Building Better Families

Published By: Ballantine Books

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Family & Relationships

Buy From Amazon

Reviewed by Bob Pike CSP, CPAE-Speakers Hall of Fame

Matthew Kelly has taken a complex, difficult subject and made it simple. Not easy, but simple. He engages the reader in a series of conversations that run parallel to developing as an adult–and what we want for our children (or grandchildren).

Oftentimes his advice is a blinding flash of the obvious–but more often than not is something we know at some level–but are not acting on. For example he explores the four needs that every child has–and clearly differentiates between what we all can clearly recognize as a need–and something that is simply a want. I’d be more specific, but frankly, I want you to be curious and buy this book–it’s that good.

He also clearly spells out the four things a child really needs from a parent, and then peppers the chapter with specific how-to’s. One of the most poignant stories in the book is that of a five-year-old child asking his father how much he earned. The father got upset with this line of questioning, but eventually told his son “twenty dollars.” Armed with that information his son asked if he could have ten dollars. This infuriated the father who proceeded to educate (or rather berate) his son in a very loud voice. He then sent him to bed. After a bit the father realized how harsh he had been and went to the son’s room, apologized and asked forgiveness. He then gave his son the ten dollars that he had requested. With that the small boy pulled some crumpled bills out from under his pillow. This immediately caused the father to be upset again–until the boy said, “I was ten dollars short, but now I have enough. Can I buy an hour of your time?”

What a humbling experience. And this is the type of compelling story Kelly tells over and over again to make his key points come to life. This book is for anyone who truly wants to be a better parent or grandparent, and who is looking for answers to questions like:
— When should a child really have a cell phone?

— What types of video games are appropriate?

— How can I help my child deal with peer pressure?

— How can I have conversations that will help my child develop the values that will help them truly be their highest and best selves?

— How can I become the role model that I want to be as a parent (or a grandparent)?

Not only will the answers make sense. You will find practical strategies that can be readily implemented.

Armchair Interviews says: Run, don’t walk to your bookstore and get this book.

Voted one of the 101 Best Websites For Writers in 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009