Parenting Book Reviews
Table of Contents
Child Rearing & DisciplineThese are for parents of children of the middle years, starting somewhere around preschool and continuing mostly through the pre-teen years. In theory, following the more useful of these books during the pre-teen years may prevent many problems of teenagerhood. Books on discipline and other topics that are specific to Preschoolers and Teens are placed into those two categories, respectively.
Ginott: Between Parent and Child (1965, Avon; none) [sources incl. amazon] Focuses on language and the extra meanings it carries. Discipline without hitting, yelling, ordering. Gordon: P.E.T. - Parent Effectiveness Training (1990, about $12) [sources incl. local public libraries and amazon] Active listening. I messages. Discipline without hitting, yelling, ordering. Definitely a worthwhile resource. Foster Cline, M.D. and Jim Fay Parenting with Love and Logic--Teaching Children Reponsibility ISBN 0-89109-311-7 copyright 1990 [sources incl. amazon] This parenting book has some great information about helping your child become a responsible, considerate, well behaved, child with a good opinion of themself. The authors recommend giving your child choices so they learn to make responsible decisions at an early age. One example dealt with a child who was never ready to go to school at the time his mother needed to leave. She finally used the love and logic approach. She announced that she would be leaving at a certain time in the morning and the child had the choice of going in the car dressed or in nightclothing. She took a bag of clothing along so the child could dress properly for school. A book I recommend is Parenting With Love and Logic, by Jim Fay. If he is ever in your area giving a talk, you should go. He has a lot of good stuff to say, and is real entertaining to boot. Ask at your school about his books and tapes - lots of educators buy into his philosophy, and they often have his stuff in the library. -- Lynne A Fitzsimmons [posted] Time-outs quit being effective with our daughters (now 6 & 4 years old). We have been using more creative strategies for problem behavior. [This book] has been helpful for us. It's been a while since I read the book, but the main strategies we got from it were to 1)let the child know what their choices are and 2)have a logical consequence for unwanted behavior. For example, I don't want the kids balancing the kitchen chairs on two legs during dinner. They now know that they can either keep all four chair legs on the floor *or* they can sit on the floor to eat. This approach requires more thinking than sending the kids to time outs does, but it's been much more effective for us. -- Carolyn Peterson (from a post) Kay Kuzma: Building Your Child's Character [sources incl. amazon] One book that I highly recommend. --anon. Theodore Dreikurs: "Children: the Challenge" [sources incl. amazon] Theodore Dreikurs is one of the teachers of the founders of STEP. He advocates a "democratic" method of child rearing. Of particular importance in this book is an opening section that deals with the importance of birth order in the development of children's personalities. His theory, commonly accepted now, is that first born children have more in common with each other than the first and second born children within the same family will have with each other. Dreikurs also offers some very concrete methods for dealing with children in various situations. An EXCELLENT book! Dinkmeyer, McKay and Dinkmeyer: "The Parents' Handbook" [sources incl. amazon] "Parenting Young Children" [sources incl. amazon] These books are part of the STEP parenting method. The goal of these books are straightforward and simple: children are persons, who should be accorded the same amount of respect that adults show their adult friends. Keeping that in mind, power struggles between parents and children don't have to happen, and fighting constantly with your kids is not a necessary part of raising them. These books are very well written, easy to understand, and are quite intuitive. There are helpful techniques such as reflective listening which are explained clearly and concisely, and everything just makes good sense. Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish: How to Talk So Children Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. Paperback, about $8. [sources incl. amazon] Explains the use of "logical consequences" for discipline. Shows an alternative to the things my parents did that I'd rather improve on. This is worth every cent and more. It's more than use of logical consequences. It shows practical ways of implementing a relationship between parent and child that is based on respect. And I go back and reread sections every once and awhile. This is one to have on hand for reference. There is a quote on the front of the book [How to talk...] that says," Will bring about more cooperation from children than all the yelling and pleading in the world. " I think this book has some very powerful messages for parents. It teaches us how to acknowledge our childrens feelings, and by doing so minimize the war. There are actual exercises that parents can work on with their children. I guess you could call them little experiments to see if what these woman are saying really works. The