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The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World

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With all the parenting information out there and the constant pressure to be the “perfect” parent, it seems as if many parents have lost track of one very important piece of the parenting puzzle: raising happy kids.    Parenting today has gotten far too complicated. It’s never been the easiest job in the world, but with all the “parenting advice” parents are met with at ev With all the parenting information out there and the constant pressure to be the “perfect” parent, it seems as if many parents have lost track of one very important piece of the parenting puzzle: raising happy kids.    Parenting today has gotten far too complicated. It’s never been the easiest job in the world, but with all the “parenting advice” parents are met with at every corner, it’s hard not to become bewildered. It seems that in the past it was a good deal simpler. You made sure there was dinner on the table and the kids got to school on time and no one set anything on fire, and you called it a success. But today everybody has a different method for dealing with the madness--attachment parenting, free-range parenting, mindful parenting. And who is to say one is more right or better than another? How do you choose?     The truth is that whatever drumbeat you march to, all parents would agree that we just want our kids to be happy. It seems like a no-brainer, right? But in the face of all the many parenting theories out there, happiness feels like it has become incidental. That’s where The Happy Kid Handbook by child and adolescent psychotherapist and parenting expert Katie Hurley comes in. She shows parents how happiness is the key to raising confident, capable children. It’s not about giving in every time your child wants something so they won’t feel bad when you say no, or making sure that they’re taking that art class, and the ballet class, and the soccer class (to help with their creativity and their coordination and all that excess energy). Happiness is about parenting the individual, because not every child is the same, and not every child will respond to parenting the same way. By exploring the differences among introverts, extroverts, and everything in between, this definitive guide to parenting offers parents the specific strategies they need to meet their child exactly where he or she needs to be met from a social-emotional perspective. A back-to-basics guide to parenting, The Happy Kid Handbook is a must-have for any parent hoping to be the best parent they can be.


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With all the parenting information out there and the constant pressure to be the “perfect” parent, it seems as if many parents have lost track of one very important piece of the parenting puzzle: raising happy kids.    Parenting today has gotten far too complicated. It’s never been the easiest job in the world, but with all the “parenting advice” parents are met with at ev With all the parenting information out there and the constant pressure to be the “perfect” parent, it seems as if many parents have lost track of one very important piece of the parenting puzzle: raising happy kids.    Parenting today has gotten far too complicated. It’s never been the easiest job in the world, but with all the “parenting advice” parents are met with at every corner, it’s hard not to become bewildered. It seems that in the past it was a good deal simpler. You made sure there was dinner on the table and the kids got to school on time and no one set anything on fire, and you called it a success. But today everybody has a different method for dealing with the madness--attachment parenting, free-range parenting, mindful parenting. And who is to say one is more right or better than another? How do you choose?     The truth is that whatever drumbeat you march to, all parents would agree that we just want our kids to be happy. It seems like a no-brainer, right? But in the face of all the many parenting theories out there, happiness feels like it has become incidental. That’s where The Happy Kid Handbook by child and adolescent psychotherapist and parenting expert Katie Hurley comes in. She shows parents how happiness is the key to raising confident, capable children. It’s not about giving in every time your child wants something so they won’t feel bad when you say no, or making sure that they’re taking that art class, and the ballet class, and the soccer class (to help with their creativity and their coordination and all that excess energy). Happiness is about parenting the individual, because not every child is the same, and not every child will respond to parenting the same way. By exploring the differences among introverts, extroverts, and everything in between, this definitive guide to parenting offers parents the specific strategies they need to meet their child exactly where he or she needs to be met from a social-emotional perspective. A back-to-basics guide to parenting, The Happy Kid Handbook is a must-have for any parent hoping to be the best parent they can be.

