Karen Phillip, author of Who Runs Your House: The Kids or You? is a mother of three and a trained counselor. She has conducted government-sponsored parenting courses and worked in family counseling for almost 20 years. In other words, she is well-versed in the subject of parenting, the topic of her new book.
Who Runs Your House is geared for parents of younger children, with an emphasis on starting good habits early rather than trying to “retrofit” after negative patterns are established. Non-Australians may be unfamiliar with some of the local lingo, but the topics are relevant to parents across the globe—from simpler issues such as dinner and bedtime routines to more complex challenges such as blended families and parental separation.
The author has a frank voice; at times her opinions come across as quite vehement. For example, on the subject of “child restraints”, (e.g., harness or wrist restraints that can prevent a child from dashing into dangerous situations), the author encourages parents to decide what is safest for their child. But the text refers to those critical of such restraints as “condescending morons” and “silly idiots.” While the intended point seems to be that parents are the best judges and strangers shouldn’t be critical when they don’t know all of the facts, the verbiage chosen is offputting and distracts from the key message.
Phillip’s practical experience yields useful recommendations in several areas. As with all forms of parenting advice, though, readers are likely to glean the suggestions that fit best with their own philosophies. Passages containing typographical errors and punctuation oversights – including a paragraph that appears to be tacked to the end of the wrong chapter — may hinder readers at times.
Regardless, the chapters on verbal communication are especially worthwhile. The chapter on “Your Language” includes insights into the importance of word choice when directing young children, and the chapter on childhood speech development provides a solid background on the factors influencing articulation.
Also available in hardcover or ebook.