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Friday, December 25, 2009

Review: Your Kids are Your Own Fault

I don’t review a lot of books, because frankly – if I have time to read, I want it to be something on my current reading list. But the title of this book, Your Kids are Your Own Fault – A Guide for Raising Responsible, Productive Adults, got to me. It’s snarky and I like that.

The book was sent to me by the publisher – if I saw it in the bookstore – I’m not sure I would buy it. Why? I love the title. But the author’s picture is on the front. And you if you judge a book by its cover, I’d have to say he doesn’t look like the kind of guy I’d take parenting advice from. The stern-looking author, Larry Winget, is wearing a fancy cowboy shirt. He’s bald with small hoop earrings, and has facial hair on his chin and jaw only.

The author has built a publishing empire writing books encouraging his readers to take responsibility for themselves. He wrote You’re Broke Because You Want to Be. He wrote Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life. And tellingly – No Time for Tact.

Even his testimonials come from people I don’t think I’d trust. Here’s one: “He’s overwrought with righteous awesomeness.” Huh? And another. “You freaking rock, Larry!!!”

So you’ve been warned.

That said, Winget’s message is a good one. Your kids aren’t going to raise themselves to be good adults without you stepping in and guiding them. Not being their friend, but teaching them responsibility.

He includes some worksheets so you can spend some time detailing what you want to pass on to your kids – the values, what you want to teach your child, information your child needs to become the type of adult you hope them to be. Whether or not you do the worksheets, it gives you pause to consider your parenting philosophy.

One area Winget covers is self-esteem, and I like his approach. Your child gains self-esteem from doing and accomplishing, not from being told by you that he or she is fabulous.

Which brings me to one other approach the author takes. Your child is not special. To you, yes – your child is the greatest thing on earth and should know that at home. But if you let your child think he’s special outside the home, the kid will expect to be treated that way by others, and feel entitled to success and everything else good in life. That needs to be earned.

The book spouts a no-nonsense approach I like. But perhaps he’s preaching to the choir with me. He reminds me of some of my friends' blue-collar right-wing husbands. Guys who hunt and fish and watch Fox news religiously. We won't sit down and sip lattes together, but I can appreciate that they're good husbands and fathers.
I think the beauty of a book like this being written by a non-child rearing expert is that it will reach a different audience. An audience who maybe doesn’t read parenting books or magazines and will say as one of his fans said “Like a bucket of cold water, I needed that.”


  1. Hey!

    Loved your review...

    And wanted to add something... I am far from a right-wing, blue-collar, hunting, conservative zealots who get their life-news from Fox.

    I'm very liberal, like msnbc, read massively, have a Masters degree, have run sweet parenting classses on listening and creative loving approaches... worked as a counsellor to teens. So very airy fairy lovey dovey type generally.

    Yet Larry fills a gap that other sweet, spiritual, nicey-type books don't. I'm a single mother with two small kids. I was brought up in a single parented household of 4 kids. So that strong masculine energy is devoid in my life. What Larry's books offer is a strong, sound, hard nosed approach that is stable. Like a rock in shaky times that continue to honour integrity and responsibility - values I want my kids to know and live aligned with.

    So I wanted to offer a voice to those beyond his predictable audience- "the common man" - and call out out to the liberal women and single parents out there who have been brought up without a reliable dependable father....



  2. Larry Winget is awesome..his books make sense....get them and read them..Felix

  3. I can't wait to read this book. I am a fan of Larry's and I believe that you can either like what he has to say or hate what he has to say. Bottom line is, he makes good points that should at least be loooked at and like he always says: results are everything.

  4. Natalie, not surprising your single. Broken homes, raise broken homes, you will do the same for your kids and never figure out it is your own fault. Turn on some Fox, find a man that can tolerate you and raise your kids the proper way, with a mom and dad.

  5. Dear Anonymous...

    Interesting you don't want a name to your words, and don't have the honesty or back bone to stand up behind what you say.

    What's broken? Truly - I know MANY homes that have a mother and father that are toxic, unhealthy, and truly a terrible environment for kids to breath in. I actually worked with kids that were robots in stuck homes that tolerated each other - and the kids felt little love because there was no spark of deliciousness. And I know coupled homes that are truly beautiful, loving homes - who's families have had the love to adopt and take on more challenges. But each person has to find the way that supports and opens them to their fullest vibrancy and love on earth. And I know joint parented custody agreemtns that rock my world with how gloriously people can work together in bringing up the most remarkable, able, gorgeous boys in the world. And I know single parented families that bring up truly amazing beings.

    "Together" families (like my own mothers) - where my grandparents were together over 60 years til he died this year at 97 STILL raise "broken" families. Being together does not mean that it's fixed. Many couples are living a facade or a lie... I don't want that.

