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The Parenting Breakthrough: Real-Life Plan to Teach Your Kids to Work, Save Money, and Be Truly Independent

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,516 Ratings  ·  517 Reviews
If more children were educated on savings, a host of ills from credit problems to bankruptcy to divorce would be avoided." -M. Boyack

Fun and practical, author Merrilee Boycak will have readers laughing out loud as well as feeling grateful for her parenting advice. She s a mom who s spent the last 22 years in the real-life work of parenting. "I have four sons, 13, 15, 17, a

Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Deseret Book Company
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Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
**Update: I emailed my concerns about this book to Deseret Book's publishing department. Lisa Mangum responded to me saying that she has spent some time with my email and the book and has marked places where the book needs to be changed if there is ever a reprint. My preference was to have the book removed from shelves until a suitble revision was made, but I guess I'm happy that Dereret Book took my concerns seriously.

I’ve heard about this book from several people, and I’m just now getting aro
Mar 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read this after reading Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement, by Kay Wills Wyma, and there is no comparison. Ms Wyma is a privileged mother raising privileged kids. She's trying to raise kids who are less handicapped by their privilege, but it's striking, nonetheless. Ms Boyack presents a plan and set of principles that will raise truly prepared and independent people. I'm thinking about buying the book, and for those of you who know my library h ...more
Jul 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book. Not because it is written well--it isn't. But the whole point of it is that if you want your kids to be independent adults one day you need to have a plan in place to make that happen. And she lays it all out for you with a time line and everything. You'll need to tweak it for your own family, but it has such great ideas, is a guiding light, etc., etc., that I keep it on my nightstand and refer to it often. I've not made the extensive long term goal list yet; however, I've deci ...more
Dec 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Warning: One of my longer reviews and I even edited a lot out.

This book covered a lot of bases, but a couple of things that I really enjoyed is how the author stressed not giving into our kids' wants and doing everything for them "because I love them". If we love our kids we would not do everything for them but teach them how to do everything for themselves; change a tire, clean a toilet, make a bed, manage their finances (she suggested that a four year old should be able to make their own brea
Feb 26, 2009 marked it as to-read
So my husband has two brothers who have never grown up. That is not a nitpicky thing, it's just factual truth of reality-ness. One is almost 30 and lives in his parent's basement still, playing video games and reading books and never socializing with human beings. (To be completely fair, he is just now, at this very moment, buying a townhouse and moving out on his own. But up until this moment, it has been 100% true.) The other brother comes and goes. He has one job, then loses it, then gets ano ...more
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
There was nothing earth shattering about the advice in this book, but there were some good take aways I am going to try in our family. I feel like my mom did a good job teaching us to be responsible and independent because she worked and we had to be, but as a stay at home mom I think I tend to "just do it myself" instead of teaching my kids. There is always room for improvement as parents!
Jennifer Hughes
Finally someone else has thought it all out--how I can teach my kids how to grow up to be knowledgeable, independent, self-reliant, and self-assured. I don't know anyone who doesn't want that! Fantastic, common-sense ideas that I haven't seen elsewhere.
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-2017-booklist
Brilliant, Brilliant, BRILLIANT!
May 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents who like parenting books or need ideas on this subject
Shelves: parenting
Loving it so far. "The Plan" includes lists of things kids should be able to do by age. Practical things like groom nails and hair, make a salad, answer phone calls, have a savings account, mail a letter, write a check, help purchase a car, etc.

I like her philosophy on parenting: our job is not to make our kids happy all the time. We are to nurture, protect, love, and train our kids to be independent.

Update: I finished the book in one flight, and I love it. I may even buy it. Or perhaps I'll wr
Aug 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting, lds-author

If I'm going to read a parenting book, I prefer one written by a real-life mom. That's just what this is. The writing style is conversational, like a chat across the kitchen table. The content is packed with sound, practical ideas. I particularly like that the author is raising four boys in the town next door to where I grew up in southern California.

Boyack begins by urging mothers not to let their nurturing instincts go into overdrive. If we do everything for our children, they won’t learn valu
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Notwithstanding the slightly creepy cover illustration and nondescript title, The Parenting Breakthrough is an awesome book! I have a parenting book addiction and this is one of my top 3 favorites of all time. It is by an LDS author, but other than some emphasis on saving money for missions the whole book is applicable to pretty much anybody (religious or not) who wants to raise children who will become decent, self-sufficient, resourceful adults.

