The title of 8 simple rules for raising great kids appealed to me from the get go. Who doesn’t like simple? Especially when it comes to parenting! There doesn’t seem to be anything simple about it so I was curious to see what author Dr. Todd Cartmell had to say on the subject.
I really liked the succinct way it was broken down into 8 rules. I can do 8! The chapters are short so it can easily be read in sections as time allows. I like to read one at a time and figure ways to immediately apply it instead of trying to do a bunch of things at once. I have found that when it comes to change, one at a time is the best way to ensure success!
The 8 simple tools include talking, listening, influencing, connecting, teaching, encouraging, correcting and leading. Cartmell writes with the wisdom and experience of someone who has been there which makes me more apt to pay close attention! I really enjoyed his writing style that was almost like having a conversation instead of getting some advice that’s way over my head. It’s very realistic and practical which makes it seem easy to achieve!
The first area he covers is talking and chapter 1 is “Control Your Volume Knob.” I knew right then where this was going! I’m a definite yeller and since reading this book I have worked on that and it does make a world of difference! I focused on that tool of talking before moving onto the next. Each tool has a few chapters that focus on different aspects of the subject.
Another chapter in talking was on actually having a conversation and I really like the way he equated it to playing a game of catch. It’s a practical tool that really gives you the “how” of talking and not just telling you “what” to do! Once I had put it into practice I went to the next. I don’t normally read books this way but I really wanted to change my parenting and had to do it in a way I could be successful.
I think of the 8 tools the area I’ve seen most change is influencing. My older kids are 6 and 8 and so we have kind of moved past the stage of just surviving the early years into really focusing on developing kids with strong characters and good hearts. A big part of that is paying attention to who they are and motivating them and growing their individuality.
The chapter that hit home the most was “Understanding the Power of Your Words.” I have been really guilty of hurting my daughter’s spirit in this area. I don’t call her names or anything that severe but I do tend to talk down to her and use a tone that makes her feel very small. We are so different and it’s hard for me to understand where she’s coming from. But I am trying and have really focused on not doing this.
In a matter of weeks our entire relationship has changed. The little girl I used to get in a screaming match with every morning before school over her getting dressed now does it on her own and is so proud to show me she obeyed the first time and did what I asked. It’s not because she suddenly became obedient. It’s because I started talking to her on her level, really listening and being more gentle and kind in the way that I deal with her instead of barking orders that produce instant tears.
I could tell many more of these stories about how 8 simple tools for raising great kids has changed my relationship with each child. It’s one of those books I will probably refer back to on specific subjects and read over and over through the years when I feel I need a refresher. It’s chalk full of wisdom, practical advice and the actual tools to put them into practice!
About the Book
“I love my child, but parenting is hard.”
Whether you find parenting intuitive or impossible, we could all use a hand here and there. Let child psychologist and father Todd Cartmell walk you through the nuts and bolts of healthy, effective parenting.
Using examples from his home and 20 years of professional practice, Todd gives eight essential and practical tools to help you:
Maintain a healthy relationship with your child
Develop a nurturing home culture
Correct behavior in lasting ways
Designed for busy parents, 8 Simple Tools breaks each tool into five short chapters that include a summary tip and application questions. Use even half of the tools in your parenting, and your family dynamics will thrive. Your relationship with your child will be built on love and trust, providing you with fertile ground for planting God’s wisdom in their heart, and ultimately, seeing them flourish.
About the Author
Dr. Cartmell is a licensed clinical child psychologist and author of several parenting books, including Flexible Kids and Keep the Siblings, Lose the Rivalry. He also is the creator of The Flexible Thinking Game and conducts parenting workshops around the country. Todd and his wife live in the Chicago area and have two sons.
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