    I don't want a man that can "tolerate" me - when I do finally decide it's time to be in a relationship in a few years it won't be with someone who "tolerates" me - it will be a relationship that opens to love, thrives, grows, transforms, creates magic, and develops amazing children who make a difference in the world. Who accept others choices, who don't hide anonomously behind judgement, who can make a stand for LOVE and living your Dreams, rather than a "proper" way of being that is endoctrinated and forced as though it's the only way to be.


  6. I know of few children in the world like me and my siblings - all well travelled around the world, the other 3 are married, we all have degrees (my oldest brother is has a Science Doctorate and won the Young Scientist of the Year in the states last year (I'm sure he only watches Fox - we're polar opposites in views!!), my other brother is a Vet in his own thriving practice that gives generously to all animals, my sister is an accountant with a beautiful big heart in South Africa, and we're all still connected and have family holidays together every few years - even though we're all around the globe living our dreams. Most coupled families would NEVER bring up kids like this. Who make something of their lives. All of us are truly happy - with how our lives are growing towards our potential. My mother devoted her lives to us, yet showed us that we could passionately live out what was important to us and what we are good at. Her way may not have been PROPER - but it truly was an amazing rollercoaster ride, that took us all into driven, communicating, rational adults who question the status quo and ask what is right for us, rather than what soceity thinks is best.

    All of these my siblings and I have been challenged to think for ourselves - all brought up by one mother (and all had the same father who lived in another country for a lot of our lives).

    I would far rather have been brought up like that, then live in a home that tolerated each other, and was proper. I got to be me - fully audaciously open, loving, authentic, honest, and vulnerable in my failings...

    Rather than a cookie cutter person... that is ultimately not tolerant, doesn't stand up behind their words, and is faceless. If THAT is what being in two-parent tolerant household has done to YOU, then I am fully and truly appreciative of who my mother brought me up to be: curious, interested, able to stand up for myself, others and the right values, living on purpose, and caring deeply for people and their journey.

    Larry's books help to establish "proper" values, rather than judgements about what is the PROPER way for anyone to be. Values like being true to yourself, having backbone, responsibility, integrity, honesty, and authenticity. He helps people create a bold plan for living successful lives that honour your soul.... not do society expects of you, or that they enforce. That's why I am grateful for his work in the world. He powerfully lives and breaths being true to yourself, and shining in your own self expression. So you become YOU not a programmed, habitual, mold of your parents who does the right thing in integrity.

    Love to you and I wish you an outstanding life that honours your Greatness - however that may look for you, and be right for yoru journey!

  7. to "anonymous": your position shows how ignorant you are, and i would rather have a (lack of) bad and ignorant information than information from someone with what sounds like close to no actual facts in front of them, coupled with a mean spirited judgmental attitude that borders on the ridiculous... i hope your children are already grown and can access a more loving effective message... but if you are right the would mean your kids are screwed as they will be cursed with the same mindset as you... very very sad. wonder if you ever broke through or improved on some of your parents old or negative or not healthy ideas? guess not, as according to you we are just stuck with no chance of self will or improvement... sigh

  8. Like I said, you will never figure out that it is your own fault. Tina, what I said was mean spirited, but no more then what you said. "My kids are screwed up" "I hope your kids are grown" "cursed with the same mind set." All mean
    spirited, it is funny when you have the opinion that a family should have a mom and dad, your opinion is referred to as "ridiculous." My "kid" if you must know, is just fine, she is a Doctor in California, a bleeding heart liberal and I love her for it. Her grand parents and her parents are still happily married republicans and she is a democrat all the way. I raised her to think for her self and have conservative values. Instead of marrying the wrong person, she waited, found the right person and has a great life. I wonder if people realize that the mistake is made when they marry the wrong person, not when they divorce them. I don't think anyone should stay in a bad relationship, but take responsibility for the relationship that you created. Tina, thank you for asking about my "kid" even though you did it in a "mean spirited" way, I love talking about her and thank you for the "mean spirited" sigh, but it is not needed.

  9. ok anonymous,
    to clarify,
    my sole point regarding your comment was i have an issue of your tone of never etc. i.e., that one can clearly feel from your post that one is "destined" to "only" be from a one parent home if one does not have an other alternative, and the allusion that the two parent home (though i do agree two happy healthy loving parents would be optimal) if that is not possible (regardless of the circumstances, which might include being widowed etc, not always from divorce, pregnancy out of wedlock etc.,) then a healthy loving home in any form can lead to an emotionally actualized, conscious, loving prosperous adult. The tone I perceived was 'if you don't you're doomed into something that is automatically viewed as less than or lacking and will repeat that'

  10. Tina is the author of this blog. Kinda immature.