30 review for The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shell Roush

    Parenting books usually make me a little nervous and cause more than a few eye rolls, since most tend to tout that they have the answer, the magical ONE WAY to parent that will lead to a happy home. I can't even do the exact same thing for all of my own children and have it work for them, so I'm skeptical of any author who claims their way is the magical solution. That's what's different about The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World by Katie Hurley. She won me ear Parenting books usually make me a little nervous and cause more than a few eye rolls, since most tend to tout that they have the answer, the magical ONE WAY to parent that will lead to a happy home. I can't even do the exact same thing for all of my own children and have it work for them, so I'm skeptical of any author who claims their way is the magical solution. That's what's different about The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World by Katie Hurley. She won me early on by saying "One-size-fits-all parenting simply doesn't exist in this world" and that you have to adapt for each child, that you can't parent every child the same. So instead of laying out some formula that wouldn't work across the board, The Happy Kid Handbook says that if we do want to raise happy kids, we have to parent the kids we have. Katie talks about the different needs of our kids, whether they are introverted or extroverted or somewhere in between, along with ideas to help each. Being an introvert and having one introverted child, reading her suggestions for introverted kids was a reaffirmation of what I'm doing, while reading her points about the extroverted child (which I also have) helped me to see the easy things I could do to meet his needs as well. The Happy Kid Handbook covers topics like helping your children understand emotion, embracing differences, and the importance of unstructured, child-directed play. There are suggestions for activities you can do with your child throughout, and there's a variety of them: some will work better with kids who are more verbally expressive, some for artistic, some for the physically inclined. Again, it's not one-size-fits-all, instead it's practical suggestions that you can easily tailor to fit your own family.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Nelson

    Researching small children and big emotions (for a new story) brought me to this book - and it's really good. Practical and insightful - full of ideas to help children (and, in some ways, anyone) understand and manage difficult feelings and be happier. Parents and teachers - I recommend it!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Erin Buhr

    Every parent should read this book sometime in the first 5 years of their child's life and then review it several times. The advice is practical and positive and strives to help every parent feel in control of raising happy children in a stress filled world. The chapters are detailed but easily readable. Katie Hurley's advice spans childhood and talks about play, emotions, empathy, childhood stress and more. Each section has anecdotes, inspiration and activity ideas. She shares practical example Every parent should read this book sometime in the first 5 years of their child's life and then review it several times. The advice is practical and positive and strives to help every parent feel in control of raising happy children in a stress filled world. The chapters are detailed but easily readable. Katie Hurley's advice spans childhood and talks about play, emotions, empathy, childhood stress and more. Each section has anecdotes, inspiration and activity ideas. She shares practical examples from her work as a school psychologist and as a mom to help each individual and unique child. Hurley is clearly in touch with the strain on modern families and children, but reveals simple ways to find a happy balance. The activities in each chapter are easy, low prep activities that you could do almost anywhere and work on building social and emotional skills to help your child thrive. It is one of those books that makes you laugh out loud, nod in agreement, and then hastily tab over a page so you can revisit the amazing advice. As far as general parenting goes, this is the most helpful book I have read in years. It has undoubtedly made my children happier and me a better a mom.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Price-Mitchell

    I read a review copy of this wonderful book by Katie Hurley and was so impressed by its value to parents and also the quality of writing. As a developmental psychologist, I try to keep up with books to recommend to parents who often struggle to find balance and to raise happy, well-adjusted kids. Katie's insights are practical and proven--great advice for parents in today's increasingly complex and stressful world. Emotional regulation is an important psychological concept covered in this book. I read a review copy of this wonderful book by Katie Hurley and was so impressed by its value to parents and also the quality of writing. As a developmental psychologist, I try to keep up with books to recommend to parents who often struggle to find balance and to raise happy, well-adjusted kids. Katie's insights are practical and proven--great advice for parents in today's increasingly complex and stressful world. Emotional regulation is an important psychological concept covered in this book. Often difficult for parents to understand, Katie explains it in a wise and uncomplicated way. In addition, she provides many useful ideas for teaching kids how to identify and understand their emotions, including games, check-in boards, and feeling charts. There are so many good things to say about this book that a short review could never communicate. I recommend you pre-order it for your parenting bookshelf now. You won't be disappointed!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    Got the book based the good reviews, with high expectations of finding ideas to help my own child, but could not finish it. It started by saying u need to understand your child, which I am keen to know, just covered introvert vs extrovert, the book turns to get on tips how to teach EQ qualities to kids who can mostly articulate well. I had hoped for more on what to observe, why kids behave certain way etc, more than just intro/extra. Maybe it is the wordy writing style, and lack of truly inspiri Got the book based the good reviews, with high expectations of finding ideas to help my own child, but could not finish it. It started by saying u need to understand your child, which I am keen to know, just covered introvert vs extrovert, the book turns to get on tips how to teach EQ qualities to kids who can mostly articulate well. I had hoped for more on what to observe, why kids behave certain way etc, more than just intro/extra. Maybe it is the wordy writing style, and lack of truly inspiring new ideas, I pushed myself to the middle point then gave up. Although I totally agree the importance of understanding & teaching emotional wellbeing to kids, this book lacks the insights I was looking for