chapters deal with; 1. Helping children deal with their feelings, 2. Engaging cooperation, 3. Alternatives to punishment, 4. Encouraging Autonomy, 5. Praise, 6. Freeing children from playing roles, 7. Putting it all together. This isn't a book you read from front to back and thhen try to put into affect in your life. The authors encourage you to read each chapter and then put the book down for awhile until you have had a chance to use what you've learned. I think this is a brilliant way to write this type of book. Too much of anything at once can overwhelm a person. What they don't tell you, is that you have to be dealing with one of the thoughtful children in the book. These techniques are much less effective with *real* children. [Eds. Note: That was Judy Leedom Tyrer saying that. Other parents disagree. Perhaps the disclaimer should be that they are less effective with *her* children. :-)] Now, I did *not* say they will not work, I said that they're much less effective. While some of their techniques of dealing with problems work some of the time, I found that the book left most of us (in a class using their book as a text) high about the technique and deflated as we found that we needed to be using one of the children in the book (i.e., the techniques work much less often and to a lower degree). I felt the same way about Siblings without rivalry. While they give a lot of points to help alleviate parental guilt, the results did not meet the expectations I had from reading the book. My disappointment in the books had to do with the techniques and conclusions not matching reality a large percent of the time. Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish. Siblings Without Rivalry. Paperback, about $8. [sources incl. amazon] This was good for me even though I have only one child--I am a sibling myself, after all, and I wanted to know that that trauma wasn't necessary. Again, worth every cent and more. I have an almost 3 year old and a just four year old. And _I_ think they are siblings without rivalry. That doesn't mean they don't want the same thing or do the same thing. But it means that we try to get them to solve the problems they are having instead of doing arbitration. And it works a lot better than you'd think for kids this age. The other eye opener for me was that of putting your kids in roles. For instance, my younger son is very agile and very at home in his body. Without this book, I would have classified him as an athlete, gymnast, or something and perhaps never let any other part of him develop as it should. In addition, this would not have been fair to my other son who is no slouch when it comes to physical activity. But his abilities could have been ignored. I guess you get the idea that I heartily recommend this book. Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish "Liberated Parent/ Liberated Child" [sources incl. amazon] I really enjoyed this book and am on my 2nd reading. The book contains a wealth of information and needs to be worked on slowly over a long period of time. There are lots of good tips,many of which will work over time if practiced consistently. Not every technique will work every time for every child. As other posters noted, the book really outlines an attitude and an approach which you can adapt to your own needs. I've found this book to be really helpful. The good thing about the Faber&Mazlish books are their easy-to-read format which makes them very accessible to a large portion of the public. Gordon, Thomas: Parent effectiveness training; the no-lose program for raising responsible children. New York, P. H. Wyden . [sources incl. amazon] This book is not as easy to read as the Faber&Mazlish books but I think it's great. The main thing (so far) that I've got out of it is the idea of reflexive listening, defining ownership of problems (how problems are dealt with depends on who owns it), and using I messages. The latter, especially, is forcing me to think "what is REALLY going on here" when my kids and I run into problems. Another thing that I liked was the message of hope. By that I mean the book says that families can have close relationships period. I am of the opinion that the generation gap or rebellion or hardships that usually happen with teenagers doesn't have to be and this book has validated this for me. It is here in this book that the different parenting styles (authoritarian, democratic (although I don't remember whether he used this term or not), and permissive) that have been discussed on the net are defined. Leman: "Making children mind without losing yours." [sources incl. amazon] This book is really for children at least 2 years of age, up through teens. The basic philosophy is this: Give your kids choices, and let them deal with the consequences of their decisions. It is a middle ground between authoritarian (you'll behave because I said so, and that's it!) and passive (whatever makes you happy darling). His methods are firm but loving. He advocates unconditional love, IOW never threaten to to take your love away (or the appearance of it) if a child does not obey. He gives lots of good examples too, and, it's a short book! Fitzhugh Dodson: "How to Parent" [sources incl. amazon] [Warning: Don't confuse Dodson with Dobson. Two entirely different authors! I'm