Wednesday, May 16, 2012

book talk: growing great families

Before getting into the highlights of Ian and Mary Grant's fantastic book 'How to bring out the best in your family - Growing Great Families', I spotted this quote today on a retro postcard:

"My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance". Good huh?

I'm slightly obsessed with wanting to create a family life rich in experiences and opportunities for River and Sol that encourage them to grow with open hearts and minds and that they see themselves as a part of this vast world not the centre of it.

My latest resource on this quest is Growing Great Families. I like the writing style of this New Zealand husband and wife team, it is conversational rather than patronising as some parenting books can be, and their strategies straight forward and achievable. The book covers the years from babies right through to parenting teenagers. There are 13 chapters, beginning with a focus on the importance of community and building foundations, moving through to 'giving your child a moral foundation', 'moving from dependence to interdependence', a chapter about '...different family shapes' such as solo parenting and step-families, and one on parenting 'tricky' kids, who the Grant's describe as "tricky kids are 'more' - more intense, more stubborn, more argumentative"

At the end of each chapter there is a chapter summary in point form. Even if you only read these summary pages you would get a lot out of this book.

One of my favourite messages within these pages was that:

'Children need three R's - Rules, Routines and Ridiculousness'. It is good to be reminded that rules and routines don't have to equal serious all the time.

Others points listed on the summary pages that stood out were:

"Your children will remember the feeling in your home.

Parents, nurture your own resources.

Capitalise on the ages five to 10.

Young children are good observers but poor interpreters of events.

Don't forget to be playful. If you are stuck in power struggles unlatch with a different approach.

Take one-on-one time with each child. Recognise their need for significance."

What are you reading at the moment? What are you loving or loathing about being a parent?

How to bring out the best in your family - Growing Great Families by Ian and Mary Grant, published by Random House Australia, RRP $29.95


  1. I'm curious as to what "capitalize on ages 5-10" means? This was their favorite age for doing stuff?

  2. Thanks Cheltz for your comment, made me realise reading the summary points doesn't really tell you enough. 'Capitalise on ages 5-10' comes from the chapter - 'Giving your child a moral foundation' refers to laying good foundations making family values clear, it is basically about teaching them the old-fashioned lessons about right and wrong. I hope that helps. I think I'll go back and some further details to that post. By the way, hats of to you mama of 5!! I just looked at your blog love the photos of your children and you and your husband look so happy and full of energy, I only have 2 children and I'm sure I look sleep-deprived.


Thanks for your comments. I read every one!

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