This book gave me a longer-term vision for my fam
Dec 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: LDS moms
Recommended to Robin by: Julie
I liked this one. As far as parenting books go, I think it was really helpful in an unpretencious way. I didn't realize when I picked it up that she was a member of my church and so I found that so many of her experiences and tips were applicable to me in very specific ways. Of course it wasn't ALL about religeous stuff, though that was a key component. It goes a lot into helping kids develope a good work ethic and ideas on helping them understand money. The whole idea being that when they turn ...more
May 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Amy by: Annetta H
I enjoyed this book. I've never been into parenting books, but this was recommended by a neighbor so I thought I'd give it a try. I expected it would take longer to get through, as most non-fictions do, but it turned out to be a fairly quick read. I really enjoyed her candidness (she's real), and she has a straight forward approach to teaching our chldren to be independant. We do coddle our children too much, and although some of her ideas seem odd because we haven't as of yet considered them, t ...more
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it
I had a hard time rating this book, so I give it a non-committal 3 stars. I love the author's writing style, so it was much more fun to read than most parenting books. I also gained some perspective about how important it is for my kids to learn independence, and there were many great ideas to help parents teach their children. However, you have to keep in mind that the author has a right, since this is her book, to insert her own opinions. I agree with some, not others, and that is fine. For th ...more
Mar 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Her conversational tone got on my nerves and her traditionalist attitude about gender roles was a bit annoying and seemed very dated (despite this being published in 2004 or 2005). That being said, I really love the idea that at each age and stage you should be raising your child towards independence. Her list of things that each child should be doing at specific ages is something that I plan on using over and over and over. Today I just had my 4 year old try and make a peanut butter sandwich. H ...more
Jun 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book has some great ideas by a candid mother of four who seems to have hit the nose on the head--it's all about having a plan. Without a clear and concise plan we parents are just flailing about. I find her plan is a great jumping off point, especially her ideas on teaching children life-skills, how to work and money management. She didn't make me feel like she is fabulous at what she does with her children and I am not. In fact, she reminded me what we mothers and fathers are all trying to ...more
Oct 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a REALLY good book! I love how straight forward and to the point that the author is. Also love her "no guilt" philosophy. When I first saw the break down of what her kids did at each age I was in shock! They could do so much! I mean goodness toilets at 7 years old? But since working with her principals I see how completely necessary it is for kids to work so they can feel accomplishment. I also like how she talks about "training" kids (the same goes for training me too), so that by the t ...more
Dec 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents
Recommended to Danielle by: Gina
I wish I could buy this for every parent I know. A step by step guide on teaching kids responsibility! It even breaks it down into lists by ages. Your 3 year old should be able to dress himself, your five year old should be able to make his lunch, your 16 year old should be able to change the oil in the car. As a teacher I saw far too many children who were never trusted to be responsible for themselves. (One 9 year old's Mom walked him to class and sharpened his pencils everyday)! There are als ...more
Brooke Reynolds
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
The goal is for kids to learn certain skills (like making their bed and answering the telephone) year by year as they grow up so that by the time they leave the house as adults, they have all the skills they need to be self-reliant. Worth buying this book for her list of things kids should learn each year. We print them out on 3x5 cards for each kid and mark them off as they learn them. I don't think she's a great writer, but this book is a great idea.
Oct 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I really liked "The Plan" in this book--the idea is that there are a bunch of skills kids need to know before they leave home so why not have a plan for teaching them? It can be as flexible as a family wants it to be and has some great ideas and some interesting parenting-management techniques that you might find helpful. It's not a book about how to discipline your kids, but how to teach them to be independent.
Wonderful, practical and personal book on parenting. Loved her sense of humor. As a mother of ten, I've noticed to my chagrin, the content of parenting books varies and often I only get a grain or two of new and helpful advice & wisdom. I'd say this book was more helpful than most for me. She had several points that were a review, but all in all I enjoyed it, had good reminders, and learned some new tips for all ages.
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: motherhood
Awesome! I love when mothers take seriously the responsibility to teach and prepare their children to be responsible, independent adults. Lots of great ideas that my husband and I are discussing and adapting to meet the needs of our family. My favorite feature: a comprehensive list of skills to teach your children before they go out on their own and the approximate ages of when to teach them.
Jessilyn Peaslee
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Life-changing, inspirational, and hilarious. I pretty much feel like Merrilee is my best friend. :) I have five boys and this book has helped me in more ways than I can count. I have read it approximately a million times, and I'll read it a million more before these boys are grown. Thank you, Merrilee.
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Borrowed it from a friend but want my own copy ASAP! I will be retreading this and taking pointers often. I loved the last three chapters, the ideas of family themes and mottos, the advice to shut my yap and listen sometimes, and the allowance and overall feel of parenting taught in this book!
Kristen C
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I came away with a lot of good ideas to implement with my kids after reading this. Some of her ideas were a little too much for me, and she kind of lost me with the family mission statement and themes. But I really liked her suggestions on how to teach your kids to be financially independent. Also, her ideas for teaching new skills to your kids was something that has worked for our family.
Jun 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I have been thinking a lot about the skills I want to teach my kids so they learn to work and be independent, and then I fell upon this book - such a great, practical resource for raising kids with life skills and a good work ethic!
Apr 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is book is absolutely essential for any parenting library. It is a whole new (unfortunately) paradigm and the GREATEST book! It deals with teaching kids independence and the life skills they need to grow up and be adults.
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Parents
I loved this book. It gave me a lot of great ideas for teaching my kids how to be more independent. By implementing some of the ideas from this book it has made a huge difference in my family already.
Jun 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Excellent resource for involving your children in maintaining your family home and teaching them to become self sufficient adults. I especially liked the chart for what children can reasonably do (and be expected to do) at certain ages.
Kay Noble
Sep 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! I recommend it to parents who need direction in how to get your children to work, to save money for their future, etc.
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