Friday, March 12, 2010

The Big Book of Parenting Solutions by Michele Borba - BOOK REVIEW

by Janis Brett Elspas

As avid reader and mom, I have an affinity for reviewing books, especially those about parenting -- a subject that is near and dear to me and to many of this blog's readers.  Usually ideas for these types of posts pour easily out of my mind, translating almost magically into prose for the in-depth book reviews that are my specialty.  Not so with this book.

In fact, when The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, by Michele Borba, Ed.D., first arrived in the mail for this review, I didn't expect it to be much different than the many other parenting self-help books I've seen.  In fact, before I scanned through it, I thought that this one was like others and would not only be an easy read, but would also be one that I'd be able to comment on effortlessly.  No sooner had I flipped through its pages, did I discover how wrong I was on both counts.  Struggling to find the words to discuss this with both compassion and intelligence, I came to the realization that there are two things about this title that standout from others in this genre.

First of all, this is not a mere parenting book, it's an essential manual for raising kids in today's hi tech world and it was written with that intention in mind.  Secondly, good parenting is never easy to either write about or to put into action because each child's behaviors (and each parents' responses to that child's imperfections) are unique.  Yet, this book presents a good range of scenarios and possible solutions that serve as to point us in the right direction to analyze and start working through a variety of situations as well as how to know when seeking professional advice might be the next step.

Amounting to a nearly 700 page reference guide, the sheer telephone book size of this paperback at first glance will most certainly be daunting to just about all parents no matter where you are on the spectrum of raising preschoolers, tweens, and/or teens.   A word of caution though.   Don't attempt to read this cover to cover because the amount of knowledge presented, backed with solid research, will certainly consume you.  Instead, because this text is organized by problematic issues rather than age group, use it as a manual to refer to as needed whenever you are faced with a particular parenting challenge.

Michele Borba, a prolific author of 22 books, speaks from experience.  She is a mom of grown-up children, as well as an educational psychologist, former teacher, and popular media expert who is a frequent contributor to the Today Show.  She also has been a guest on other high profile programs including The View, CNN, Dr. Phil, and others.  In her latest book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, this parent extraordinaire reenacts her advice from actual cases of children she has treated as well as from the personal queries she has fielded on her iVillage Parenting Solutions Blog and on .

Here are just of the few issues Borba discusses in the new guide's nine sections
  • Family - Adopted and divorced to twins and multiples
  • Behavior - From biting to impulsitivity
  • Character - Cheating to Materialism 
  • Emotions - Separation Anxiety to Stressed Out
  • Social - Bullying, Cliques, Crushes, and Drinking
  • School - Daycare, Organized Sports, and Homework
  • Special Needs - ADD, Learning Disabilities Depression, Eating Disorders, and Gifted
  • Day-to-Day - Chores, Picky Easters, and Disorganization
  • Electronics - Cell Phone, Internet Safety, Cyber Bullying, and Video Games
After reading the above list of parental struggles and imagining all the others that you are personally struggling with right now, you are probably just as exhausted thinking about parenting as I am.  The good news is Borba's manual covers almost anything you might experience as a mom or dad.  Though I think it's a stretch to say -- as this book claims on its cover -- that this is, "The Only Parenting Book You'll Ever Need For Kids 3-13."  I think it does come darn close, though, to being the most comprehensive book to come out thus far on the age-old challenges of parenting.

For certain, this manual does provide an excellent starting point to delving into practically any child behavior that we might encounter as parents.  However, because of its range of topics and the breadth of ground that this covers, it is also understandable that The Big Book of Parenting Solutions does not get into much depth in any particular area that we might need to address in our own family situations.  Luckily, Borba covers that angle, too, thanks to an extensive bibliography of references and suggested additional reading at the back of the text in virtually all the areas that might be troubling you and your child.

The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries, by Michele Borba, Ed.D., Jossey-Bass/An Imprint of Wiley, September 2009, ISBN 978-0-7879-8831-9.  Cover Price $19.95, available at bookstores nationwide and from online booksellers. 

FTC Disclosure: MommyBlogExpert received a copy of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions for review but did not receive any payment or other compensation associated with this post.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.


  1. Okay, I think I may need to pick up a copy of this the next time I am at the book store. I don't read a ton of parenting books but this one sounds like a must.

  2. Wish I had this years ago!

    Happy Late VGNO

  3. What a great review. I love good reference books so I'm going to add this to my Amazon wishlist. Happy late VGNO!

  4. Thanks so much Upstatemomof3, Carolee/Home4ever, and Mandala Michelle for your comments. I agree with all of you. I've got some other book reviews in the works now both about being a mom and parenting so definitely stay tuned for some more great reads on managing our busy family lives.

  5. wow...what a great blog...I'm looking forward to have a copy...thanks for sharing some information....awesome post

  6. You can also check out Dr. Borba's blog on the new App. Advice for Life for iTunes and Android!