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Teach Your Children Well: Why Values and Coping Skills Matter More Than Grades, Trophies, or "Fat Envelopes"

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  897 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Psychologist Madeline Levine, author of the New York Times bestseller The Price of Privilege, brings together cutting-edge research and thirty years of clinical experience to explode once and for all the myth that good grades, high test scores, and college acceptances should define the parenting endgame.

Teach Your Children Well is a toolbox for parents, providing informati
ebook, 352 pages
Published July 24th 2012 by Harper
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3.90  · 
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 ·  897 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
Disclosure: I received this book for advance review through Amazon Vine. I was not required to give a good or bad review but was asked to give my honest opinion of the book.

I wish that rather than advertising itself as a book about how to "parent for authentic success," this book was a little more open and upfront about just how specific and relatively small the actual audience for Levine's advice is. The advice in this book will be useless to you if you live in anything other than the elite upp
K.K. Wootton
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
I have a new suggested title for this book:
If Your Child Is 96.7% Perfect and You're Sort a Freak, Read This Book for a Few Tips on How to Chill Out,
by A Mom Who Did Pretty Much Everything Right (see examples inside).

There's some common sense in here, but it's obscured by the fact that the author writes off any kid who has been sleepless or high before the age of 17. If your kid is one of those, it's time to basically check him/her into the psycho ward. She does not address those kids.

(ex. page
Connie  Kuntz
Oct 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Connie by: NY Times
"Nobody knows me" is apparently a common complaint among children of all ages. I think the saddest thing any of my kids could ever say to me is "Nobody knows me" or, more to the point, "You don't know me." This book reminded me of how easy it is to lose my kids' trust, and I am thankful for that reminder. And a little scared.

There were nice little sentences here and there. "Failure is both inevitable and desirable" was one of them. So was "It takes calm, unhurried time to learn to tune in." And
Sep 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I picked this book up at the library after hearing the author speak on an NPR talk show.

As I read the introduction I thought, "Hmm, maybe I should buy this book, it seems like something I'll want to read more than once." But I waited to see how it went before making a commitment to it.

The premise of the book is that there is more to success than high grades and "fat envelopes" which I assume to mean acceptance packages from elite universities. I didn't need any convincing on that, but I wanted
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sometimes, by serendipity, you end up reading the right book at just the right time. This was the right book for me, right now.

I heard Madeline Levine interviewed last year when this book first came out. Based on the interview, I thought it sounded like an interesting but somewhat impersonal overview of what's wrong with our current educational system. And indeed, the book does talk about the disconnect between what and how our schools teach and the kind of people we envision our children becom
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I can't fault the advice in this book. It's excellent. The author summarizes the book nicely in its last chapter: "If there's a heartbeat to this book, it's about the value of self-reflection." "What allows us free choice as a parent, partner, friend, and individual is about having digested our own experiences. Self reflection or introspection is not navel-gazing, it's the challenging task of taking in our history, our life experiences and our feelings, processing them, and integrating them into ...more
I don't know much about children or psychology; I just really enjoy this author's writing style. Very clear, practical, simply stated. She is furious that the American educational system is putting so much emphasis on test scores, class rankings, Advanced Placement classes, school rankings, and elite universities. Instead of the system being a race to the top, she says it's a bad fit for kids who aren't that intellectual and puts way too much pressure on the intellectual kids. She urges parents ...more
Corina Murafa
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a very useful reading for any parent, particularly for parents with children aged toddler and upwards and definitely indispensable for parents of preteens and teens. It challenges our contemporary competition-driven worldview and guides us in going back to the basics of success: being in tune with yourself, focused on well-being, empathic, resilient and with a healthy dose of self-efficacy. Could be easily transformed into a cheat sheet, as it’s very well-structured. I appreciated the pract ...more
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read on parenting kids that become competent adults.
A good summation of positive parenting techniques, mostly focused on the definition of "success" and "failure." Instead of the relentless focus on academic success that drives some kids to stressed, sleep-deficient, self-harming states, Dr. Levine encourages parents to recognize that "in the real world, success has all kinds of different faces." And instead of seeing our work as parents as "crisis intervention," she advocates a paradigm shift to refocus on "our most important job--to provide a c ...more
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoy her books as both a parent and an educator. I have been saying much of what she did for the last decade of teaching.Too many kids are going to college who should not be college bound. Instead they need to be encouraged to go into other fields-trades, etc. instead the stigma has been placed that everyone needs to go to college, it has become a competition among parents. My own son just recently graduated from high school. The first question I get is where is he going to college ...more
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
i do not have kids, but hear me out as to why this is a good book for us all: if you think of parenting as "running another person's life," then can't we all benefit from parenting books because they're about how to run lives? And by extension, they're about how to run "our own lives"? Exactly. What I took away from this book is that we should all reward ourselves (and/or our kids) for progress, grit, and soft skills and chill out about achievement and extrinsic rewards.
Jan 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Not as good as Ms.Levine's "The Price of Priviledge", which I consider essential reading for the parents of any middle/high schoolers, but still a good book for guiding parents in how to nurture and create healthy expectations for their children as they grow up.
Aug 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Provides a good perspective of pressure on suburban, upper middle-class kids and the negative affects that come with such demands.
Michael Simon
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Teach Your Children Well" is in many ways an extension of the work and insights Levine shared with us in "The Price of Privilege." She has sometimes been criticized for blaming parents or putting too much responsibility on them to solve the problems highlighted by the kids in her practice and I wonder if this volume will do much to lessen that criticism.

