This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.
Joanne Rendell the author of last week’s review, The Professors’ Wives’ Club, wrote a great guest column On Reading at 5 Minutes for Books. Check it out, and keep reading to see if you are one of the five winners of that book.
These days if any child does not fit the mold, the educational system is quick to slap a label on them. Labels can be very helpful as far as highlighting areas in which a child might need help, but labels can also be very limiting. What’s more — we label our children as well, which can often cause us to view them unfavorably, instead of simply accepting the way that they are wired.
As a parent, I find this to be a very hard balance. When should I make accommodations for my child’s inherent personality, and when should I expect him to conform to my expected behavior (which usually goes along with what society deems as acceptable or desirable)? I recently read two books which shed light on this tough parenting issue.
There ARE behaviors that have been classified as “bad,” but there is also no doubt that some children are simply wired that way, and in many cases they are evident in boys more than girls as Peg Tyre points out in her new book The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do.
When I read the title and looked through the table of contents, I wasn’t too compelled to read this book, because it seemed to me that the author was simply giving her research about everything that was wrong the system. Even though I do have an active preschool boy who may well suffer because of certain expectations that will be difficult for him to fulfill, I am still not one to rock the boat. I’d rather hear about what I can do to help him.
Well, I’m glad that I went ahead and started to read. By the time I finished reading the introduction, I was convinced that this IS a problem, and there are steps that I can take as a parent. After laying out all the facts (including that preschool boys are “expelled” five times as often as girls, girls are taking advanced classes at much higher rates than boys, and boys drop out of high school much more than girls). It’s very readable and the information is compelling about how our educational system (and even our choices as parents) are what have changed, and that many of these changes are detrimental to many boys. There also is practical information, such as how to identify that your son may be disengaging from school. The book is divided into chapters addressing different issues, such as preschool, kindergarten, recess, the ADHD diagnosis, literacy, and even video games.
Find out more about Peg Tyre and her book at her website. You can watch the segment on the book that the Today show did HERE. It’s a great introduction to the book, and also shows one school system that is making some changes.
When the Labels Don’t Fit also takes a look at children whose needs might not be met by the typical model in society. Children are being labeled with much higher frequency with emotional disorders, learning disabilities and social interaction problems such as ADHD. The author, Barbara Probst points out that these diagnoses are not always made in an effort to help the child (although that is occasionally the result), but to mark the child as one who is not conforming to acceptable standards.
I love books about personalities and temperaments and natural bents. and that’s exactly what this book is. There is a great quiz at the front (and a bonus — several “scoresheets” for you to rip out from the back to use to assess not only your children but yourself to analyze how you interact with them). After you’ve completed the quiz, Probst walks through the different core traits (source of energy, arousal level, concentration, intensity, tempo, sensitivity, adaptability etc). Each section features a real-life problem (for example, getting a child who is slow in tempo out to the bus on time), insight into the core trait that is at hand, and action to take to solve the problem within your child’s natural ability (and most of the time still meet yours and societies expectations as well).
The book begins with a chapter on “Respecting your child’s inner world” which is the “new approach to raising a challenging child” that she identifies with the subtitle of the book. She maintains that we have to accept our children for the way they are. An introverted child will need time alone, and will probably not want to join sports teams. This is the way that child is wired. However, she recognizes the desire that parents (and even that introverted child) have for acceptance and friendship. Instead of shoving your child into a group situation that will make her feel more frustrated and unhappy, she offers insight to what would work as a social outlet (group activities that are still performed independently such as diving, photography, weight training etc.).
It’s the best book I’ve read that identifies the temperaments and personality traits and also gives very practical advice to dealing with them. I can’t recommend it highly enough, especially if you have a child who seems more energetic than others, less regular (doesn’t eat or sleep like “normal” people), more intense, less adaptable etc. Since none of us are “ideal,” I imagine that every parent would find a way to better relate to each of their children with the help of this book.
We have 3 sets of books to give away. Each winner (U.S. or Canadian shipping addresses) will receive one of each of these books. I will post the winners in next week’s column.
The winners of last week’s book The Professors’ Wives’ Club are
#23 Lindsey@Kindred Spirit’s Thoughts
#108 Erin Walsh
Please enter me, thanks.
Carrie Baird says
These both sound like great books. Thanks for the chance to win. I’d love to read either or both of them!
This would be fantastic for our family! Great giveaway!
Sandra S says
My son has a learning disability so I would LOVE to win these books!
Katherine Frazier says
What great books!
Erma Hurtt says
I could really use this as I have a 12 yr. old son. Thanks
Amber S. says
Both books sound like they’d be good reads for parents. Thanks for the giveaway!
Melissa Keith says
This looks great!
Joely Campbell says
With our son just turning 13, I would love to read this book – I’m always up for anything to help our relationship with him, and guide him down the right road.
Brenda S. says
Sound like GREAT books that I totally need to read! thanks!!
