Book Reviews



Kirkus Review

A debut guide for parents focuses on talking with their children about a wide variety of subjects.

The core of Lambroschino’s frank and lucid book is disarmingly simple: The key to successful parenting is consistent, open communication with one’s children. As any parent can attest, this is far more challenging than it appears on the surface. Parents can find themselves lapsing into a predominantly disciplinary role. As the author writes, “Conversations may become a one-way torrent of terse demands from parent to child: clean up your room, finish your homework, put away that phone.” And kids go through many kinds of reticence themselves, whether born of juvenile confusion or adolescent resentment. In all stages and at all times, Lambroschino urges communication precepts that are often overlooked despite the fact that they’re plain and straightforward: Be respectful, refrain from ridicule, and take things seriously. These fundamentals acquire added urgency in the book’s strongest sections, which deal with the challenges of parenting teens through the world of social media, peer pressure, alcohol, and even drugs. The natural urges of parents to be overprotective are examined for the potential harm they can do. The author deftly throws light on the possible rewards of parents’ extending greater trust to their teens. “If the child is not allowed to make mistakes while under the protection of his parents,” she writes, “he will have no experience in recognizing a mistake and recovering from it when he is in the world alone.” Lambroschino helpfully breaks up her book—which features stock photographs—into bulleted points, lists of essentials, and motivational quotes. But the manual’s most useful quality is its clear, nonjudgmental prose, smoothly talking parents through potential trouble spots and basic responsibilities in a way they should find invaluable. In addition, there’s a subtext of reliability throughout the guide that derives from the fact that the author interviewed many teenagers directly.

An inviting, readable, and accessible manual for parents of kids of all ages.