not positive that the following review is for the correct author, as it's clear that the other one, Dobson, *is* a strong advocate of spanking and hitting children with objects. --Paula Burch] This is a controversial book that not everyone likes, mostly because Dodson does not take a firm anti-spanking stance and believes that parents who refuse to let their children play with guns are raising wimps. However, Dodson does have a lot of examples from his private practice and is very good about taking controversial stances and defending them. He refers to the terrible twos as "first adolescence". And he has a very wonderful section on discipline which has nothing to do with spanking. - anon. James Dobson: THE STRONG WILLED CHILD [sources incl. amazon] a terrible (with patches of useful stuff) authoritarian book from a strict Christian perspective. --Anon. [Eds. note: I suspect that many good Christians will not agree with the concept that the ideas espoused by this book are necessarily Christian.] I'm wary of this book because parents have posted advocating beating their children with a stick, and claimed that this author told them to! Obviously a controversial topic, one on which I'm not without my own biases. --Paula Burch Mary Sheedy Kurcinka: "Raising Your Spirited Child" ISBN 0-06-092328-8. HarperCollins Publishers. Paper-back, $10.00. [sources incl. amazon] What I particularly liked about this book was its focus on temperament in both children and adults. There are many character traits that are inborn tendencies, and we're better off working with them rather than butting heads with them constantly. It's a more subtle case of the jock parent having an artistic son. This book will not meet the approval of those who want to step in and alter undesireable behavior immeidately. It's very much a process thing. ...I have been reading and enjoying RAISING YOUR SPIRITED CHILD, A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More. The 'spirited' in the title replaces the 'difficult' child. My 6+ year old son have always been 'spirited'. I read the threads on ADDH fearing that someone down the line is going to label him that. He's very sensitive and VERY active. This book puts his 'spirit' in perspective and has helpful comments on how to handle that spiritidness ala Faber and Mazlish. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka: Raising Your Spirited Child Workbook [sources incl. amazon] This will probably be popular with those who liked "Raising Your Spirited Child". --Paula Burch Stanley Turecki and Leslie Tonner: The Difficult Child. Bantam Books, c1985, ISBN 0-553-05098-2 (there is also a revised paperback version out now, too.) [sources incl. amazon] This is a very good book not only for parents of difficult children (there is a quiz that will help you identify the areas in whch your child is difficult_ but also for parents with children going through difficult times. It has a very practical and effective strategy for handling problems which allow you to focus on specific problems and work with your children on handling the behavior. A must for any parent who feels at the end of his or her rope. There are any number of excellent books out there about child rearing, but one of the best I have found for understanding and working with "difficult" or hard-to-raise children is [this]. Quoting from the book jacket: "Every child comes into the world with an inborn temperament-certain traits that make him or her 'easy' or 'difficult' to raise....Temperamentally difficult children almost always confuse or upset their parents, but they are not all alike. Some have bad days; others are difficult nearly all the time. They are often defiant, especially to the mother They whine, complain or throw tantrums; they're stubborn and don't listen. Some are active to the point of wildness. Others are very shy, clingy and can't tolerate new people or situations. Some won't eat or sleep at regular times - others are picky and peculiar about food and clothes. Simple everyday routines like meals, bedtimes, and dressing can provoke pitched battles." Dr. Turecki developed a Difficult Child Program for Beth Israel Medical Center in NYC. This book is based upon the work done there. I discovered Dr. Turecki's work in an article in "Good Housekeeping" or "Parents", can't remember which, and bought the book. It has help us *a lot* in dealing with our difficult child simply by allowing us to see that sometimes our son was up against inborn temperamental qualities that he could not help. He is either hotter or colder than everyone else; transitions are hard; he has a very high activity level; there is lots of negative persistence; regularity in sleep and eating has been a problem, etc. He is also very charming with a great sense of humor, intelligent, and very perceptive for a 9 yr. old. Part of the reason we survived early years as well as we all did was the management techiques and the philosophy I found in _The Difficult Child_. My husband and I could understand why our son was so difficult at times, recognize (mostly) what was true temperamental reactions and what was just ordinary manipulative child, and deal with both types of situations appropriately (again, most of the time. :-) A lot of what is in the book is commonsense type discipline, but