For those of you don't want to read the whole diatribe here, you might want to take a look especially at Chapter 7 ("Protecting the Wish to Lea
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Overheard at the beach this morning

Kid: "I don't want to play soccer anymore. I don't like it"
Mom: "Well you're playing soccer so learn to like it!"

My heart breaks for this kid and for this Mom. The fact is that our system is broken and it's hurting our kids. But our fear of losing out, our fear that our kids won't be able to get ahead, is keeping us from just breaking the system and replacing it with a new one. We deny that it's a problem. We over-schedule with activities and overemphasize the
For most of this book I was prepared to give it a two star rating. It isn't the type of book based on rigorous scientific data that I prefer; rather it is based on the author's experience with patients at her clinical psychology practice. It also seemed to be full of generic, wishy-washy "try to do this," "try not to do that," and "parenting is hard" advice. Finally, it seemed to assume that the reader was a mother, not a father, a personal pet peeve of mine.

Then, in the final two chapters, it r
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I really did appreciate Levine’s take on raising children who are all around well adjusted in the world rather than just academically successful. I have to admit, though, that I didn’t fully agree with her approaches on teenage drug use and sex. My personal beliefs in those matters are grounded in my religious views and cannot condone some of what was addressed in the book. But overall, the principles that she discussed were very enlightening.
North Landesman
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Levine offers some excellent advice here. To quote a co-worker, I found myself nodding often. It was nice to have someone agree with me fully. Yet, that may be the problem here. Yes, we all want to raise kind, resilient, enthusiastic children. Yes, we need to be loving, give them space, and set firm limits. What here is new? Who does this help?
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent book on values and coping skills and why they are so necessary. Provides really good information on how to bring these things into your parenting. Also gives great story examples of how getting caught up in the race to the top and materialism harms our relationships with our children and hurts them in life.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this easy-to-read parenting book. It's amazing how CHILDREN haven't changed... but our society has. This book gives great tips and well-thought advice. I highly recommend it for the parent who needs to stop over-scheduling their child.
Q. D.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall, this book seemed like a summary of research I had heard or read elsewhere. It's not bad, just not anything new. I was hoping to hear some new angle or perspective.

The idea that 'parenthood development' should occur alongside 'childhood development' was an interesting choice of words.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read in a long time. Solid research, no platitudes, straight forward and actionable. I really appreciate this book and think it will be worth going back to at different stages
Ainsley Grace Mowat
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a must-read for parents of teens. I feel like I get my daughter now, and I see my role more clearly at this stage of her life.
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was worth reading. I especially value it as a reference book, to consult when your children are certain ages. like in middle school, for greater insights.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, self-help
Some good advice, clearly aimed at upper middle class or higher
Jenny Chin
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
worth reading
some very good ideas
we do need to teach our children valves and not only shooting for the grades and the rewards
Jul 10, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Buyer beware

Don't bother buying this version unless you own a device that begins with i, as the enhancements won't work on anything else.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Most useful part was the last few chapters
Nov 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Nutshell: Reinforces good ideas about parenting I already know, worth reading but not buying until it comes out in paperback, skipped the end which is filled with many workbook-type activities because I am not into stuff like that. Loved her 7 Essential Skills in the second half of the book.

More detail/quotes I enjoyed:

"No child is better off in front of a computer or practicing times tables. Childhood is precious. It is not preparation for high school or college, but a brief and irreplaceable
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