Smart Parenting for Smart Kids

Nurturing Your Child's True Potential

Non-Fiction - Parenting
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 01/09/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, is psychologist with a private practice in Princeton, NJ (lic. #4254), where she sees adults, children, and families. She is co-author of two book for parents, Smart Parenting for Smart Kids: Nurturing Your Child’s True Potential (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) and The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends (Little, Brown). She’s also the author of an award-winning children's book, What About Me? 12 Ways to Get Your Parents' Attention Without Hitting Your Sister (Parenting Press).

A sought-after expert on parenting and children's social and emotional development, Dr. Kennedy-Moore has been a featured guest on many nationally syndicated radio shows, and she has been quoted in dozens of magazines and newspapers, including Parents, Parenting, Family Circle, and The Chicago Tribune. She frequently speaks at schools and conferences. Dr. Kennedy-Moore and her husband have 4 children.

Mark S. Lowenthal, PsyD, has a full-time private practice in Maplewood, NJ (lic. #2760), working with children, adolescents, and adults. Previously, he served as the Director of the Child and Adolescent Outpatient Psychiatric Program at Trinitas Hospital, in Elizabeth, NJ. Dr. Lowenthal has been a long-time advocate on behalf of children with mental health issues, helping to shape policy on a state and local level. He and his wife have 2 children.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Laurie Gray for Readers' Favorite

"Smart Parenting for Smart Kids: Nurturing Your Child’s True Potential" by Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, and Mark S. Lowenthal, PsyD, explains how and why children struggle and distills “smart” parenting into four essential components: a compassionate ability to view the world through our children’s eyes; the confidence to set judicious limits; a commitment to turn toward our children more often than away; and faith in our children’s ability to grow and learn. The authors identify seven fundamental challenges, devoting a chapter to each: Tempering Perfectionism, Building Connection, Managing Sensitivity, Handling Cooperation and Competition, Dealing with Authority, Developing Motivation, and Finding Joy. Drawing upon their own professional training and experience, they offer insightful strategies and research-based solutions, demonstrating practical application through the use of two, three or four specific vignettes that represent typical behavior issues in each chapter. The book includes an index and an extensive selection of recommended reading for both parents and professionals.

This is one of the most encouraging and empowering parenting books I have encountered. There is no elaborate system of rewards and punishments to “fix” children by controlling and manipulating them into conformity to our desired outcomes. Instead, the strategies are the ones we can use to “parent” ourselves, turning us into positive examples of the behavior we desire for our children and giving us the “parenting” experience we need to parent our children more successfully. Dr. Kennedy-Moore and Dr. Lowenthal emphasize that a child’s true potential is not in performance and achievement, but in the capacity for personal growth and life-long learning innate in every child. I highly recommend this practical guide to all parents who want to cultivate their children’s inner strength and outward compassion and help their children create their own meaningful and satisfying lives.

Anne B.

"Smart Parenting For Smart Kids: Nurturing Your Child’s True Potential" by Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Mark S. Lowenthal is well worth reading. In my judgment this book is unsurpassed in the long list of parenting books on the market.

This book covers a wide variety of parenting topics. They begin with the issue perfectionism. Children that strive for perfectionism tend to be self-critical and they even offer suggestions for dealing with this concern. This chapter offers assistance in encouraging your child to develop friendships and working on tasks that they do not excel in. Many children do not know how to deal with criticism, disappointment, or conflict, however, parents can assist their children in increasing their skills in this area. Various other topics covered are: dealing with authority, developing motivation, and learning to cooperate. Last but certainly not least is helping your child to find their joy. A child with a positive attitude will be emotionally happier. As parents we all want our children to be happy and well adjusted. Are we as parents short circuiting that possibility with our expectations?

Authors Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Mark S. Lowenthal write in a manner that is easy to read and understand. They add just enough humor to their text to make it interesting and never dry. I love the examples in each chapter. This book is broken into well-organized sections that never overwhelm. The authors use COMMON-SENSE methods that are insightful and practical. I so wish this book was available when I was raising my children. Smart Parenting For Smart Kids would make a great baby-shower gift.

Alice D.

