things that I really liked about this book is that I never felt put down for being a poor parent, but often felt encouraged that I am trying hard and there are ways that will make it easier for me to do even better at offering my child the best future possible.
You probably know somebody that needs to read this book.
5/5 stars

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