Another book for the parenthood gig is on the shelves at bookstore near you.

Dr. Walsh is the founder of the National Institute on Media and the Family and the author of Why Do They Act That Way?: A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain For You and Your Teen. In his new book, Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids, Dr. Walsh summarizes a wealth of information for parents — much of which is related to findings during the last couple of decades of brain research. He combines research findings with tips and suggestions parents can immediately put into practice with their children.

The best parts of his book offer explanations parents everywhere are searching for, and confirms that raising children today is different than in past generations.

Why is my child able to attend to an hour-long television program, but can't seem to focus on what his teacher his saying?

Dr. Walsh explains the difference between reactive attention and focused attention, and gives suggestions for improving the latter. He goes on to explain how memory works and how parents can help improve it in their children.

What in the world is going on in my teenager's brain?

Dr. Walsh takes on the teenage years in his book. He calls it a period of time when the brain is "under construction," and deals with subjects like communication (yes, there should be some; let's make it better), and romance and sex — especially the differences between boy brains and girl brains in this area (yo, parents — you better be talking it up with your kids about sex).

How long do my kids really need to sleep?

As it turns out, quite a bit. This doesn't — and shouldn't — prevent them from doing chores, however (says me; the good doctor doesn't talk much about chores).

He also spends a chapter discussing differences in the way the boys' brains and girls' brains work — especially with regards to emotions (yep, they're different, but Dr. Walsh points out that boys and girls are still individuals — and parents need to treat them as such).

Most of Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids is basic information that has been on the proverbial pendulum ride as new generations of parents have children, and deal with challenges unique to decades in which they raise them. He emphasizes the importance of routine, encourages parents to use the word "no," and lists self-discipline as "the key to success." He makes a case for schools to pay close attention to individual student needs, adjusting curriculum and instruction accordingly.

He also discusses:

  • The importance of nutrition and exercise
  • Sleep (How much do kids need?)
  • Play
  • Managing emotions
  • Helping children deal with crisis and trauma

This book isn't rocket science, and I can't guarantee that it will make your kids smarter, but parents can use the information to help children reach their potential, especially in the digital-processed food-lack-of-physical activity-internet age. The book packages as a nice how-to manual for parents.

Now, if we can only get them potty trained real early, out the door on time every day for school, and trained to take out the trash without being reminded — we'll be all set.

I received a copy of Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids to review. The opinions are my honest view of the book.

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