Ed Nemmers says
Rosanne Morrison says
I’ve rasied 4 sons but would like this for my daughter in law who teaches 2nd grade.
Marion B says
I could use this book with having a son.
Sarah Hansen says
Would like to read this book.
Great books-very information!
R Hicks says
WOULD LOVE TO READ THESE BOOKS
My best friend has all little boys. This would be fabulous for her. Please pick me so that I can gift her!
Sandy M says
I’d like my daughter to read this book – she has two boys and it sounds like the book has important information for her.
Kari Follett says
Yes, I have two boys so I could really use this.
Susan A says
My daughter Ali could definitely use these books for her 11 year old son, he’s going thru some rough times.
Sounds like a great prize!
Sounds like a book that could help me with my 7th grader. You girls rock!!
My SOs son is having many, many problems with school and we are at our wit’s end on how to help him. These books sound like they could help.
tanya wilson says
This would be great, I have an 8 year old boy labeled as ADHD and an Autistic stepdaughter.
tiffany pettey says
books are the coolest prize
I’d love to win either but the boys one would be more helpful for me I think. Thanks for the chance!
sandra kao says
i’d most like to win the one about boys
tim brown says
THANK YOU GOD BLESS
Both of these books sound like something I could use! I’m the mother of two boys & two girls, and am planning on homeschooling…
So any help I can get would be awesome!
Renée aka Mekhismom says
I would love these books. I hope I win.
Nikki Dean says
Wow I totally need these books! Hope to win them!
Melissa Shough says
I am in desperate need of these books! I think everyday that my kindergartner will be kicked out of school for his “bad” behavior. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to win!
What a great giveaway…thanks so much for the chance to win!
Sounds like some good books. I homeschool two boys and know that one is the type who doesn’t fit the mold.
Veronica L. says
Wow, these books sounds great! Having two boys and one of them being VERY strong-willed, I know these books would come handy 🙂
Tonya Froemel says
very cool count me in please
Karen Gonyea says
Count me in – sounds like great books 🙂
ktgonyea at gmail.com
Mike Weisberg says
I want to win
ellen cunningham says
These sound like great books. Thanks for the chance.
These books sound great.
Would love to win!
veronica sandberg says
want to win this
Heidi T says
I have a 10 yr old son with a very strong personality. I love him, and am always looking for better ways to interact and understand him. Thank you for the opportunity!
sara marcy says
the books would be a much needed addition to my library, i have 4 grandsons, and mom very much could use the books!
Kathy Scott says
I love to read and I am a mom to two wonderful boys. These would be great books for me.
Susan S. says
These sound like wonderful books. I have an active preschooler, and I am always looking for some insight. Thanks for the reviews and the giveaway!
Susan C says
I would love to read either of these books, I have three grandsons, and 5 nephews!
smchester at gmail dot com
I had my daughter first, and was unprepared for the difference between boys and girls when I had my son. Good book.
Deborah Wellenstein says
Thank you for this giveaway! I think my grandson would benefit from this knowledge.
Interested in reading these, particularly When Labels Don’t Fit.
Linda Fish says
I teach so would love these books
Wow – these books look perfect in helping our family help my nephews. One has been diagnosed with ADHD and both have been in “trouble” many times and they are still in elementary school. I can only imagine what kind of great tools there might be in there to assist us in understanding them.
These books would be very helpful for my husband and I. Thanks for the opportunity!
These look like they would be great assets in starting that conversation with the schools. Thanks!
Carol Lawrence says
I would love to win these books.
Pat Connors says
Thank you for counting me in too.
Jerri Ann says
I have a “3.95 year old who is not potty trained” and only because he is stubborn. Our counselor suggested we find a book on strong-willed children, especially boys and I’m thinking that this might be a great place to start.
valerie mabrey says
This looks great
shannon Baas says
I would love the labels book. My daughter definitely marches to her own drum.
christopher h says
sounds like good reads
donna s. says
I’ve heard about the trouble with boys book and I would really love to read it as i have a young son. dcadmar at gmail dot com
Ashley - The Adventures of Supermom says
I would love the trouble with boys book.
Hollie P. says
As a teacher, these books are great reads! I would love to have these books in my classroom, as a resource for my parents.
Steve Scott says
I have two boys that I think this book may help me with.
We are going through the long process of seeking help for my 4 year old. I too hate the idea of slapping a label on him. It is good to know there may be alternatives and would love to read these books. Thanks
As a teacher, I would love to have the chance to better understand my students and to have the tools to help them!
Boy could I use those books!!! We have five boys and problems with each one. I am at a loss most days on how to get through to them and correct things.
Susan Smith says
Please enter me
Dan Smith says
Sounds like great books
John Mizell says
I have glaucoma, you know how hard it is to make this post. So thank before you require anyone to leave a comment for entering a contest PLEASE
These look like great books for all parents with boys to have. I’d love to win!
I could so use these books right now!!!
Amy from Occupation: Mommy says
These both sound interesting, particularly the second book.
