Why Katherine Gordy Levine’s advice is better than most

There are over  800 Amazon Kindle books about parenting teenagers. How is a parent supposed to choose a book that is written by someone with real knowledge, something more than the advice you can get in the parking lot at school? I asked Katherine, what does your book (‘When Good Kids Do Bad Things‘) offer that makes it a good buy amongst such a large choice? She answered:

Two things make my advice better than most. I’ve been there and done that. I am also a trained clinician. Many bloggers without professional credentials – but raising a child or two – dispense tea, sympathy, and advice, but lack a deeper awareness of many problems. Few professional parent advisers have parented more than one or two children and also lack a deeper awareness of parenting.

My advice is different because I am both a trained clinician and I have lived with, loved, hated, feared, fed, cleaned up after, wiped tears, punished, praised and worried about hundreds of kids. Two were my own; three hundred and sixty-six were foster children, mostly teens and all in trouble with the law in one way or another.

Now some would think me psychotic to have opened my home to so many others. Certainly, it was out of the norm, but I assure you I am not certifiable, nor is my husband. We are more normal than not which means we quarrel, we get depressed, we love, we hate, we make mistakes, but we function; we do what has to be done, we keep moving ahead, we keep love alive, we take reasonable care of our health, and finally, we are responsible citizens. More proof our sanity: our two sons talk to us and have forgiven our blunders as we have forgiven theirs. Both depend on us to help raise their sons.

When we stopped being foster parents, I returned to my profession and directed mental health teams aimed to keep kids out of jail and out of psychiatric placement. By then, I had a well developed theory about theories and about advice. Most theories that gain support apply to many people much of the time. No theory applies to all the people all the time. Because some apply, some of the time, none should be thrown out. My theories have been tested.

I also have a super developed sensitivity to parent bashing. Most often it is done by offering easy answers to hard problems. The book ‘Siblings Without Rivalry’ is my chief example of how parents are held accountable for more than they control. The only way to have siblings without rivalry is not to have a second child and then you will be bashed for having only one child.

I love Super Nanny, but to bring about change, she goes and lives with the troubled parents she seeks to help. Moreover, I am willing to bet, some families she visits don’t get promoted on her show. Parenting is hard work, parents do not control all, some advice works for some parents some of the time, but nothing works for all parents all the time. My professional training means I know when more than good parenting is needed.

You may notice that when Katherine answers these questions that I, her publisher, throw at her, she is not one to mince words. You’ll find the same style in her book. She tells it like it is, without all the fluffy language that often clouds self-help titles.

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Filed under A taste of Katherine's style, From the desk of her publisher

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