what I found to be so valuable was the sympathy and understanding it help me bring to parenting, even when I was the most frustrated. Because I could "label" what was going on, I could cope with the behavior better, as a sympathic, but firm adult, not as a "why are you doing this to me?" angry parent with problems continuing to escalate. I do highly recommend the book. Sometimes real problems with inborn temperament get overlooked in dealing with "bad","difficult", "inapproriate", or "stubborn" behaviors. Stephanie Marston: THE MAGIC OF ENCOURAGEMENT: Nurturing Your Child's Self-Esteem. Simon & Schuster, 1990. [sources incl. amazon] ISBN 0-671-73273-0. Another Faber/Mazlish (sp?) clone, complete with excercises to do. I haven't gotton through that one yet. (Actually, while I find these books helpful in their suggestions, I much prefer to read straight narrative which is not divided into tiny little pieces of data with headings.) -Anon. Positive Discipline [sources incl. amazon] Another great book, along the same lines as Faber and Mazlish [see above-Ed.], is Positive Discipline. It's in the Chinaberry Book Catalog, in paperback. Every parent needs to read this one, Faber & Mazlish, and Richard Ferber! The book that helped me the most was [this book]. The part I found most helpful describes various "motives" that children have for mis-behaviour. Details are given regarding the identification of the child's motive (or mistaken belief), and the way that you identify the motive is to analyze your own feelings. I found this to be extraordinarily useful, since I found it difficult to determine what my daughter was feeling. The book also gives strategies for dealing with misbehaviour, depending on the motive in each particular case. --Lisa Chirlian (from a post) Your Child's Self Esteem Dorothy Corkille Briggs Dolphin Books-Doubleday & Company. 1975. ISBN 0-383-04020-2 [sources incl. amazon] This book is surprisingly up-to-date considering its publication date--a few mentions that something-or-other might cause homosexuality should in my opinion be ignored as being quite out of date, but it gives an excellent (and thorough) explanation of just WHY positive methods such as those advocated by Faber & Mazlish and by Gordon are much better in the long run for a child. -- Paula Burch Loving Your Child Is Not Enough--Positive Discipline that works Nancy Samalin with Martha Moraghan Jablow Viking. 1987. ISBN 0-670-81362-1 [sources incl. amazon] Yet another book on practical applications of positive discipline! This is a good one, too; the funny thing about it is that I kept suspecting the author of plagierizing from Faber and Mazlish. This is explained by the fact the the latter studied with Haim Ginott, whereas this author studied with Adele Ginott, his wife; the two Ginotts taught the exact same techniques. As reading one book is rarely enough to learn a technique, I would advise reading every book on the subject--each one brings a different perspective. If you are only going to read one book, this wouldn't be my first choice, but it would certainly do. -- Paula Burch Love and Anger Nancy Samalin [sources incl. amazon] An excellent book exploring the reasons why we sometimes explode with anger towards our children, and giving lots of suggestions for much more useful strategies when you are this angry. Very much worth reading. -- Paula Burch Jeanne Isley: SELF ESTEEM: A FAMILY AFFAIR [OOP; try your library or amazon] one i love (and have given away at least 6 times) is [this]; it deals with infants all the way up to teenagers and how to increase self esteem. a lot has of it deals with our (the adult) perception of them (the annihilators, the shriekers...) -- Mary Lea McAnally [posted] Clare Cherry: Parents, Please Don't Sit On Your Kids (A Parent's Guide to Nonpunitive Discipline) [sources incl. amazon] I've been reading a wonderful book [this one]. I'd love to quote the whole section, but there's a no reproduction notice in the front, so I'll just retell it. This is described in a section about Deliberately Ignoring Provocations, and the specific scenerio is described on page 139. She proposes that many behaviors that are done to get attention (hitting, biting, throwing up, tantrums, etc) can be stopped by ignoring the misbehavior - focusing attention elsewhere. There are several examples, but a specific story of an 18 month old who tantrums and then vomits in her playpen - which she is put in for short times when mom is doing housework. (Myself, I just don't do housework that was hazardous while alone with my kids, but that is pretty limiting!) The father is there, supporting the mom through it. The child cries, then throws up. Mom wants to rush in, but doesn't (with Dad's support). A minute later, she peeks, child is playing with the vomit and talking to herself. 