Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Book Review and Giveaway: Raising Can Do Kids by Richard Rende, PhD and Jen Prosek

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge,from Penguin Random House, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it,  all opinions are my own.

During the next 3 weeks, I'll be sharing 3 great new books about parenting and raising kids in our modern world,

With back to school upon us (EEK....3 1/2 weeks!), it might be time to rethink some approaches with your kids, as we struggle to adjust back into a routine, which for some of you might include big changes this year!

This first book tackles a subject that's been much talked about with my friends this Summer- how we can keep our kids on track when media bombards them with doing things differently than we want them to.


Advice for raising resourceful, resilient, and responsible children–based on the latest child development research.

“Success” is a popular buzzword in discussions about children. But instead of prescribing what success looks like for kids, we should be making sure that they develop the skills they will need to become “doers”—people who proactively seek out what they want in life. Raising Can-Do Kids offers parents hands-on, proven ways to raise kids who embrace the uncertain and challenging adventure that is growing up.

Read an Excerpt:
Check out an excerpt on the publishers website!


This is actually an update to Rende and Prosek's 2015 book, of the same name, which is a good thing, as social media and technology are so rapidly changing. 

For many reading the book will be an affirmation of the thoughts they hold- kids are not kids any more. By changing how we parent, much of what is essential for childhood, like imaginative play, unstructured free time and ability to make mistakes is taken away. Personally I cringe when I see toddlers with tablets in a store or park. There are SO many learning opportunities- count the oranges, how many fruits have the same colors, to teach toddlers to LOOK around them, but when they are given a screen to play, they learn to reduce their focus. SIGH. The authors make the correlation as well- toddlers need to learn by exploration, hands on, not in a tech world. Give the kids an art set, not an art app. They need to think and feel, to express themselves.

Think back to your own childhoods. How many of you helped to build forts or tree houses, to alter them as your imagination and needs changed. Adaptability was learned. When you had to figure out what to do next, sometimes simple looking at an ant taking a crumb across the sidewalk became the most interesting thing in the world. Yet, look what was learned-  we had a hands on STEM experience and we didn't even realize it! If we totally structure our kids, then how do they learn to make do for themselves, and to experience the world around them?

How many risks did you take as a kid? How many trials and errors were there? I have the scars on both elbows and knees to document numerous adventurous forays that my non-athletic body suffered for! Yet. I learned when it was ok to try new things, when to take the jump and leap of faith, and when to ascertain more data before I did. I was surrounded by adults who taught me to figure out the problem and solve it. We didn't have Google. We learned from experience and all that hands on play. 

I had to laugh when last week Miss Grace asked if "there was anything I couldn't figure out how to fix?" There's quite a bunch, but if I can't I know WHO to call that can! Call it can-do itness, but what we frequently are no longer teaching our kids, is to try and SOLVE a problem, that you might fail, but you will recover. This is one of the reasons I love that Miss Grace took so well to Irish Dancing- for all its glitz and glamour, these are TOUGH kids. They may not win a medal at competition, but they don't give up. They go back and practice and figure out what they can do BETTER, and get right back and try again. There are NO gimmes, they have to EARN their way up the ladder of success. How many extracurriculars still teach that? Ultimately I think that helps kids to be better leaders in the future- they've sloughed the course and know what it takes to achieve the top. 

When kids fail, by saying or doing the wrong thing, they LEARN. Period. When we don;t let them, we give them a false sense of self-esteem, and then when a failure comes (and it always does), they do not have the skills to handle it, emotionally or intellectually. When we teach kids responsibility, self-awareness and how to manage conflicts, we teach them HOW to cope. But when we teach kids that social media is a priority, is it no wonder that they have no idea how to handle conflict in REAL life? If they have not learned social cues and one on one  handling of conflicts, how can they adequately deal with the emotions and stress? And yes, it starts when kids are young. How we parent and model for kids, is how they learn too. 

If this book sounds like a lot of old fashioned common sense, then yes, a lot of it is. Only the authors have compiled to studies and research to show what we are actually loosing as parenting styles change. The book works to explain the 5 parenting principles the authors feel can help change your child's life around and help them learn to be a can-do kid. Reading them can help remind you of what to focus on with the new school year, and how to help your kids cope with issues that arise, so that they too can be a Can-Do kid! 

I highly recommend the book as a reminder of great parenting skills, and the book would be a great baby-shower present too!

About the Authors: 

Richard Rende, Ph.D., is a developmental psychologist, researcher, educator, and consultant. As a research professor at Brown University, he led many large-scale scientific projects on child development and parenting and served in multiple academic leadership roles. Rende distills scientific findings for parents and policy makers as a writer and speaker, and his work has been featured in Parents.com, Parenting.com, the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Yahoo!, CNN, MSNBC, Time.com, ABC News, and NPR. 

Jen Prosek is the founder and CEO of Prosek Partners, one of the top 35 independent public relations firms in the U.S. As a successful entrepreneur, Prosek is passionate about promoting entrepreneurship and her book, ARMY OF ENTREPRENEURS, provides a roadmap for businesses seeking to make their own organizations and employees more entrepreneurial. She received her MBA from Columbia University and BA in English literature from Miami University.

flashing Win


One reader will win this review copy of Raising Can Do Kids!

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