Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: It's Your Kid Not A Gerbil

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I love parenting books, because I always want to do things the right way.  Even though I know in my heart of hearts that there is no right way to do most of parenting, I still snatch up every parenting book I can get my hands on, just in case it has the elusive right way to do something.  I tend to follow many things that come out of Focus on the Family, so why have I never read anything by Dr. Kevin Leman? 

In It's Your Kid Not A Gerbil, Dr. Leman challenges families to create a happier and less-stressed home by an earth-shattering technique: removing activities.  Parents today are obsessed with making sure their kids have opportunities they didn't have and giving them the best and allowing them to try every single different activity out there so they know what they might be interested in.  This doesn't produce super-kids; it produces super-stressed kids.  It produces kids who begin to believe that their worth lies in what they can do, rather in simply who they are.  It also keeps you from leaving the imprint you long to have on your child's life, as they get the majority of input from other people, like coaches and teachers.  Dr. Leman reveals the secrets to battling the "busy hands are happy hands" myth, choosing activities wisely, and creating an atmosphere your kids will love to come home to.

My girls are tiny right now, but I can definitely see the lure of the activity trap.  My little Pumpkin Pie is so social, that I could see myself signing her up for a number of different activities just to feed her social appetite.  But, when I think about it, I want the biggest influence in her life to be her family, not all her friends.  This book has helped me to be aware of what lies ahead, and to come up with a game plan of how to handle it. 

My two favorite aspects were Dr. Leman's theories on quantity time vs. quality time, and the value of boredom.  Dr. Leman believes that quality time is a bunch of hooey and it truly is quantity time that matters.  The reason for this is the fact that quality time is so relative, and parents who preach quality time only don't realize that they are the ones coming up with the definition of quality time.  What is quality time to them most often is not quality time to the kid.  The kid knows when the parents are spending "quality" time with them just to assuage their guilt about not being around more often.  As far as boredom goes, parents tend to over-schedule their kids because they fear boredom.  Dr. Leman emphasizes the good in boredom, as boredom is truly the springboard for creativity.  Take away the springboard, and many kids don't ever get the chance to truly see how creative they can be.

I loved this book.  I think it will speak to parents of kids of EVERY age.  And you can be sure that I am now going to read every Dr. Leman book I can get my hands on.  I've already reserved one from the library.

And guess what?  You can win a copy!  Tyndale House publishers sent me a certificate for one copy of this book to give to YOU.  All you have to do is leave a comment telling me either a.) your favorite childhood family tradition or b.) a tradition you are implementing in your family right now.  Don't forget to leave an email address so I know how to contact the winner!  This giveaway ends at midnight on Tuesday, September 13.

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book as a part of their blogger book review program.


  1. That looks like a great book. I'm afraid I'm not as good at developing family traditions as my mom was, but I'm working at it. One of my favorite traditions from childhood was at Christmastime. We would have a candle night where we would turn off all the lights in the house, light as many candles as we could find (which was quite a few) and played Christmas music. It was a lot of fun and always got us in the Christmas spirit.

  2. I Love Dr. Leman's stuff and am glad you found him! I'm so glad to hear someone, especially him, finally addressing this issue of busy-ness. Jeni (Ford, now Lee) have discussed this numerous times and totally agree w/ what you've said!!
    A favorite tradition in our family was always the family vacations =) We took one every summer, often to the beach. Yes, it was long hours in the car, sibling fighting, but we managed to survive all that and make some super fun memories, many of which are documented with many family photos!

  3. My favorite family tradition was that on our birthdays, we had root beer floats for breakfast. With all our activities (oops), that was often the only time of the day that all of us were home.

  4. I recently learned how to request that my library order a book if they don't already have it. I just requested this book. I have read other books by Dr. Leman, but nothing like this one. Thanks for the recommendation!