5 minutes later, mom goes in, but does *not* mention the incident. "I'll put some clean clothes on you", and then she cleans her daughter and the playpen without any further comments. Then she puts her daughter back in and walks deliberately out, without looking back. Daughter begins to cry, then starts playing with her blocks. Mom finishes work in 10 minutes, comes and gets her, and they laugh. It takes 1 more incident to break the daughter's habit of vomiting with tantrums, and two more tantrums before she stops them, too. This whole thing makes sense to me - the hardest part to me seems to be having the self control to not comment on the incident and stay calm and matter-of-fact about things. I've seen my kids (2.5 and almost 5) come back and report on fights they've had - telling on themselves (as outlined in the book) and I am beginning to see how they're using that to get attention when I'm busy elsewhere. It's important to not have some kind of secondary gain coming into play (like Mom or Dad will jump (or get very upset) when we do xxx) when dealing with discipline matters. -- Tigger (Grace Sylvan) [posted] Phelan: 1-2-3 Magic [sources incl. amazon] If you're having problems with a four-to-eight-year old, you probably should get this book. With our older son, there came a time when common sense no longer worked. Logical consequences, no matter how sensible they seemed to both us and our son, did not deter him from behavior that made both him and us miserable. This book made all the difference to us...we started insisting that our son behave well, and *without emotion* giving him a short punitive timeout if he acted out three times in a row within twenty minutes. You'd think a child wouldn't like this, wouldn't you? And you certainly wouldn't expect such a small punishment to do the trick. Instead, he immediately became much more cooperative, and much happier because we were spending time doing fun things instead of agonizing over toothbrushing and similar small issues. I do NOT recommend this as a first or only book, because I find the concepts of Psotive Discipline, such as is described in the works of Faber and Mazlish or Thomas Gordon, to be more respectful and a better foudnation for a happy family life. However, if you need help even after reading those, or if your family is in an emergency situation with this sort of frustration, this is an extremely helpful and useful book, and to be highly recommended. Especially helpful also for those who swore they'd never spank a child, and then, to their horror, did so once, and want to not repeat the experience. --Paula Burch
David Elking: Miseducation - Preschoolers At Risk [sources incl. amazon] His premise is that many of our children are being misappropriately educated for their age level. In our zest for creating "superkids" we do so at the risk of subjecting our kids to both psychological and physical problems. He explains the different stages of how children learn and that early "miseducation" can cause permanent damage to their self-esteem, loss of a positive attitude towards learning, and actual physical problems caused by starting children in certain excellerated sports programs before their bodies have fully developed. I would highly recommend this book --Lynne Chantler [from a post] Yes, I not only read Elkind's book, but have lent my copy out to numerous friends. I absolutely agree with his arguments, and like Lynne, highly recommend the book. After reading _Miseducation_, I was more convinced than ever that finding a non-academic preschool was the way I wanted to go. Elkind basically states that early childhood educators have taken studies that show how much children are capable of learning in their early years (from about 2-6) and have twisted that around to make the argument that *since* kids' brains are so malleable, they can be taught all sorts of things, like reading and foreign languages. This perversion (sorry for such a strong word) of the brain studies results in what Elkind terms "miseducation." [...] (NOTE: Elkind (and I) are stressing the "pushing" part here; if a child shows an interest in learning to read, write, or whatever on his or her own, that's a different matter altogether.) As Lynne pointed out, Elkind makes the argument that by pushing children to learn academics at earlier ages when they are not interested in such things can do a lot of harm, and very little good. Young children learn through playing, and by encouraging them to explore their world at their own pace, parents and childhood educators lay the foundation for "readiness" to learn academic subjects. Allowed to learn at their own pace, with an "emergent curriculum" (i.e. learning that is self-directed and that emerges from the child's own interests), children are much more apt to soak up the academic stuff later on. --Diane Lin [from a post] Thomas Sowell: Late-Talking Children. 1997. [sources incl. amazon] Essential reading for parents worried about very slow speech development in apparently otherwise normal children. This is not a what-to-do book; it's a book about the experiences of a father whose son began talking extraordinarily late. I think the boy had something like ten words at age four; he's now, as an adult, a computer programmer. The father is an extremely interesting writer, a well-known economist. The book summarizes the results of his survey of other parents of late-talking children that were neither autistic nor hearing-impaired. The author hypothesizes that the slow speech development in this particular subset of children is the cost of rapid math development. --Paula Burch Bruno Bettleheim, A GOOD ENOUGH PARENT. Vintage Books, 1987. ISBN 0-394-75776-9. [sources incl. amazon] The title tells all. A very re-assuring book which makes room