My parents are readers. And sometimes, when they come across a book that’s just too good not to share, the one who started reading first just rips that thing in half (down the binder), and passes the first chunk on.

They also fold over pages in such a way that they can find the exact spot they liked so much after they’re done.
Although I have yet to tear a book down the center, I have embraced the page-fold-over thing. I love it. Forget highlighting sections you have to flip through to find, this is way better. And there’s nothing like finding a good book that speaks to you so much that half the pages are turned over.

Here’s my latest book read:It’s called “The Parenting Breakthrough.” Can you tell I like it? Can you tell how far I’ve read?

Yep, just about half way.

So I can’t speak for the whole book at this point, but so far I’m telling you this: every parent should read this book. Sure it’s a teeny bit cheesy here and there. But once you get over that part, man alive it’s got some great points for parents who want to teach their kids to work hard and deal with money and be independent. And every parent wants that, right? That Merrilee Boyack (the author) is one smart lady.

These are my favorite parts of the book so far:

The “three basic parenting principles:” 1) You are not responsible for making your children happy all the time. Children need to experience frustration and trials in order to grow and blossom. 2) The best self-esteem for children comes from being able to do things on their own. Don’t rush in and scoop away the tough stuff. That’s the stuff that will make them grow. And 3) Remember that we are the parents and we are in charge. I love President David O. McKay’s quote: “The home is the first and most effective place for children to learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self-control; the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life. Nothing can take the place of home in rearing and teaching children, and no other success can compensate for failure in the home.” Wow, that’s a pretty big responsibility.

I love the section in this book where it lists what household things kids should reasonably be able to do at certain ages. I feel like we teach our kids to work pretty well around here, and some of the things on the list are things that come as second nature because they’re things I’m interested in. But I never thought of teaching my nine-year-old to fill our car with gas, nor have I sat down and had a serious conversation with my thirteen-year-old about how to use an ATM…which discussion must really start out with all that mumbo jumbo about bank accounts and savings, etc. (I’ve thought about it, but never kicked myself into gear to actually do it yet.). Have you ever thought of teaching your twelve-year-old to make and keep a dentist appointment? What about teaching your nine-year-old to vacuum the interior of a car? They’re all things of course you want to teach your kids, but sometimes you just don’t sit down and make a plan to do it. And man alive, those things make a good building block to jump from to other things that are important to talk about and teach. I made up a big list of things from the lists in that book to work on for Family Home Evening every once in a while. One of them was how to sew on buttons (they were enthralled).

I also love that it talks about how you can “certify” your kids to do certain jobs in your house. Teach them really well how to clean a toilet and then they are a “certified” toilet-cleaner (maybe even give them a certificate??). And after they’re certified they get a big reward: they get to teach a sibling how to do that job! Is that exciting or what? But seriously, if you catch kids at an early enough age they will be pleased as punch about teaching a sibling how to do something they do well.

Right now I’m in the middle of the part about money and it’s speaking to me so far. More on that part next week cause I have tons of thoughts about that one…mixed in with my favorite money theories from my parents, and the ones Dave and I are conjuring up in our own family as we speak.

Of course, my very favorite mothering book is “I Didn’t Plan to be a Witch” written by my own dear mother. And I can’t wait to get my hands on this book my parents are working on which will be coming out soon…that one is going to be a wing-dinger on the whole teaching kids ownership principle.

In the meantime though, I need to try to find a few minutes to hunker down and read the rest of this little gem…

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  1. I did read that book and it had some gems, but my current favorite book is "A joyful Mother of Children." by your Mom. She is amazing. I love all her great ideas and love that so much of what she wrote way back when is EVEN MORE relevant now!

  2. That is also one of my favorite parenting books! In addition to a couple by the Eyres & one certain Pothier lady. 😉 I love her practical applications of how/when to get children to become more independent & especially her advice on teaching them how to be financially savvy.
    p.s. Love the junior high pictures. Max & Elle are gorgeous.

  3. This is a great book. I also like her latest book called "In trying times, just keep trying!" She talks about her battle with breast cancer, her husband's loss of work and several other battles that she encountered all at the same time. Ultimately it is a great handbook on how to become closer to the Savior. Which is, of course, the most important thing we can teach our kids!