"Smart Parenting for Smart Kids" is one of those perfect books that all parents of elementary school age children should own, read, and keep on their bedside stands to refer to daily. Authors Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Mark Lowenthal are highly knowledgeable in the field of working with families regarding their children's education and it shows in her clear, informative writing as well as the index and bibliography at book's ending. Aware that modern day parents stress over too many things, including signing their toddlers up for gym to develop gross motor skills, Authors Kennedy-Moore and Lowenthal so that parents will know how to act, think, and talk with their children in a way that will develop the child's inner strengths, their capacity to learn and grow and become their own person. The give strategies to help children temper their self-criticism, to be less afraid of trying and to be brave enough to make mistakes. How much better a reference for good parenting is there than this?

"Smart Parenting for Smart Kids" is a well-written and well-edited book that should be in the hands of all parents as ready reference tool. The authors offer page after page of excellent suggestions on parenting that can actually be applied in everyday life. The write, "To learn you have to be brave enough to make mistakes" and in dealing with the defensive child, the state, "Excuses take away our power to make things better." This book will help parents and children through many different situations including competition, bullying, completing school work, and getting along with other children. A perfect book for modern-day parents!

Joy H.

Smart kids not only come from what they learn in school, it’s what they learn at home that helps them face some the challenges they go through. The authors wrote this book to parents and guardians of children to help them face some of these challenges and issues. Parents will find ways to guide children toward developing their inner strength and outward empathy they need. Throughout this book, the reader will find different strategies for helping children deal with the pressures they face, learn to cope with their feelings, build better and lasting relationships and find contentment in who they are.

When I first started reading this book, I thought some of the suggestions were just too simple, but as I kept reading, the words of this book captured by attention more and more. The authors give many examples of how a child may express their feelings to their parents, and a number of different ways for parents to deal with their child and give valuable answers to help the child deal with their situation.

This book is set up to where you don’t need to read the entire book at one time. You can go to the chapter that deals with what your child needs help with. You, as a reader will be surprised at how simple some of the tips and ideas are, but they are so valuable, and the will work. And I know this because I practiced a few of these on my 3year old niece. It’s all in knowing how to react around kids and what to say to them.

I highly recommend this book to every parent. You will appreciate how both authors expertly tackle these issues with the compassion they have for children.

Kristie I.

“Smart Parenting for Smart Kids,” written by Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Mark S. Lowenthal is a comprehensive guide for finding a child’s true potential. The authors begin the book discussing the word “potential,” pressure that is placed on our children, challenges that parents face and explaining why they wrote the book. The book is then split into seven chapters, each one addressing one of the challenges. For example, chapter three focuses on managing sensitivity and chapter six developing motivation. Each chapter includes questions, general information and further explanation and discussion of the challenge, vignettes and strategies.

I found this book to be an excellent resource and guide as well as thought-provoking. Each chapter is filled with a lot of information; however it is not overwhelming. The chapters are split into well-defined sections making the book user/reader-friendly and there are bulleted lists and charts throughout as well which are great additions and useful. The vignettes interspersed throughout the book were probably my favorite aspect as they provide real-life examples and also help the reader to not feel alone with dealing with a problem. Also, the strategies that are included are practical and ones that can be easily attempted. The information is well-researched and reinforced by other sources making this is a worthwhile read and resource for parents. It is not a book that is written in a judgmental manner or intended to cause the reader to feel as if he or she is not an adequate parent as it is a gentle approach and really a guide book reinforcing current parenting techniques and offering new suggestions that may be successful with the reader’s child.

Stephanie D.

"Smart Parenting for Smart Kids" by clinical psychologists Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Mark S Lowenthal, opens with talking about the ‘child improvement industry’ that has grown up so that all kids can fulfill their ‘potential’. But what is potential? We learn that it’s not about impressive accomplishments, but is the capacity to grow. We live in a narcissistic age where everyone seeks admiration through being good at this or excelling in that. Such an attitude is not healthy for our children. We all need to make mistakes in order to learn. The authors offer their alternative of seven core challenges that each child faces: tempering perfectionism, building connection, managing sensitivity, handling cooperation and competition, dealing with authority, developing motivation and finding happiness. Each of these is discussed through offering strategies for parents to adopt and finishes with a ‘show the way’ section with direct advice on how we adults can set the best possible example in this particular area for our kids.

Four components of smart parenting emerge which center on compassion, setting limits, being committed to supporting our kids, and having faith in their abilities. This is a book I know I shall be constantly coming back to in the future as my children have their ups and downs. This is exactly the way the authors want us to use it. It’s about the long term and steady progress. I’ve already seen that some of my reactions to these in the past haven’t been the most productive so, like my kids, I need to adjust some of my own approaches and attitudes to help them live the most fulfilling lives they can. The book has an index, which is a fantastic feature.