Katrina (Callapidder Days) says
These both sound *very* good — especially the Labels book. Please enter me.
This would make a wonderful Christmas gift! Know just the right person to wrap it up for
I would love these, as an attorney in child welfare, I am always on the lookout for good books both in understanding child development and to share with parents. I would also recommend to your readers The Wonder of Boys (in helping to understand boy behavior) and The Emotional Life of the Toddler (in learning about attachment and how to respond to behaviors appropriately)
As the mother of 3 boys, these sound like must reads.
Sound like great reads. My sister would be interested in the Label’s book.
charline s says
As a mom of all boys I so want to read that book. I am sure it could give me some great advice
I have been somewhat aware of this for a little but as a parent of an almost-school-aged boy, I would love to read this.
My sister in law could use this for her son! Thanks
Adrienne Gordon says
looks like a good read
Ooh please enter me!
Heather Wallace says
I would love to get these books! Not only am I an avid reader, but I’m also a SAHM to a precocious 5 year old boy!
Allie B. says
I have two boys..one in high school..the other in elem..and I think this would be awesome read. Thanks!
Jenn S. says
As a mom to a kindergaten boy, I would love to read The Trouble With Boys.
Robert Pyszk says
It’s not the trouble with boys it’s the trouble with parents that turn their kids into monsters.
David B says
Looks like an interesting read. Please sign me up for your contest.
susan varney says
this is nice love to read
Mary Helen says
These books would be great resourses for my daughters and their sons.
K. Cleaver says
I would really love to read these as I have 2 boys.
These would really come in handy with my little guy 🙂
Samantha Gibbons says
I have two kids and one on the way I could really use these books!
c. clemens says
please enter me, i would like to win.
Alexandra Hancock says
I’m currently raising my first born son and I could use some help. I am from a family of 4 daughters and I have no idea about raising a boy. Thanks!
I am a subscriber.
Dianne F. says
Son has been divorced and remarried with one son from first marriage (lives with his Mom) and 2 girls from current. Boy is now 7, very active, loves his sisters SOMETIMES but is jealous of Daddy’s time spent with the girls. Needs some assistance in direction and cooling off.
Please enter me in this contest! Thanks!
I’m always looking for new reads!
jennefer sweitzer says
i have a best friend who needs these books and i sure would like to give them to her
I would love to win this book…I have personally lived some of the issues regarding boys. Not fun.
Jennifer Tiszai says
These sound like terrific books. I have an active boy and I’m always looking for ways to help him (and me!) navigate life. Enter me please.
As a mommy to two wonderful boys, one of which is currently in head start, i think these books would be a good read for me. I want to know if i or the teachers are hendering my boys ability to learn and love school. I hope i win!
I would love to get these books to help my grandsons. They have so much energy, and often don’t “go with the flow”. Please send help!
I need all the help I can get.
Michael Capp says
I’d to love win!
I would love to have a set of these! I have a boy who doesn’t fit societal norms and always appreciate more insight into his brain.
Terra Heck says
I have a son who does not fit the label and these books would be very informative.
Wow! What a great resource! Please count me in!
Sounds like some great books! I am always open to insight on raising my boy!
I’d love these books! I’m the mom of three boys, one of whom is probably close to getting a label. My oldest is a kindergartener, so we’re just starting the whole “real” school thing. these sound great!
Kathy D says
I would love to read the Lable book… thank you for all the great books up put one my I should get that one list
My son has had a rough time starting kindergarten. As a teacher I know that little boys need different teaching styles and I agree that the education system is failing them as a whole. I would love to read these books to not only help my son, but my future students as well.
not gonna say why- just go ahead ahead and address the envelope now haha…really I would love to read this..thanks for the giveaway mrs.mommyyATgmailDOTcom
Please – I could ues these books RIGHT NOW. I have a strong willed child and nothing I do seems to reach him!
I would love to win these books. Thanks for the giveaway.
Thomas Gibson says
Thanks for this promotion.
Steph Elias says
When Labels Don’t Fit sounds like a great book. Count me in!
I would love to look at these books. I have 4 boys age 3 and under so I could definitely use them:) Thanks for the reviews and giveaway.
Oh I would love to have these books. Working in the preschool there are plenty of kids out there that aren’t understood. This would be such a great help.
Both books sound great! As a mom of two boys, the oldest in kindergarten this year, they sound relevant and timely! Thanks for the reviews.
Deb - Mom of 3 Girls says
I would love to check out the ‘Labels’ book – my daughter seems to defy all labels, and yet… There’s just something there. I would love to see if I could find any answers in this book!
Yes, yes, yes…the “Labels” book is exactly what I’m looking for. It sounds perfect! If I don’t win it, I hope I can find it at the bookstore. Thanks for the opportunity!
Sound like GREAT books that I totally need to read!
Tara R. says
oh I NEED these books! I have two sons that I definitely do NOT always understand, and one son that just doesn’t fit under the regular labels!!!