You CAN raise kids you enjoy being with–even when they’re kids! And today my new book, teaching you just that, launches.

When Rebecca, my oldest daughter, was 5 years old, acquaintances of ours had a daughter who was 6. And when adult friends of yours have kids the same as age as yours, you naturally make those kids play together, so that the adults could hang out!

We quickly realized, though, that this was a disaster waiting to happen. This other little girl was just plain unpleasant. She would whine. She would quit playing a game if she didn’t get to make up the rules. She would fight.

But it was also hard for them to find time to play together because this family was just so busy.

Her mom told me, “We find evenings difficult if we’re just home, because when she gets bored she acts up. So we put her in a lot of activities.”

This family was driving around every night taking this girl to extra curricular classes because they couldn’t bear to be home alone with her.

That mom’s admission stayed in my mind as I raised my girls.

Every time the girls hit a rough patch, or started to whine, I would think back to that family, and I would decide, “there is no way I want to raise kids I don’t want to be with“, and we would figure out how to nip it in the bud.

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While I write more about marriage now, when I started this blog in 2008 I wrote mostly about parenting. And some of those parenting posts have actually been the biggest posts on this blog! I’ve had so many requests to put them all together in a book, so that you can read what to do when, and I finally decided to do it.

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When I was thinking about which posts I wanted to pull, and what emphasis I wanted the book to have, I thought back to that family, and I decided to focus on how to raise kids you actually like to be around. I thought, “that’s great! I’ll write about how to discipline kids!”

So I pulled lots of those posts, I elaborated, I sorted them out, put them together in a logical order, and then I realized something.

Most of this book isn’t about how to discipline.

Most of the book is actually about how to build a relationship with your child, because parenting, at its best, should not just be about how to stop unwanted behaviour. It should be about how to inspire, and enjoy, godly behaviour!

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I think sometimes that we focus so much on how to discipline and punish that we forget the joys of just spending time with our kids. And sometimes we get into power struggles with our kids, determined to win since we’re the parent. We’re going to make them eat their dinner–no more whining at the table! We’re going to make them do those chores! We’re not going to tolerate the siblings fighting anymore!

Look, I absolutely agree with helping kids not be picky eaters–and I’ve got information on that in the book. I’m a big believer in teaching kids to do chores–and there’s lots of that in the book, too. Sibling fights? Not acceptable. Far too draining. I cover that as well.

But sometimes these attempts to “win” at all costs because we’re the parent make us forget how to just have fun.

And then the whole relationship seems to be focused on changing someone. That just contributes to the tension.

A big part of raising kids you actually like is just making parenting more relaxing. It’s about saving you time but getting them to help with chores. It’s about enjoying family meals instead of having them taken up with squabbles and whining. It’s about getting through errands without temper tantrums, and returning home feeling like you’ve all created some fun memories together.

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And then, when you do have to discipline, it’s about looking at the heart issue and making the punishment fit the crime–and the child.

In this book, I show you how to do these things. I show you how to raise a family that will bring you such joy.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may recognize a few of these posts. Occasionally one of them will go big on Pinterest. But the vast majority of them have laid dormant here for years, even though I’ve loved the information. And I’ve never put it all together like this–easy to read, easy to find, even with printables that sum up the information!

You’ll hear about:

  • How to build a relationship with your toddler and preschooler, including figuring out how to prevent temper tantrums, how to discipline, and what NOT to discipline for
  • How to train your elementary school aged child’s character
  • How to stop yourself from jeopardizing your own parenting, by learning how not to yell, but also by learning how to vary your voice tone and the words you use “when  you really mean it”
  • How to develop responsibility in children–because it’s much easier to enjoy kids who are helping you! We’ll look at how to encourage them to do chores, teach them about money, follow through with tasks, do homework, and more!
  • How to cure picky eaters, reluctant piano practisers, or homework procrastinators

And you’ll hear all about my own foibles with my kids (including my struggles with Katie and piano), and laugh with me along the way!

And it’s super cheap–only $3.99 right now.

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I am so happy with this book. My designer made the .pdf version just plain beautiful (unfortunately you can’t do that with the Kindle versions)! And I love how it’s laid out so it builds a parenting plan for you.

After months of me trying to pick material, elaborate on material, and even cut material, it’s all here. And I know you’re going to love it!

But what if you have boys? After all, I only had girls. Do I know anything about boys?

Well, my nephew spent two years at our home. But besides that, as you all know, many of my posts are inspired by reader stories. And so many are inspired by my talking to my husband, who’s a pediatrician, too.

We spend so long saying, “you’re your child’s parent, not their friend.” And in principle, I agree. But let me tell you this: One of the most lovely parts about your children growing up is that if you enjoy being together, they become some of your closest friends.

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The book launches today for just $3.99, but the price will be going up after it’s been out for a few weeks. So pick it up now! And make sure the dynamic in your home is one that’s fun, and not one that’s just full of stress and chaos.

When you buy it from my store, you get a .pdf that you can open on your iPad, iPhone, computer, or other device. And it’s laid out really nicely with a lovely design! Or you can buy it from Amazon and it will go right to your Kindle (I’ll have other options up later this week).

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Thanks, everybody! I hope you love the book. I know I’m really pleased with it, and I think it will help so many families find that peace they want.

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