Teaching Kids to Think by Darlene Sweetland and Ron Stolberg

Note: I occasionally accept review copies from the publisher. Posts written from review copies are labeled. All opinions are my own. Posts may contain affiliate links. I may receive compensation for any purchased items.

At first, I thought Teaching Kids to Think by Darlene Sweetland and Ron Stolberg (Sourcebooks, March 2015) had a deceptive title. I had thought it would be  about helping kids learn and logic through academics. Rather, Teaching Kids to Think is focused on helping parents raise children that think through the basics of everyday survival and life, emphasizing confidence, independence, and thoughtfulness during the everyday simple (and not-so-simple) decisions of sociability in this world. Truly, this type of “thinking” is the basis of any success in academics!

After reading the book, I can only say that this The book that parents needs in order to help a child succeed in school, business, or everyday socialization. How can our kids learn to work in a workplace if the basics that Drs. Sweetland and Stolberg emphasize are not learned at a young age?

Although my oldest child is only 7, I found much to be of value in Teaching Kids to Think. The authors call the age we live in the “Instant Gratification Generation” and I can definitely believe it. We don’t have to wait for commercials  or even for the appointed time slot in which our favorite TV show comes on: it all at our fingertips! Finding information is not just a quick Google search away: it’s on our telephones in our pockets. Kids don’t have to wait to know details for many things because we are always connected to the cloud or a quick drive away. Parents are on the kids’ sides more than on the side of the teachers, coaches, and youth leaders.

How can kids learn to be patient in such an environment?

Much of the details and examples that the authors provide in their book seem to relate to older children: helping kids think while on their own. (What if parents are late picking them up? What if they forget a paper at home? What about the need for extra credit from a teacher? What about conflict with peers and teachers?) They provide tips for parents to avoid the “traps” of giving in to the attitudes of the Instant Gratification Generation, and I readily recognized my own habits and bad parenting behaviors in the stories they shared.

Even some of these examples as given above are applicable to me working in with my young children. How can I expect my older child to take responsibility if I’m always handing my child the answers as a young one? If I always expect my children to be entertained for 5 minutes while at the doctor’s office, for example, how can I expect them to wait patiently when I’m 5 minutes late picking them up in a few years?

Teaching Kids to Think was both eye-opening and inspiring. I found I have been handing my kids the answers far more often that I’d like, even though I’d sworn off being the “helicopter mom” I so dislike. In the aftermath of reading this book, I’ve caught myself from answering for my kids, giving them solutions, and so forth more often. I hope I can keep it up, because I am determined to raise kids who know how to think for themselves!

Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.

Reviewed on April 23, 2015

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  • Rebecca, I love the concept of this book! I wholeheartedly agree with its premise, me being of a much different generation. The “instant gratification” influence is so damaging : / Anything that can help combat the effects is a good thing!

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