Katherine Reynolds Lewis has been a friend and writing colleague for years. But we’ve never met in person. How weird is that? Bizarre a generation ago but totally normal for writers these days, now that our water cooler has become Facebook and LinkedIn.
Katherine Reynolds Lewis and I have been talking (well, mostly emailing) a lot lately. There’s one good reason: Katherine Reynolds Lewis has a fascinating new book coming out next week (for advice to authors who want to write books, click here and here; for authors launching books, here and here). And … for one not-so-good reason: Her husband is a cardiologist who specializes in electrophysiology and my husband has been having some heart challenges.
The Good News About Bad Behavior, a new book by Katherine Reynolds Lewis
In any case … drumroll… On April 17, PublicAffairs will publish The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever — And What to Do About It by Katherine Reynolds Lewis.
The book argues that today’s kids are having a harder time than ever maintaining self-control, with rising rates of anxiety, ADHD, depression, self-harm, and suicide.
And so true.
There were six teen suicides in six months in one Ohio school district. My friend, Jessica Gottlieb, told me there has been a rash of teen suicides in southern California, especially in Orange County, in the last few months, leaving parents baffled and devastated. We’ve also seen high numbers of suicides here in Southern Oregon, as I reported on for Jefferson Public Radio.
As a journalist, parent educator, and mom of three, Katherine Reynolds Lewis (who goes by Kakki with her friends) knows a lot about kids.
What if everything you think you know about discipling kids is wrong?
She became a full-time freelance writer in 2009 and has been determined to write a book ever since. Year after year went by without her doing it. Finally, with the help of an accountability partner, she wrote the pitch for the article, “What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong,” that was published in Mother Jones that went crazy viral and led to a book contract.
Kakki tells me she spent five years in total working on this book. She interviewed and shadowed parents, educators, psychologists, and research scientists, in order to present a comprehensive portrait of the modern state of bad behavior. All good.
But more importantly, the book highlights game-changing strategies to help parents navigate tricky behavior and work with our children toward better solutions.
We need less anxiety, self-harm, and suicide; and more solutions.
So what’s the good news about bad behavior?
That we don’t have to punish kids or set up elaborate reward systems.
Instead, we can win them over with positive and encouraging strategies.
There is so much good, applicable, practical parenting advice in this book, which is written more like a novel than a ponderous book of non-fiction (though, full disclosure, I like those too.)
Like Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman’s NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, The Good News About Bad Behavior by Katherine Reynolds Lewis is a book you can’t put down. It’s one you’ll want to read over and over again.
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Published: April 15, 2018
Updated: February 16, 2023
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