In honor of National Parents’ Day, celebrated the fourth Sunday of July, Government Book Talk reviews this exemplary parenting guide from the Department of Education, Parent Power: Build the Bridge to Success.
The opening of the Department of Education’s Parent Power: Build the Bridge to Success is a quote from President Obama made in July 2009:
“To parents, we can’t tell our kids to do well in school and then fail to support them when they get home. You can’t just contract out parenting. For our kids to excel, we have to accept our responsibility to help them learn.”
The book’s introduction sets the reader up to learn the most important tip given in Parent Power and its Spanish version, Poder De Los Padres Para Trazar el Camino Hacia el Exito, This tip is simple to state, but hard work to follow: be responsible. Your responsibility for your child’s education begins with modeling at home. If your kids see you reading, they will want to read. If you drag your kid to every Civil War battle site because you are a Civil War buff, your child may ace his or her American history exams. When you volunteer at your child’s school, your kids are going to see how important their education is to you.
Other tips covered in the book include: be committed, be positive, be patient, be attentive, be precise, be diligent, be results-oriented, be innovative. These tips are good calls to action for parents. Parents are already tired from their jobs, long commuting hours, keeping their living spaces clean and finding a way to feed the family. Just managing the basic tasks of daily survival can take up all their time. When your child throws a temper tantrum because you’ve sent her to her room to do her homework rather than watch her favorite TV show, it’s tough to practice that “be patient” tip. Good parenting demands more effort than managing basic survival.
Likewise, it takes a great deal of work to follow the other tips, such as remembering to be innovative and to provide positive feedback. It’s more constructive for parents to be precise when praising their children. Instead of telling your child she is smart for completing a drawing, you should tell the child how much you appreciate her making the effort to color the Canadian flag with the right colors in the right places. Parents will evaluate many of their children’s performances, and it will take quite a bit of creativity to say “good job!” in a different way every time. The last tip given in all bold case letters, BE THERE, is a restatement of the popular saying, the best present parents can give their kids is their presence.
The book does give specific suggestions, listed by school age group: birth through preschool, elementary, middle and high school.
The authors recommend a large number of parent-child and pro-school activities. Some examples are reading aloud to your child each day starting at birth, taking your child to the library, playing games with your child, contacting his or her teachers, visiting his or her school. Many parental advice volumes contain advice that may not be revolutionary, but may break parents out of a rut that they had not previously considered. There is also a list of electronic resources to help parents research further. Hints and tips are a parent’s best friend when guiding a child through the various developmental stages.
If you’re doing the fun but difficult work of raising a child, help yourself to Parent Power: Build the Bridge to Success and/or Poder de los Padres: Para Trazar el Camino Hacia el Éxito. Get the hints and tips you need to encourage you. Children do not simply inherit their characters from their parents like magic. Parents are the driving force in their children’s lives, both by example and character—and that’s the power of parents.
How can I find parenting publications from the Federal Government?
- Shop Online: Buy these titles at the GPO U.S. Government Online Bookstore:
- Browse our entire Parenting publications collection on the U.S. Government Online Bookstore under the Consumer, Home & Family category, including
- Deliciously Healthy Family Meals, a terrific cookbook
- Owlie Skywarn’s Weather Book to help the entire family prepare for extreme weather events
- Parent’s Guide to Childhood Immunizations explains about what vaccinations are needed at what ages and provides resources for parents
- Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General gives parents the information to help prevent their children from using tobacco
- Psychosocial Issues for Children and Adolescents in Disasters
- Public Playground Safety Handbook
- and many more!
- Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
- Visit our Retail Store: Buy them at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.
- Find them in a Library: Search for them in a Library.
Federal Depository Librarians: How can I access these publications?
- Find the records for these titles in the Catalog of Government Publications.
- Find them in a federal depository library.
About the author(s): Our guest blogger is Jennifer K. Davis from GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Libraries Program (FDLP). Editor: Government Book Talk Editor-in-Chief and , GPO Promotions & Ecommerce Manager, Michele Bartram.