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Parents Who Don’t Do Dishes (Book) Review

 
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ParentsWhoDontDoDishesCover2- logo
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At a Glance...
 

Page Count: 100 pages
 
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Author:
 
Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
3.5/ 5


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A new take on parenting, allowing for respect and freedom.

Not so much?


More of a "you should do this way" than a "this was my approach".


Final Fiendish Findings?

What Parents Who Don’t Do Dishes *is* is a sort of how-to manual for raising kids who want to help out so you won’t have to. Of course, that’s a long, drawn-out process, but one that is well worth the time and effort. Raising kids who are kind, compassionate, and willing to do service to others is most parents’ ultimate goal. How to do that, though, is not an easy choice.

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Posted February 10, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Unfortunately, it’s not exactly a checklist for avoiding that dreaded chore….

What Parents Who Don’t Do Dishes *is* is a sort of how-to manual for raising kids who want to help out so you won’t have to. Of course, that’s a long, drawn-out process, but one that is well worth the time and effort. Raising kids who are kind, compassionate, and willing to do service to others is most parents’ ultimate goal. How to do that, though, is not an easy choice.

There are tons of books out there, by everyone to the hot new psychologist who’s never actually raised children to the spunky actress who feels her fame gives her a certain level of expertise to the knowledgeable pediatrician touting the latest research to the consummate hippy intent that all your kids need is infinite love. With so many vastly different approaches out there, parents who need a little help in the parenting game are met with the idea that, no matter which approach they choose, someone will feel it’s the wrong one. Comforting, eh?

Richard Melnick, author of Parents Who Don’t Do Dishes, doesn’t claim to be an expert, or to have any special training in early childhood development or coping with teenagers. Instead, he offers a both unique and everyday opinion at the same time. He is just a parent, subject to the same misgivings and worries that every parent has, but he has a special perspective in that he is a cancer survivor. The act of facing the very real possibility of death when his two sons were very young is something that he feels deeply influenced his choices as a parent.

By learning to focus on the now, while also understanding that he only has control over himself, Richard Melnick developed a parenting style that he feels gave his kids the freedom to become who *they* really wanted to be. In Parents Who Don’t Do Dishes, he shares these experiences and techniques with fellow parents, in an irreverent yet respectful style that makes it clear how very much he believes in it. There is some salty language interlaced throughout the book (done mostly for effect), but it is overall a book imploring parents to respect themselves, their children, their spouses, and everyone around them by giving them the opportunity to be their “authentic selves”. Doing this, in Melnick’s opinion, means giving kids a lot of freedom to make their own choices and their own mistakes.

While Parents Who Don’t Do Dishes is a pretty short book, it does share quite a bit of information on its 100 pages. There are anecdotes from raising his now teenage sons and from his life both before and after kids, which he feels illustrates how he came to his very zen style of parenting. There are also many, many quotes from people who inspired him, from famous singers to close friends. He uses these, like the personal tales, to explain his approach, which is a very zen style of both giving freedom while requiring service. Finally, the book is filled with references to the favorite recipes in his life, which are included for readers at the end of the book.

As a parent of five myself, ranging in age from preschool to teen, I always enjoy hearing different approaches to guiding our kids to adulthood. I liked hearing the anecdotes from Melnick’s child-rearing years, and how he and his kids weathered them. As most parents know, having an arsenal of techniques up your sleeve is essential, as each child is an unique individual, and what works with one may not work for another.

In a way, I think I would have liked Parents Who Don’t Do Dishes better had it been presented more as a memoir, or a reflection of the time he spent raising his kids. As it was, it really does read very much like a how-to book than a suggestion, and the idea that one approach will work for all doesn’t seem to acknowledge the range of personalities and temperaments. That being said, I do like the idea that we must allow our children the freedom to become their own people, and that to do so means letting go more than we may be comfortable with.

Parents Who Don’t Do Dishes is an interesting book that gives parents a new perspective on respecting their kids as separate and unique individuals. While it may not be the right approach for everyone, parents looking for a different tactic may find just what they’re looking for in Melnick’s book.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)