Parenting With More Joy and Less Drama

A parent recently asked us at a workshop, “What should I do if my seventh-grade son leaves his homework on the kitchen counter when he leaves for school in the morning?”

“That depends on your son,” we answered. “Tell us about your son. Overall, is he a fairly responsible seventh grader?”

“Oh yes, he’s extremely responsible for his age.”

“Then just jump in the car and run his book up to the school. And by the way, stick two dollars in his math book for a sports drink. You don’t need to teach a responsible son to be responsible. He already knows that-he just forgot his homework.  You have other things to teach him that are more relevant.”

If the son had been perpetually irresponsible, we would have recommended a different approach. One-size-fits-all parenting would most likely recommend teaching him a lesson he didn’t need to learn while adding needless strain to the whole process.

How to parent a situation will depend on in which areas your child is doing well and in which areas he or she is falling behind.  We feel a good parenting book will show how and why one child should be parented differently from another child—or the neighbor’s kids.  Here’s the thing: We don’t know your children and where they come from. Are they biological or adopted? Are you a single parent or in a two-parent family? Do your children have reading disabilities or social limitations? Are they depressed or angry? All these factors will affect your parenting decisions.

We found ourselves helping parents think differently about a situation and were amazed at how quickly the problem improved or disappeared simply by seeing it in a new and accurate light.  We came to believe that the best hope in addressing parenting issues is to think differently about parenting issues.

We’ve chosen the title Gist as it means the bottom line, the truth, or the inner workings of something. We say “the gist of it” when we want someone to know the way something really works. This book is about preparing your kids for life, and doing that in an effective way.

Gist is an invaluable tool for navigating parenthood with less drama and more joy.  You’ll discover what it really takes to help your children make the journey to adulthood.

With all the stories, insights, and advice, we still know that the real power for change is learning how to think differently about parenting.  We share this book as a labor of love and with excitement.


Michael Anderson is a licensed psychologist with a private counseling practice in Minneapolis.

Tim Johanson is an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Arizona.


parentingIn GIST: The Essence of Raising Life-Ready Kids, you’ll learn about a parenting style that’s effective, efficient, and enjoyable.  Whether you’re parenting a toddler or a college student, GIST can help you eliminate power struggles and ineffective patterns of behavior that can rob families of much of their joy.

Purchase your copy of the book HERE.

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