My book Love, Limits, & Lessons: A Parent’s Guide To Raising Cooperative Kids is a different kind of parenting book. It is designed more as a quick reference guide in which parents can look up a particular problem they are having with their child(ren) and get the information they need. The book avoids all the theory and provided parents with step-by-step methods that are firm AND respectful.
Tell us something about yourself.
I grew up the oldest of eight children in an abusive home in Massachusetts. Our father was a feather-weight championship boxer who fought at the Boston Gardens ring in the 1960s. When I became a father myself, I instantly knew what NOT to do as a father with my three children, but I didn’t know WHAT to do. So I became a parent educator to learn how to be a better father than the model I had growing up. Not only did it work, but I realized I could help others become better parents as well. In 2006 after working for the parenting company that trained me, I left after 12 years and started my own organization with a different methodology. Today I train other instructors nationally, lecture nationally, and produce and host a cable television show called CREATING COOPERATIVE KIDS.
What inspired you to write this book?
Inspired by the teachings of famed psychologist Alfred Adler and child psychiatrist Rudolf Dreikurs, I became frustrated with all the differing methodologies being written about in parenting books and decided to go right to the heart of matter by getting my own psychology degree to figure it out. It contains a recipe for, not only raising a cooperative child, but also a child who will know how to tap into the power within him or herself in discovering their full potential and find their purpose on schedule.
How did you choose the title?
I wanted the title to be descriptive so that a potential reader would know exactly what was inside. In 2004 I was invited to be the keynote speaker at a major child behavior conference near Nashville, Tennessee. The organizers asked me to help them title the conference based on what I would be speaking about and I wanted something catchy. So using a alliteration, I came up with the 3 things I would be emphasizing that I think all parents (and teachers) should be providing to children; LOVE, LIMITS, and LESSONS. The conference title was so popular and the turnout was beyond what the organizers expected, so I trademarked that title. In 2006 I developed my own parenting course using that same title and then published the book in late 2008 with the same name.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
My first obstacle was fighting feeling overwhelmed with the writing process. To get past this, I used the old mind-mapping process that I had learned in college and broke my book out into 40 separate topics. Then I sat down each day to write one essay about one topic. Because some topics would take me more than one day to research and write it, the entire writing process took me about 90 days.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I decided years earlier that I wanted to become a professional speaker and took the right paths to develop my skills and my business sense for that kind of work. One thing that I learned from my mentors was that a good speaker needs a book to sell at the back of the room when presenting. That thought, coupled with the fact that I needed a book to accompany my parenting class, told me that I needed to develop my writing skills and eventually publish a book. Well before my book, I began writing short 800 – 1000 word articles and submitting them to regional parenting magazine. A few finally began to publish my articles and I realized that I could write and also loved to write nonfiction, self-help parenting material.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
I learned that the font and readability of the book is very important to readers, as well as short chapters. I decided to use a nontraditional font with a more rounded style of letters and I have heard from so many readers that they appreciated the font I used. They also like shorter chapters and my readers have told me that shorter chapters compel them to actually read more. People like shorter goals.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would be more patient and take my time. I was so anxious to get it written, edited, and into the printer. I am going to take my time with the volume 2 that I am writing now.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?
I most enjoy other self-help psychology books and enjoy reading books by pediatricians and psychologists that match my style of parenting. I also enjoy reading books by Dr. Wayne Dyer and Marianne Williamson.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I am currently working on a VOLUME 2 that will pick up where my first one left off. I have written another 25 – 30 chapters based on additional behavior that frustrate parents and will have that out this month for parents who have purchased my first book. This Spring I will combine both books for a NEW REVISED EDITION and have hired a graphics artist who is designing the cover.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
You can do it! Just break your book project down into smaller doable pieces and believe in yourself. Find a mentor, someone who has traveled this path before, and ask for their help. If you plan to self-publish, a good book for guidance that I recommend is Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual. One more important thing to keep in mind is that most people dream of writing a book but few actually follow through and do it. Because of this, you may notice two types of people that appear around you as you are writing your book; those who are comfortable seeing others succeed and will encourage you, and those who may be jealous of your ambition and may discourage you into believing you can’t do it. Be sure to stay connected to those who are encouraging and avoid those who may attempt to sabotage your dream to finish the book.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
Parents and professionals who live or work with children from 18 months to 18 years of age, and who are open to new ideas in parenting.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
Readers and parents can learn more about me and my work at www.CooperativeKids.com