Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Parenting Like Hannah:
Ask More, Tell Less: A Practical Guide for Helping Children Achieve Self-Reliance
by Greg Warburton
Publisher: Outskirts Press
When faced with a misbehaving child, do you find yourself resorting to lecturing, reminding, or even yelling? Do you sometimes feel helpless and panicky after you have tried everything you know to do and your child still seems “out of control” or withdrawn? Do you feel frustrated when nothing you are doing is moving your children to be responsible and achieve their unique potential? Ask More, Tell Less provides a new model of parenting that can help transform the growing-up years. Life will become fulfilling and enjoyable rather than an ongoing, painful collision of wills. Behavior troubles diminish or vanish when children discover that they have the power to make their lives run more smoothly. These methods are not a “cater to the children” approach. Instead, they take the pressure off parents and put the whole family on a positively different road, traveling together in a land of mutual dignity and respect, maturity, and lasting change. Greg Warburton brings time-tested, practical methods out from behind the counselor’s door to enable you to give your children the greatest gift of all: self-reliance. Through artful questioning, you can give them a clear and compelling road map for getting on with growing up in this rapidly changing world.
Have you ever said “What in the world were you thinking” to a child? My guess is you didn’t get a very helpful response. Ask More, Tell Less: A Practical Guide for Helping Children Achieve Self-Reliance by Greg Warburton suggests asking the right questions can move you and your children from their reliance on your help to make good choices to their self-reliance.
Parts of this book were excellent and even introduced a couple of new ideas to me. I loved the idea of teaching kids not just to be honest with others, but honest with themselves. He accurately pointed out that often we lie to ourselves about our bad behaviors. Those lies keep us and our kids from making necessary changes. That is a perspective I don’t believe I have ever heard before and I believe it could be life changing for many kids (and adults).
I also appreciated the amount of time he put into helping parents understand the importance of really listening to your kids and asking questions that will help them reveal their hearts (my words, not his). He gives lots of examples of questions a parent could ask about a wide range of choices, attitudes and behaviors. While I believe some of his questions are not quite as open ended as he believes, they are definitely an improvement over the questions many parents typically ask.
Where I think the book falls a little short is that the author doesn’t really address Bloom’s taxonomy as it would apply to a child’s improved understanding of his/her behavior. The entire book is an attempt to move children from knowing the rules (facts) to understanding why those are rules and why it is important for them to be obeyed. Because the author doesn’t address scaffolding, he just barely touches on the need at times to “tell and lecture” rather than merely ask questions.
The reality is this method is probably most effective with elementary and perhaps middle school aged children (as it is written). Children of preschool age and below aren’t ready for the type of introspection this method requires. They are also still learning what a rule is and which rules they are supposed to follow. Teens would find many of these questions too childish in the way they are expressed. (Ex: “Are you growing up or growing down?”) I think the concept would still work with them, the questions would just need to be reworded to keep from alienating a teen.
My other concern was the author’s continued insistence on self-reliance. While I understand and agree with him to a point, self-reliance gone too far leaves no room for God.* This method also does nothing to address the need for God’s help in breaking bad habits. In fact, the author makes this method for changing a child’s behavior seem a little too easy. Once or twice he alluded to the fact a child did some backsliding, but I would imagine with any deeply ingrained bad habits the backsliding would be more common than was shared.
I also have a few concerns about celebrating “growing up” behaviors. While I do agree children should be celebrated when they master something like breaking a bad habit, the idea of a certificate for every tiny little step in the right direction seems a bit much. Personally, I skew a little more to the “life will not constantly reward you for doing what you are supposed to be doing” end of the scale. I am definitely an encourager, but I am afraid children who have every tiny appropriate action celebrated will go through life disappointed their friends and co-workers aren’t constantly giving them awards for doing what is expected (much less going the extra mile).
Whether you use this exact method or not, the author is correct in his basic premise. Your kids need to move from depending upon you to help them make good decisions to where they can make those godly choices without your help. The author’s questions are a good way to begin helping them make that transition. Having to answer questions that force them to take control of their actions and attitudes is a good first step..
[ reviewed by Thereasa Winnett of Parenting Like Hannah ]
* PLEASE NOTE: Self-Publishing Advisor does not endorse any specific faith ot religion.
Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:
I’ve been a child and adolescent psychologist for 30 years, but must admit I found Greg’s approach with young people and their families to be a breath of fresh air and a resource of fresh, doable ideas. It’s a great book for parents, but child-service professionals certainly would benefit from having it on their bookshelf.
In short, what Greg shares works, and it fosters deeper relationships. Greg understands the frustration of parents who struggle with a child’s behavior, and he shows Mom and Dad how to take a deeper look that, more often than not, reveals how an issue is not an attack against them at all. He shows them a perspective and skills that work to resolve REAL problems experienced by REAL parents.
It’s been long know that the best way to confront a youngster about his or her behavior is with a noncoercive approach, otherwise it’s possible to address one problem and end up with three more. (After all, who really LIKES confrontation?) Greg’s approach on HOW to approach that youngster with questions that don’t threaten but rather open up their ability to reflect on their behavior allows the child or teen to “fix” problems themselves. And that’s every parent’s dream.
– Amazon Reviewer James D. Sutton (5/5 stars)
We as parents have a way of telling our kids what they have done wrong instead of listening to why they did what they did. That ends up hurting the parents and the child and their relationship. Make the question as to why they forgot or why they didn’t do something, a positive thing. Sometimes questions that are asked in an angry tone only get you no where but more angry. It takes a lot of practice to learn when and what questions are right to ask. The more you practice this positive approach, the easier and more natural it becomes. When a child is constantly being yelled at because he hasn’t done what he should have, his self esteem goes lower and lowers. Without self esteem and confidence, a person becomes afraid to try new things. They would rather do nothing instead of try and fail. Failing causes people to yell at you. Communication is very important between people. Not just young people but everyone. When you communicate in a positive way, usually the response is positive. Positive thoughts help create self esteem and with self esteem comes confidence and self reliance. You begin to rely on yourself instead of letting everyone take care of what you should be taking care of. When a parent changes, they will find the child changing too. Parenting skills are not easy to acquire. But it is well worth the effort to keep trying. The family as a whole will become happier and healthier.
– Amazon Reviewer gayle pace (4/5 stars)
Thanks for reading! Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space every Saturday!
Self Publishing Advisor