Note to Reader: Carine Nadel, fabulous writer from the Orange County Register, recently interviewed me about The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. I must admit I love speaking with Carine. Not only is she a great writer, but a warm, witty and fun lady. Here is part of her great review published in the OC Register. Thanks Carine!
By CARINE NADEL
For the Orange County Register
Get a group of parents together and invariably you will hear “Does your 10-year-old scream in public?” Or, “OK my 3-year-old still refuses to use the potty, what am I doing wrong?” And “I’m so embarrassed, I found out my computer caught a virus because my 13-year-old kept going on adult sites! How did I not know this was happening?”
What’s a parent to do?
Situations like these and many more came up at parenting consultant Michele Borba’s workshops around the country, on questionnaires filled out by her colleagues at Parenting magazine, and during more than 80 segments she’s done for NBC-TV’S “Today Show.”
No wonder Borba decided to write “The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries.”
It’s the book that Borba said she wishes she had when she was raising her own family. It is literally the size of a phone book and set up in the same fashion.
Q. I love the tabs, the boxes of “simple solutions,” the “helpful advice” areas. How and why did you come up with 101 answers?
A. The easy answer on the 101 is that this was my editor’s choice. But I actually did a survey of over 5,000 parents, many who were in my workshops, and asked them what their top areas of concern were. I’ve also done over 80 parenting segments on the Today Show and many of the same concerns kept coming up over and over again. So they had to be included. Parenting contributed the top bugaboos of their subscribers.
The reason I set the book up like a phone book had to do, again, with what parents told me. They didn’t want to have to read an entire chapter on potty training issues or belligerent behavior if they had questions on how to get a child to do their chores or homework.
The tabs make it easy for the parent to literally flip through and find the section that pertains to them. The simple solutions and parent anecdotes make it feel accessible to moms, dads and grandparents alike. It’s not just a “professional” telling you what to do – but other parents who have gone through it and suggest creative ways to solve the issues.
If you need more, then the “helpful advice” box is there with books and sites to go to for added information.
Q. You also say this book is meant to help parents whose children are between the ages of 3-13. What’s the reasoning behind those particular years?
A. We chose the years of 3-13 because after 13 come some really heavy concerns like driving and drinking. But I do have chapters that discuss alcohol, drugs and sex.
Q. Is there a time when a parent should be saying “Whoa, I need more help than what I’m reading here?”
A. Absolutely! There’s a different answer for each issue. First you have to know what is “normal” for your child. Anything too extreme, one way or the other, or lasting longer than two weeks, should be looked into by a professional – start with your pediatrician and go from there.
Some issues like whining are easy to fix: Say “No” and mean it. Others, such as eating disorders and depression, are the hardest to “fix” and the process for recovery is slow and needs close monitoring.
Q. OK, tough question: I know there were parts of your book I really wish I had had when my kids were in this 10-year span. What advice do you wish you would have had?
A. My kids grew up during that “hooked on rewards” phase – you know the one where you had to praise them for every little thing they did and have a chart to show them their worth by putting stickers up. Well that was too much work for me.
I found it absurd that you should tell a child how smart they were for every little thing. It turns out that it really wasn’t the best thing to do. It doesn’t help their self esteem to get praises and rewards for things that truly required no effort on their part.
A recent study by the University of Minnesota stated that tweens have a huge sense of materialism. They believe they need name brands and that they should be praised for having them. This is what comes from the mindset that kids need constant praise. Praise needs to be deserved from something that comes from what stemmed from within.
We need to switch our word choices and give them praise for a job well done.
Q. As a parenting expert what are some of your best suggestions?
A. Don’t try to do more than one change at a time or you’ll fail in changing that behavior. And practice the change for 21 days. Ages 3-13 are what are known as the core years; you can control a precocious 2-year-old and after 13 you really do run into some hard issues where different parenting techniques need to be taken into consideration.
Most important though: Roll up your sleeves and get in there and parent!
Contact the writer: Carine Nadel lives in Laguna Hills. You can send questions or comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.