Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - Bring Out The Best in your Child and Your Self

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Book Review - Bring Out The Best in your Child and Your Self

About the Book
Parents: does this sound familiar? You wake up in a great mood, ready to have a fabulous day and walk into the kitchen with kids yelling at each other, one talking back to you and your resolve crumbles. You begin to raise your voice, your blood pressure rises and --BAM!-- there goes your great day.

When you are feeling overwhelmed, repeating yourself, raising your voice, caving in because you’re exhausted, and playing referee—there are some skills you can learn and use to feel more calm and centered.

In my efforts to be a better parent, I discovered that I was not alone. All parents ‘lose it’ at times and we can learn to be centered more often. But I also discovered that children want to express their best selves—to develop their highest potential--and they depend on us to help them. We’re actually on the same side. And that makes all the difference” says Dr. Ilene Val-Essen, author of Bring Out the Best in Your Child and Your Self: Creating a Family Based on Mutual Respect (February 2010).

Rather than “managing” children (as if they were our employees) or “modifying behavior” (as if training animals) Dr. Val-Essen’s message is about encouraging growth. Her teaching sheds light on the reasons we lose it at times and go out of control, and provides step-by-step guidance to help parents be at their best more often.

Rather than offering ready-made advice for situations such as chores or homework, Bring Out the Best in Your Child and Your Self provides sound principles that parents can apply in their own personal style: building healthy relationships, creating an atmosphere of mutual respect, encouraging the best within their children and themselves. Parents will learn to use those principles to resolve conflict, to solve problems and often to prevent them before they occur.

“Through my work with families, I’m watching family members listen to each other, siblings solving their own problems, parents working with their children to create morning and bedtime routines that really work,” says Val-Essen. “But most important, it’s the love in their eyes, the kindness in their voices and the smiles on their faces that touch my heart. They’re learning to enjoy life together again.”

When reading Bring Out the Best…, parents encounter lightbulb moments regarding: how their word choice affects their child’s self-esteem; how we must understand each other’s perspective before we can set the stage for productive conversation; learning it’s alright to change your mind and why; and,  opportunities to help kids practice independence that will pay off big in the long-run.

About the Author
ILENE VAL-ESSEN earned her doctorate in Education and began to develop the ideas for her Quality Parenting program. She has trained instructors in the U.S. and abroad. Her program has been translated into Spanish, Dutch and Swedish. Dr. Val-Essen has taught this program at UCLA, Education Extension. Since 1975, Val-Essen has been in private practice as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA. For more information, visit

My Take on the Book
There are many days in which the concept of starting it happy and quickly becoming frustrated becomes a reality. I work away from home during the day but J-Mom does stay home and I see it all the time in our conversations about the day. There have been many times when we have said, there has to be an easier way to bring out the best in all of us, and this book is one step in the right direction.

This book provides the reader with many tools to help you through the trying moments. There have been times in my own experiences with my kids where I find myself reacting or responding to my eldest daughter's behavior with more frustration than I should rather than simply sitting back and trying to understand. Especially with my oldest, she tends to know how to push all of our buttons! This book lets me rethink my own behavior and helps me to think about ways in which we can talk together.

This book helps you learn about yourself and about your children. It walks you step-by-step through a process and uses helpful insights and practical skills to help you change as well as finding ways to build strong, longer lasting relationships with your kids!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions. 
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