  4. I LOVE the idea of empowering the kids to do things on their own! Since I've got a special needs 12 year old that can't do a lot of things independently, my other 4 have been "spoiled"…any thoughts on this? I know yours is last, so that probably makes it a bit easier (or maybe worse, since she's the baby?), but having an older child that I'm already doing things for leads to me do it for EVERYBODY, and now that I'm saying enough is enough, I'm surrounded by a chorus of "how come you'll do it for HIM?/why doesn't HE have to?/etc etc etc." Any secrets?

    p.s Pumping gas if you're under the age of 16 is against the law….at least here in Texas. And yes, I've been totally busted 😉

  5. Oh yes, thank you for reminding me, Brittany and Rachel, to mention my very favorite parenting books. I'm not at all biased 😉 but they really are the best.

  6. That's probably my favorite parenting book. I don't follow every detail of her system, but I've done enough of it to really make a difference in our family. My 8 and 10 year-olds' friends are amazed that they make their own lunches every day.

    Thanks for the reminder–I'm about due to check those lists and teach the kids more life skills.

  7. So glad you discovered Merilee, she is one of my favorites from education week, I never miss her classes whenever I get there, I agree, she is one smart lady.

  8. I've been reading your book…hence how I know about your blog. And it has me so excited about being a Mom. I even book marked some of it for my husband (he's not really into reading "my" books) and left it in the bathroom and he's really liking it too. So I trust your opinions on books. I just ordered a bunch of your Mom's books. I've added this one to my list!

  9. I need to get that book! I can't wait for your money post… our children are 3 and 5, and we are just starting to think of allowances, etc. I've read (but need to re-read) the post on your parents' website about kids and money. So much to figure out!!

  10. I've got to say I didn't like this book. I really wanted to! I loved Merrilee's marriage book and had high hopes for the parenting book but quickly realized her way of parenting was soooooooo different than mine. I could not get past her kid making a sandwich on the kitchen floor and other such examples she used. On a separate note, I just attended a TOFW last weekend and purchased your book. So excited to start reading it!

  11. I love this book too! I plan to reread it before each summer break because there is more time in the summer to work on specific skills. The CD, "Teaching Your Children to Fly: A Guide to Independence" is basically an abridged audio version of the book. I got it first and loved it so much that I bought the book too.

  12. I have that book and refer to it often. And remember reading that book of your moms back when I only had 1 kid think I need to go back and read it again. I remember it being so true, real and funny.

  13. This is also one of my favorite parenting books. I reference this book often. A few other favorites I would recommend are: "The Time Starved Family" by DeAnne Flynn and "Before They Turn Twelve: Helping Children Gain A Testimony of the Lord's Standards" by Deborah Pace Rowley. I have ordered some of your parent's books and look forward to beginning them as soon as they get here!

  14. Oh I love this book as well! I'm an atheist Brit so had to work my way through a few little cultural differences (!) but still found it very useful. I didn't particularly agree with the stress laid on teaching your kids housework (to be honest, most kids do just fine working this out for themselves once the student digs get too grungy) but the idea of systematically working out what your kids need to know by age 18 and how you're going to get there is great. Car maintenance, money management… these really are the bits where it could make a difference if you've missed teaching them something.

  15. Thanks for the tip! I'm always looking for good ideas for raising successful, happy and responsible children. I love the idea "I'm not responsible for keeping my kids happy all the time." I can't be the "mother of all entertainment". It's amazing what happens when you encourage them to come up with their own ideas and expect them to entertain themselves sometimes.

  16. FWIW – I tried the "gas pumping" teachable moment with my then 8.5 year old son – he was good at it too! – and the gas station manager told us not too – liability, I guess? Seemed like a great idea at the time – do I get points for trying? 😉

  17. I'm new to your blog and just read this. I am a divorced mother of 2 children. One who is now in college and one who is now in high school. One way I taught my children first about managing money was through an allowance card through my bank. They had to manage their own money and I taught them how to use the ATM and checking out at stores and restraunts as well. I also taught them how to cook by having them in the kitchen with me as young children and later on by letting them cook meals together for me with verbals clues and cues only. Showing them how to make their favorite things.

  18. Hi! First of all I love your blog! I was wondering if you ever read these new comments on old posts? Any ways I think you brought up many good points in this post however teaching your kids to vacuum a car, use an ATM, or sew on a button? I think a great thing is when kids figure stuff out on their own! You of course have to teach them the basics but you can't teach them every little thing. If you try to then someday they will run across something they don't know how to do and they'll be wondering where mommy is to teach them how. That said, all of your kids seem pretty independent so you must be doing something right! Thanks for a great blog!

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