for the fact that we parents are people who make mistakes and don't have to perfect. Some helpful arguments against some long-held beliefs, e.g., spanking as punishment, etc. If Only I Were a Better Mother [sources incl. Chinaberry, amazon] If you think that any mother who ever, even for a minute, places her own needs above those of her child, is a monster, then you need this book. (Then again, if you think that, you'll be raising a self-centered monster who will never respect any need of their mother's, and you probably need to see a therapist!) It may be useful if you feel guilty when you choose to meet your own needs, however important, at the expense of your child's, however trivial. Contains lots of made-up conversations with 'Kali', the 'dark goddess', which strike a jarringly self-conscious note. - Paula Burch Lawrence Balter: Child Sense [OOP; try your library or amazon] ...what are your favorite books on child development? I have lots, but the one I always return to is _Child Sense_ by Lawrence Balter. Anywone else have a favorite? My LEAST favorite is Burton White, who seems to think that children spaced together closer than three years will be totally *ruined*. Very irritating! T. Berry Brazelton "On Becoming A Family" [sources incl. amazon] "Infants and Mothers" [sources incl. amazon] "Parents and Toddlers"[sources incl. amazon] "Working and Caring" [sources incl. amazon] "What Every Baby Knows" [sources incl. amazon] T. Berry Brazelton is the Dr. Spock of our generation and his books could well be considered required reading. He also hosts a show on Lifetime called "What Every Baby Knows". Infants and Mothers and Parents and Toddlers are both broken up into personal stories about "typical" people culled from his pediatric practice. In the Infants book, there are three infants, "quiet", "average", and "active" who are tracked in their development month by month. In Toddlers, different children are studied at each phase of toddlerhood. I bought a book by T. Berry Brazelton called something like "Working and Caring" about integrating work and caring for an infant. I think it is a great book. I found it very reassuring to read when I was trying to dance the line between the people who thought my schedue for returning to work was bad for my child and the people who thought I was forever giving up my career if I took off the time I had planned. "Infants and Mothers" is a very interesting book, and gives a month-by-month account of the lives of three babies: average, quiet and active. The great virtue of this book is that it gives a very complete picture of the lives of three very different infants, all of whom are completely "normal." It gives the reader a greater appreciation for the developmental timetable that each baby follows, and thus, an appreciation for the uniqueness of each baby. Highly recommended for nervous first parents--it's very reassuring. I found Brazleton's books fun to read, but not worth buying since I wasn't apt to re-read them. The public library is made for books like this! -- Paula Burch Louise Bates Ames, Ph.D., Frances L. Ilg, M.D.:"Your X Year Old" (X = One, Two, Three, etc. - this is a series) Publisher: Gesell Institute of Human Development Your One-Year-Old : The Fun-Loving, Fussy 12-To 24-Month-Old [sources incl. amazon] Your 2 Year Old : Terrible or Tender [sources incl. amazon] Your Three Year Old : Friend or Enemy [sources incl. amazon] Your Four-Year-Old : Wild and Wonderful [sources incl. amazon] Your 5 Year Old : Sunny and Serene [sources incl. amazon] Ames and Ilg was used in my parenting class and, so far, my children have been 100% in line with their stages of development. A wonderful book series for helping to decide, "have I ruined my child or is this normal development" and the subsequent "should I fight this or suffer through it". Lots of questions on this net are oth the type "My X yr old is doing this - is it normal?" I've been enjoying "Your Three Year Old" by Ames & Ilg. There is a whole series of these, going up to the preteen years. "your Two Year Old was really on target for me last year. Your Three Year Old isn't quite as close as the other one, but still has given me a lot of useful insights into David's current behaviors. These books aren't big with practical tips on how to deal with specific behaviors, but I find just identifying the behavior pattern to be very helpful. I can then deal with it with my repertoire of skills from other sources. Here's a quote I love from this book "Parents sometimes fear that their Three and a half year old is deaf when he so often disregards what is being said to him." How true! Fraiberg: "The Magic Years: Understanding the problems of early childhood" [sources incl. amazon] A classic, and very good reading, too. Covers birth to 5 years, though she basically zips through 0-6 months in a flash. The main virtue of this book, IMHO, was that she explains the developmental stage that the child is going through so that parents can better understand that the child is DRIVEN to do something, and that the behavior is not part of a plan to drive the parents crazy. Marge Kennedy: 50 ways to bring out the smarts in your kid: how to provide inspiration and guidance to enhance children's learning in every way. (children 3 and up) [sources incl. amazon]