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amy McCready

    I loved this book by Katie Hurley! As a parenting educator and mom, I appreciate the emphasis on taking back childhood and reducing stress for the whole family. The Happy Kid Handbook helps parents empower their kids to take control of their own happiness. Hurley provides parents with easy, actionable steps to help them understand what makes their kids tick and how to help them carve their own paths and cope with obstacles along the way. Highly recommended! Amy McCready, Founder of Positive Pare I loved this book by Katie Hurley! As a parenting educator and mom, I appreciate the emphasis on taking back childhood and reducing stress for the whole family. The Happy Kid Handbook helps parents empower their kids to take control of their own happiness. Hurley provides parents with easy, actionable steps to help them understand what makes their kids tick and how to help them carve their own paths and cope with obstacles along the way. Highly recommended! Amy McCready, Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic - A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World

  7. 5 out of 5

    Galit

    Katie Hurley has always been a breath of fresh air in the parenting advice world. When we're all pulled in so many different directions in what we want for our kids, she brings us home with perfect simplicity: we can raise happy kids. Her book is the how-to answer for busy families living full lives who want to put a happy childhood at the center of their goals. Her expertise as a therapist and a mother of two ground what shines through every single word in the book: she practices exactly what s Katie Hurley has always been a breath of fresh air in the parenting advice world. When we're all pulled in so many different directions in what we want for our kids, she brings us home with perfect simplicity: we can raise happy kids. Her book is the how-to answer for busy families living full lives who want to put a happy childhood at the center of their goals. Her expertise as a therapist and a mother of two ground what shines through every single word in the book: she practices exactly what she preaches and, importantly, she leaves the reader feeling like someone is holding their hand and making the decision to raise happy kids together. Highly recommend.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Feldon

    Katie Hurley's The Happy Kid Handbook was the parenting book I've been searching for since the day I had kids, but could never find. Beautifully written with real, inspiring and logical tactics for parenting kids in a high-stress world, I read it through start to finish and then went back to page one to start highlighting. Happy Kid is a breath of fresh air in a parenting era that often teaches you to question your own judgment and push kids to the limit. I felt like taking a deep sigh of relief Katie Hurley's The Happy Kid Handbook was the parenting book I've been searching for since the day I had kids, but could never find. Beautifully written with real, inspiring and logical tactics for parenting kids in a high-stress world, I read it through start to finish and then went back to page one to start highlighting. Happy Kid is a breath of fresh air in a parenting era that often teaches you to question your own judgment and push kids to the limit. I felt like taking a deep sigh of relief after reading this book, and my relationship with my kids is already better for it. A must read for any parent's bookshelf!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rick Ackerly

