“Parent Hacks” author to share inspired workarounds at Changing Hands

Author Asha Dornfest will sign books at Changing Hands Phoenix on Monday, May 9.
Author Asha Dornfest will sign books at Changing Hands Phoenix on Monday, May 9.

I hadn’t read a parenting book in years, and honestly, what a relief! Most of them were like every latest, greatest hair-removal system to come on the market—way too complicated, often painful and full of empty promises.

I never had the slightest hesitation in consigning the majority of them to the secondhand shop. So when two of them landed in my mailbox at work, I was skeptical, then pleasantly surprised.

As any experienced parent knows, figuring out workarounds to life’s almost daily small disasters is a survival skill on par with being able to find potable water in the desert.

Noted parenting blogger Asha Dornfest has done some of the work for you in her newly published “Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids,” a clear, concise collection of excellent fixes, workarounds and why-didn’t-I-think-of-thats gleaned from her blog, parenthacks.com.

Dornfest will be at Changing Hands in Phoenix on Monday, May 9 to share tips and sign books, along with Joshua Becker, the Peoria author of “The More of Less.”

At the risk of sounding like one of those “Cure for cancer, see page 5. Lose 10 pounds overnight by eating the magical food shown on page 8” alternative healthcare mailers, you really do need to check out Dornfest’s tip on page 24, and the one on page 76, and—my personal favorite—the one on page 228.

Actually, most of them are pretty sweet. Also, you may be well aware of all the terrific additional uses for baby wipes, but what about everything you can do with painter’s tape or a pool noodle? Who knew?

If you go: 7 p.m. Monday, May 9. Changing Hands, 300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix. Free. 602-274-0067 or changinghands.com.

An in-your-face approach to parenting

The other half of my mailbox duo was the ironically named “Your Kid’s A Brat and It’s All Your Fault” by Elaine Rose Glickman. I admit I was intrigued by the in-your-face title, and the fact that her name, incongruously, conjured up in my mind a lovely grandmotherly lady with pearls and a standing appointment for a weekly wash and set. As I began reading, though, I found myself questioning my intuition.

Your Kid's a Brat and It's All Your Fault, parenting booksI don’t think I have ever read a parenting book with even one good old Anglo-Saxon curse word in it, let alone enough of them to compete with a young adult novel. So, for those of you offended by the occasional cuss word, a word to the wise.

That said, the book, divided into three sections—toddler/preschool, ages 5-10, and ages 9-12—describes familiar, daily-life scenarios that will make almost any parent, almost simultaneously, laugh out loud and cringe in horrified recognition.

The author’s premise is that many kids have been allowed to run roughshod over their parents and anyone else in their vicinity for a variety of not-good-enough reasons. She acknowledges that “Parenting isn’t easy; but taking back the reins of authority, demanding respect and courtesy, and—most of all—loving your kid enough to be the boss will make it a lot more enjoyable and rewarding.”

Then she shows parents how, offering concrete, sensible and surprisingly easy solutions to a laundry list of parent-child behavioral conundrums.

Glickman—who is actually lovely, and not grandmotherly by any standard—is a former teacher, and a current parent and parenting columnist as well as an ordained rabbi and Hebrew scholar. She knows the brat territory well. Her advice is timely, refreshing, simple and straightforward.

Best of all, it doesn’t require bribes, contracts, puppets, stickers, charts, timers or timeout chairs—just a decision, then persistence.