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BOOK

Stan Ferguson, an experienced family therapist and parenting consultant, shares information, techniques, and skills he believes to be essential for parents who want to connect with their children in deep personal ways and to effectively nurture and guide them. Parents are more concerned than ever about their children's safety, emotional well being, and success. Yet parental worry and concern can lead to counterproductive behaviors that produce anxiety in children and diminish their confidence, abilities, and self esteem. What Parents Need to Know About Children focuses on the basic and most important information all parents need to reach their overall goals of happiness and success for their children.

Each chapter includes practical information, at least one highlighted story that illustrates and illuminates important concepts, a "Review" section, and a "How to put into Practice" section. This format makes it ideal for individuals, couples, or groups to learn parenting skills.



What Others are Saying:

"It is obvious this book was born in Stanís heart. It is very practical and the examples of specific responses he includes will be really helpful to parents. The stories he shares present graphic pictures so that the ideas they illustrate are easily remembered. I hope this book does well because of the lives it will help change."
     Garry Landreth - Regents Professor, University of North Texas and author of Play Therapy: The Art
    of the Relationship.



"New parents frequently ask me, 'Where is the 'How To' book to go with our new baby?' What Parents Need To Know About Children is that book. The stories, the exercises, the examples - all make 'head and heart' go together. This book is a must for successful parenting."
     Pat Kennedy - Professor Emeritus, Former Chair of Child Development, Eastfield College


"It's a pleasure to endorse this wonderfully practical and entertaining guide for parents. It's reflective of Stan's love for children, his extraordinary wisdom where they are concerned, and his unique gifts as a teacher and counselor. I heartily recommend What Parents Need To Know About Children to everyone who has a child or has ever been one."
     Richard D. Carson - Author of Taming Your Gremlin: A Guide To Enjoying Yourself


"What an outstanding book! Stan Ferguson has put into writing the basic critical truths that we parents find so elusive. As an educator for 28 years and a parent of two children, I recommend Stan's book as the best book for parents that I have ever read. Simple, clear and concise, it offers useful tools for effective parenting."
     Terry N. Ford - Exec. Dir., East Dallas Community School and Dallas Community Charter School,
     Southern Methodist University Distinguished Alumni - 1996



Chapter Summaries:

Chapter One - Noticing Your Child
Learning how to notice and be with children without evaluation is the crucial first step in establishing a closer, more satisfying, and more productive relationship with them. This chapter illuminates for parents what the monitored life of children is like, and gives practical steps for establishing new skills that deepen parent and child relationships and makes them more rewarding.

Chapter Two - Listening
There is power in listening to heal and enrich our significant relationships. This chapter uses story to provide inspiration for the importance of listening to children. Step by step instructions and examples are provided that illustrate the necessary skills. The section "How to Put Listening into Practice" gives suggestions for how parents can begin to practice and include new listening skills in relating to children.

Chapter Three - Motivating Children
All parents want their children to be excited and motivated about their lives and goals. Most parents, however, don't understand the underlying dynamics of motivation and many unintentionally undermine its development and growth. This chapter underscores the crucial role that each child's unique qualities and interests play in their own motivation. Parents are taught how they can leverage their child's individual qualities and personal interests to increase levels of motivation. Problems with the overuse of praise, how acknowledgment is better for motivating children, and the role of parent expectations are explained.

Chapter Four - Building Self Confidence in Children
This is a challenging time in which to grow up and to be a parent. Finding the balance between supporting and caring for children and equipping them to live with confidence and self-esteem is crucial. However, this chapter explores the common pitfalls of many traditional ideas about encouraging kids and introduces powerful, surprising concepts through story and practical application for helping children discover their own competence and ability.

Chapter Five - Becoming a Better Parent
The idea of child development is understood and accepted by most adults. However many don't acknowledge the idea of parent development. Parents grow and develop just as children do. Using a story about research conducted on college age men, this chapter demonstrates the crucial role of awareness in changing the entrenched habits of thought, behavior, and feeling that influence how we parent. Specific steps are recommended to bring these habits into awareness where change can occur through conscious intention and choice.

Chapter Six - The Power of Play
Adults often overlook the significance of children's innate need to play. Yet, even the philosopher, Plato, recognized that play is a revealing and important process. This chapter describes the properties of play, and offers ways of harnessing its power to help children mature, express themselves and manage anxiety. Parents are given instructions for using the Special Storytimes technique to alleviate anxiety that all children face at times.

Chapter Seven - More About the Power of Play
This chapter is pivotal to the book because it contains a central and remarkable truth: the language of the child is play. Here parents will learn in detail how to host "Special Play Times". These special once-a-week, one-on-one experiences between parent and child makes it possible to enter the inner world of a child and connect in a deeper, more meaningful way. Parents learn how the special playtime process builds self-esteem, provides support for children going through challenging experiences, and increases children's sense of confidence and competence.

Chapter Eight - Children and Discipline
The word "discipline" has a very negative connotation for most people, especially when it relates to children. Threats of punishment, and the fear it produces, pervade traditional approaches to discipline. Yet, if healthy adults don't choose to be in such fear-based relationships, why should parents use fear-based methods with their children, the people they love most in the world? Here are very practical suggestions for removing impediments to effective discipline and improving your child's behavior with simple, wise, and loving methods.

Chapter Nine - Discipline That Teaches Responsibility: The Power of Choice
In order to do anything well, you must understand the dynamics or forces that generate activity and change in whatever you want to do. This chapter describes five powerful dynamics that influence children's behavior, and which should be considered when seeking to discipline effectively. Building upon an understanding of these dynamics, two discipline strategies are provided. One plan is appropriate for guiding infants and toddlers and the other is intended for school age through the teen years. Both are designed to build personal responsibility in children as they learn to make choices and experience the consequences that flow out of those choices.

Chapter Ten - Getting Close...Letting Go: Parenting From Beginning to End
We are parents for life. This final chapter illustrates movingly and lovingly the kind of role a parent can have in the life of an adult child even as the parent's life is ending. Though parents may ultimately need physical help and more, they still have a last stretch of road to travel as our parents, and we still have some of the greatest lessons of life to learn from them.

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