    Looking at parenting from the child’s point of view changes the game and helps parents to become learning partners with their children rather than engineers of their future. The parent-child partnership did not improve when parent became a verb. In the last generation the proliferation of books teaching how “to parent” has increasingly made parents feel lost rather than found. Katie Hurley’s The Happy Kid Handbook helps to point us back to simply being parents by looking at the challenges of rais Looking at parenting from the child’s point of view changes the game and helps parents to become learning partners with their children rather than engineers of their future. The parent-child partnership did not improve when parent became a verb. In the last generation the proliferation of books teaching how “to parent” has increasingly made parents feel lost rather than found. Katie Hurley’s The Happy Kid Handbook helps to point us back to simply being parents by looking at the challenges of raising children from the point of view of the child. Yup, happy kids make better learners.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    A timely, friendly and useful narrative that is supported by research parents will find accessible and tips they will find actionable. As a parent, teacher and teacher-of-teachers, this book covers a lot of bases for adults, no matter what their role, to understand the role of stress and everyday life on our kids. What's more, Katie Hurley shows all of us ways we can feel a sense of control, identify what we can change and improve our outlook to weather those bumps.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    I really enjoyed reading this book. It has some very good insights about how to raise children. My sister needs to read this book Pronto! I have always known each of my kids were separate individuals and that they require different things from me, but didn't understand why. This book helped me see these differences that I haven't been able to explain to others in a very understandable way. It will really help with my work with children and families.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    I decided to read this recently-published book on parenting because of its title and because I am a first-time grandmother of the happiest little guy ever and hope to do my part in helping him stay that way. This book is full of practical advice and tips. "Savor the small moments, screenshot the happiness, and play as if no one is watching. You won't regret it."

  13. 5 out of 5

    Heather Turgeon

    Compassionate, smart, and practical advice on raising happy kids. Big ideas--backed by clinical wisdom and research--and step by step guidance on how to apply them. -- Heather Turgeon, co-author of The Happy Sleeper

  14. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Hines

    Good info and advice but the book suffered from some institutionalized sexism--Daddy kept going off to work and mom needed mom friends.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    At first, I was a little put off by the title of this book because I was unsure what the author meant by “happiness,” and I don’t necessarily believe that transitory, fleeting, superficial happiness should be a goal in raising children. I learned that what she actually means by “happiness” is “general contentedness because of resilience and the ability to cope with stressors (both positive and negative) in a healthy way.” That is a definition with which I can agree. I will be using some of the s At first, I was a little put off by the title of this book because I was unsure what the author meant by “happiness,” and I don’t necessarily believe that transitory, fleeting, superficial happiness should be a goal in raising children. I learned that what she actually means by “happiness” is “general contentedness because of resilience and the ability to cope with stressors (both positive and negative) in a healthy way.” That is a definition with which I can agree. I will be using some of the strategies described in this book with my children.

  16. 5 out of 5

    April

    I listened to the audio of this book and half way through knew I had to buy it (and did) so that I can use it as a reference. This covers a broad range of scenarios and offers creative ideas on how to handle them, the biggest of those that I hope to be beneficial in our household... how to teach our little people to handle their big emotions in safe and effective ways. Looking forward to rereading the print copy of this book once it arrives in the mail! There's a lot of underlining, revisiting a I listened to the audio of this book and half way through knew I had to buy it (and did) so that I can use it as a reference. This covers a broad range of scenarios and offers creative ideas on how to handle them, the biggest of those that I hope to be beneficial in our household... how to teach our little people to handle their big emotions in safe and effective ways. Looking forward to rereading the print copy of this book once it arrives in the mail! There's a lot of underlining, revisiting and implementing of ideas to be done!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I found this book helpful in giving practical advice through sharing coping strategies for different situations with children. Not all the examples and strategies were a good fit for my child and family, but there were a lot that were. All the info was a little overwhelming at times, but in the end, the book gave me some good take-aways to apply in my home.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Quite nice ideas how to be a parent

  19. 5 out of 5

    Edgar

    Great book about how to raise expressive and mindful kids by being an expressive and mindful parent.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Fenn

    So glad I read this book! A refreshing, relate-able take on positive parenting with actionable advice on every page.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Appreciated the many examples of understanding individuals, but appears to be too broad a subject for one book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cherith Keeton

    Makes some excellent points, however they are buried in repetitiveness and self agrandizing. Didn't finish......felt like it was going to be the same info over & over. Makes some excellent points, however they are buried in repetitiveness and self agrandizing. Didn't finish......felt like it was going to be the same info over & over.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarika

    audiobooked but I would recommend getting the actual book if you read this one. She has lots of ideas games and scenarios I liked and wrote a bunch down - print copy would be better.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Selah Pike

