Betsy Brown Braun's latest book, "You're Not the Boss of Me," should be tucked into the hospital swag bags of every new parent.
The subtitle is "Brat-Proofing Your 4- to 12-Year-Old Child." So if you start reading it when your child is a newborn, chances are you'll have a headstart in raising a non-brat.
Chapters are broken down into key character components, including empathy, independence, responsibility, honesty, respect and gratitude.
Like her previous book, "Just Tell Me What to Say," Braun uses what she calls "tips and scripts" to explain everyday lessons, literally giving readers the words to say in some cases. Although a renowned parenting consultant and behavior specialist, Braun's simple delivery makes her methods easy to understand, if not always easy to implement. Her scripts are somewhat wordy, though, so pick what will make the most impact on an attention span.
Some of the advice may surprise you. In the honesty chapter, Braun suggests parents beware of insisting a child say "I'm sorry." What you really want, she says, is for the child to BE sorry. Saying it without meaning it is lying. Instead, help the child figure out a way to make amends - replace what she took, do something nice for someone she hurt, etc.
Because the best way to teach character is by example, Braun has a lot to say about how adults conduct themselves. In that regard, it is a good read not just for parents but also for teachers, mentors, scout leaders, babysitters and anyone who, like it or not, is responsible for molding the next generation. Maybe Braun should send some copies to the writers of "iCarly."