TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING: Raising Children of Character in an Indulgent Age
Kindlon (coauthor of Raising Cain), a psychologist, has spent time surveying and speaking to parents and kids in an effort to understand teen-rearing today. In addition to a scientific survey (Parenting Practices at the Millennium), which focuses on issues such as whether today's teens consider themselves spoiled, how many use drugs, how many do household chores, what families have dinner together regularly, whether all or only rich kids have cell phones, etc., Kindlon also draws on anecdotal data. As a psychologist at various schools, he has listened to parents protesting the suspension of a son accused of plagiarism—the parents didn't find anything wrong with taking material off the Internet. Students have told Kindlon that their parents are never home or, in some cases, when they expect a punishment, that their parents do nothing. Educators as well as parents and grandparents will effortlessly identify with many of the situations Kindlon describes. After all, particularly among the baby boomer generation with seemingly unlimited funds, as parents indulge themselves, it's fairly apparent that their children will do so as well. Kindlon offers sound, albeit brief, advice; in the chapter on life skills, for example, he urges parents to help their kids acquire interests that will hold their attention. He believes that even spending one hour a day with kids—not necessarily at mealtime—is helpful. While this book is handy, a better organization with chapter summaries of advice would have made it even stronger. (Aug.)
Forecast:Given the author's track record with the bestselling Raising Cain, this book should perform well, especially with a 12-city author tour and national advertising campaign.
Release date: 08/01/2001