    My daughter has a tendency to overreact with negative emotions when she's frustrated. I also struggle with my emotions ruling me, and I want to help her so that she doesn't continue to struggle into adulthood. I'm not sure exactly how helpful this book is, but it did make me realize that a few of the coping strategies I use (allowing myself a good cry, deep breathing, and talking back to my negative thoughts) are things that I can teach my daughter to do. It's a very anecdotal book, and I would' My daughter has a tendency to overreact with negative emotions when she's frustrated. I also struggle with my emotions ruling me, and I want to help her so that she doesn't continue to struggle into adulthood. I'm not sure exactly how helpful this book is, but it did make me realize that a few of the coping strategies I use (allowing myself a good cry, deep breathing, and talking back to my negative thoughts) are things that I can teach my daughter to do. It's a very anecdotal book, and I would've preferred more research to balance the anecdotes. A number of chapters were dull for me, because they were "preaching to the choir" - I *know* over scheduling is stressful for kids and parents, I *know* kids need a schedule, lots of sleep and plenty of unstructured playtime.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Roseanney Liu

    Terrific handbook giving parents a logical how-to in raising empathetic, independent, less stressed kids of today. I found so many wonderful tips that I can easily implement right away in helping and interacting with my children (age 9 and 6). An easy read with a welcoming voice that combines both Hurley's professional background as a psychotherapist and as a mother.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Dumler-Montplaisir

    I stopped this parenting advice book after the first CD. No one can be opposed to the idea of raising happy kids and the narration is upbeat and happy itself (I wanted to rate it higher just for the happy voice) but I was too put off by this particular LCSW's apparent lack of actual research on her target topics. She extrapolates from how to raise her kids which, at the age 5 and 7, she had already attributed many fixed personality traits. Instead of seeing their tendencies as related to gendere I stopped this parenting advice book after the first CD. No one can be opposed to the idea of raising happy kids and the narration is upbeat and happy itself (I wanted to rate it higher just for the happy voice) but I was too put off by this particular LCSW's apparent lack of actual research on her target topics. She extrapolates from how to raise her kids which, at the age 5 and 7, she had already attributed many fixed personality traits. Instead of seeing their tendencies as related to gendered enforcement at school, developmental stages, birth order or other concerns she may need to address in the future, she determined her eldest daughter to be an extrovert because she happily talks non-stop. This is a mistake we made as well as we were sure our eldest would NEVER stop talking between age 6 up until 8+. She may ultimately be an extrovert but, it turns out, she can stop talking. However her previously very internalized sibling picked up the continuously chatty trait at exactly the same age. The author then, because she decides her 5 year old son is different from her daughter (and therefore introverted), attributes all of his traits to introversion (including huge, regular emotional outbursts and not asking for play dates--at age 5) while attributing all traits of her daughter to extroversion including her thinking out loud, being sensitive to criticism and needing to move a lot. Extroverts can also have regular (large) emotional outbursts--and often do--while introverts can think out loud, be extra sensitive, not be prone to huge outbursts and may, as many 7 year olds do, need to move a lot when young. She suggests that the traits she has seen in her children are likely the traits for other children who fall into the categories of introvert and extrovert. Perhaps her best material is saved for later in the book and I will miss it but the message of "meet each child where they are"--an important but well worn parenting advice piece--is pretty lost by the need to [in my mind, inappropriately] categorizing all young kids into flawed categories that will very probably fluctuate with time.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Mostly just skimmed this - was intended primarily for children younger than my son. A few good tidbits. Nothing new. Much prefer the perspective in I Just Want My Kids to Be Happy!: Why You Shouldn't Say It, Why You Shouldn't Think It, What You Should Embrace Instead. Mostly just skimmed this - was intended primarily for children younger than my son. A few good tidbits. Nothing new. Much prefer the perspective in I Just Want My Kids to Be Happy!: Why You Shouldn't Say It, Why You Shouldn't Think It, What You Should Embrace Instead.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Pasky

    Decided not to read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    4.5 stars. A great book full of practical things you can implement right away.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    Read for July Richmond Family Magazine's Parenting by the Book. Very anecdotal. Would have preferred more research.

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