cover image 3 Steps to a Strong Family

3 Steps to a Strong Family

Linda Eyre. Simon & Schuster, $19 (235pp) ISBN 978-0-671-88728-5

The Eyres ( Teaching Your Children Values ) are supremely qualified to write a book about families: they have nine children. And all families, they advise us, need three elements: a legal system for settling disputes and setting rules, an economy to teach financial responsibility and an identity for building strong values and traditions. Unlike many other parenting books, this one encourages parents to respect children without coddling them. Practical and clear-cut methods put much responsibility on the children, while fostering their sense of security, enabling them to become successful and independent adults. The Eyres encourage such things as establishing a ``family bank'' into which children can deposit or withdraw funds they have earned; and allowing children over age 8 to purchase their own clothing. The authors urge families to build habits that are both enjoyable and productive, and to hold regular meetings to which everyone contributes. Italicized comments from the authors' children--including misspellings--add perspective and a human touch. While the methods here are systematic and fun, dual-income parents may find it hard to find time to implement them. (May)