> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Book Review: The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World by Katie Hurley
Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Book Review: The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World by Katie Hurley

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge,from Tarcher Press, 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

The parent-child partnership did not improve when parent became a verb. In the last generation the proliferation of books teaching how “to parent” has increasingly made parents feel lost rather than found. Katie Hurley’s The Happy Kid Handbook helps to point us back to simply being parents by looking at the challenges of raising children from the point of view of the childHappy kids make better learners.”

-Rick Ackerly, author of The Genius In Every Child: Encouraging Character, Curiosity and Creativity in Children


With all the parenting information out there and the constant pressure to be the perfectparent, it seems as if many parents have lost track of one very important piece of the parenting puzzle: raising happy kids. 

Parenting today has gotten far too complicated. It’s never been the easiest job in the world, but with all the “parenting advice” parents are met with at every corner, it’s hard not to become bewildered. It seems that in the past it was a good deal simpler. You made sure there was dinner on the table and the kids got to school on time and no one set anything on fire, and you called it a success. But today everybody has a different method for dealing with the madness--attachment parenting, free-range parenting, mindful parenting. And who is to say one is more right or better than another? How do you choose?  
 The truth is that whatever drumbeat you march to, all parents would agree that we just want our kids to be happy. It seems like a no-brainer, right? But in the face of all the many parenting theories out there, happiness feels like it has become incidental. That’s where The Happy Kid Handbook by child and adolescent psychotherapist and parenting expert Katie Hurley comes in. She shows parents how happiness is the key to raising confident, capable children. It’s not about giving in every time your child wants something so they won’t feel bad when you say no, or making sure that they’re taking that art class, and the ballet class, and the soccer class (to help with their creativity and their coordination and all that excess energy). Happiness is about parenting the individual, because not every child is the same, and not every child will respond to parenting the same way. By exploring the differences among introverts, extroverts, and everything in between, this definitive guide to parenting offers parents the specific strategies they need to meet their child exactly where he or she needs to be met from a social-emotional perspective. A back-to-basics guide to parenting, The Happy Kid Handbook is a must-have for any parent hoping to be the best parent they can be.


If you read ONE book on parenting this year, make sure it is this one!

Seriously. You need this book.

Why? Because it brings back COMMON SENSE along with a bit of rational psychology that can really help you, if you are struggling to understand your kid who is the 'total opposite of you'. We've all been there. Where our kids can push all the wrong buttons and leave us secretly screaming 'I will not kill them,' over and over. Be honest, you know you've been there, especially if you have anxious child, or one prone to high drama. 

Katie give you honest comparisons between extrovert and introvert kids, and how many kids really fall or fluctuate between the two, and how the drama comes from that fluctuating grey area, as parents struggle to keep up. Kate's tips were especially useful for me, as I was getting Miss Grace ready for her first irish dance Feis (competition), which is a passion that Kate's daughter also shares (!!), so she has been there and understands the unique stresses of that sport. And she does see dance as a sport- yeah! her chapter on encouraging, but setting limits will be VERY helpful to parents whose kids are more than likely over-engaged and truly needing some comforting down time to take away the stress they are under.

Katie's tips on dealing with the anxious/dramatic child are VERY useful when it comes to competitevness between kids, especially siblings. She helps parents understand how to help their child not only learn to control out of control anger and envy, but to learn to channel the emotion and understand it. Which in the common sense world we were raise din means kids learn to COPE. What a concept. teaching kids to overcome an obstacle, get passed a roadblock, and beat a mental scrimmage. 

You know, the things they need to be happy ADULTS. 

Yes, you CAN help your child be the adult you want them to be! This book will get you well on your way and it is a very quick read, so you won't feel like you're getting bogged down in the details. You can ead a chapter or two at a time, apply some of the learned principles and continue on. I really can't recommend this book enough and urge everyone to check it out!


Katie Hurley, LCSW, is a child and adolescent psychotherapist and parenting expert in Los Angeles, California. Hurley earned her bachelor of arts in psychology and women's studies from Boston College and her master of social work from the University of Pennsylvania. Hurley also has extensive training in play therapy from the University of California, San Diego. For seven years, Hurley worked for The Help Group, a large nonprofit dedicated to children with learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and emotional disturbances. She now has a private practice counseling children, adolescents, and families and writes for her blog, Practical Parenting, in addition to contributing to The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Inc.Moonfrye, and All Parenting. Above all, Hurley is very proud to be called Mommy by Riley, age seven, and Liam, age five.

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