Growing Great Kids by Kate Battistelli (Book Review)

In many ways, Growing Great Kids, is a Mom’s brag book of her daughter’s accomplishments, complete with pictures, but it is also an autobiographical journey to raising an amazing child.  Kate’s platform is a positive, Christian focused account of how making choices early on regarding how you and your husband interact, raise, and model Christ like behavior to your children can guide them towards success.  She encourages parents to dream big for their children, take note of and nurture their children’s gifts, and to always use prayer as the first line of defense when faced with unsavory or challenging life events.

Each chapter identifies a life skill for parents to focus on while raising or preparing to raise their children.  Kate offers anecdotes primarily from her own life, but also from that of other family members and friends as illustrations of how to implement these principles in both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances.  Each chapter is brought to a close with “Questions To Ask Yourself,” meant to foster communication regarding the topic focus of the chapter and a prayer that gives the reader direction and focus in praying for guidance in the raising of children.

The book is filled with positive and encouraging messages to help focus on Christ, marriage, and family.  She discusses the importance of dreaming big, helping your children to succeed, paying attention to them and granting them the gift of time, watching what you say and making sure your words encourage, never belittle or inflict unnecessary pain or wound.  She puts the focus on how important it is to spend time with children and be available to them for they will often view your interest in their life and as a measure of their self-worth.

Kate writes well and is able to convey her message both clearly and articulately; although the repetition of her daughter’s many accomplishments and some of the anecdotal examples from her own life do become overwhelming  and may distract the reader from the overall stated goal of the book.  There are also some assumptions and insinuations throughout the book that may be uncomfortable and bothersome for many readers and belie the reality that the book is clearly written primarily from the perspective of one woman and her specific experiences.

Readers may not agree with each and every nugget or piece of advice in the book, but Growing Great Kids is full of many strong and inspirational moments.  There are several instances that the faith displayed by Kate, her husband, Mike, and her daughter, Franny truly left me breathless.  The introduction by her daughter is simply amazing and one I would feel honored to have my own daughter write someday!

Reasons to Read: I believe this book to be an excellent tool for self reflection and would lend itself beautifully to a Christian led women’s groups interested in discussing Christian parenting techniques.  The questions at the end are wonderful starting points for open and real conversation between parents about raising their children; whether they choose to partake of that conversation over the dinner table or as part of a church based marriage retreat.  I found myself highlighting and making notes numerous times throughout the book – sayings I wanted to remember, examples where she was able to model appropriate Christ like behaviors, etc.

Reasons to Pass: The author’s potentially overzealous portrayal of the influence parents can exert over their children’s success may prove discouraging to families that are actively struggling.  This makes me a little sad, because truthfully, I think the parents that are truly struggling are the audience the author most wants to reach.  I wish that the prayers for parents located at the end of the chapters were available separately, potentially as part of an accompanying prayer journal as they are truly helpful in guiding the reader in asking Christ for help as a parent.

Category:  Non-Fiction:  Christian Parenting

Suggested Rating:  G  This book is family friendly.

Kate writes about parenting, food and faith regularly at KateBattistelli.com.

She is connected via Facebook and Twitter.

Her book is available from Amazon.com in softback and for Kindle.

I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew

There are Amazon affiliate links within this text.

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