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Common Sense Parenting – A Montessori perspective

“Common Sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.”
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge -

This new published book “Common Sense Parenting A-Z” offers the application of common sense with the insight of a Montessori perspective to help create a parenting plan for maximum success. Having powerful tools is a great step to parenting excellence.

“Common Sense Parenting” is a veritable encyclopedia of parenting topics covering everything from “Accountability” to “Zeal” with 160 steps in between.

This is a great resource for parents. It is a great resource for counseling parents.

Order today from our shop for $29.95
Below is the introduction to the book and an index of topics.




     It has been said that it is not so much that adults produce children but that children produce adults. Parenting is one of God’s unique plans to transform an adult into the image of Christ. Very few activities can compare to the demands that are made on us to be “just like Jesus” than being a parent. Common Sense Parenting is designed to help you do three things. One, to develop your own philosophy of parenting. Two, to help you develop a plan of parenting to help you go where you want to go with your family. And three, to help you decide what kind of results you want. These results will tell you if your parenting has been successful. The challenge of bringing your first baby home from the hospital doesn’t leave much time to think about the results you will want to see in ten or twenty or even thirty years. At this point you would be happy just to get a good night’s sleep. But those results will begin to be determined from the very first day. Because of your inexperience and mistakes, you can be thankful that those results are not yet written in stone. You will make plenty of mistakes. That is why we lean heavily on God and really learn what forgiveness is all about. In parenting, you have to learn how to forgive yourself, make the needed changes and try again. All the while you will realize the tremendous opportunities God gives us to learn about life right along with our children. We’ve all been told that children don’t come with an owner’s manual.

That is not quite true. The Bible is full of wisdom that helps us understand the nature of our challenge. You’re right though, it doesn’t tell us what time they should go to bed or how to stop a stomach ache, but it provides the basis for us to develop the principles and philosophy that will help us nurture our children. There is a good reason the Bible doesn’t tell us what bed time is: because we would follow the rules like Pharisees down to every jot and tittle so decidedly that we would not need God, nor would we be sensitive to the fact that each of our children is a unique creation. Parenting, by doing what comes naturally, doesn’t work because most of us would run away from a crying baby with colic. What keeps us there is this unique bond that God creates in us, this love that we never knew existed.

Now because of this new love, we not only stay, we stay to protect and to nurture. Eventually, we realize to succeed we will need to have some sort of plan. This is why we need to think about the principles and philosophy we will need to successfully nurture our children. Philosophy is a word we don’t use much every day but it has a very practical application for parenting.  Philosophy is defined as “the love of wisdom, as practical or moral wisdom, or as a study of the facts and principles of reality.” Creating a philosophy becomes the wind behind your parenting and principles become the sails to help you get your child to his destination. Principles are better than rules because they give you a broader perspective on the landscape of the future. Rules change, principles don’t. Parenting is not about rules. It is about making your actions consistent with your philosophy. This consistency takes discipline. Ultimately parenting is all about discipline – not the child’s discipline but yours: disciplining your actions to be consistent with your philosophy and principles. Much of parenting is an on the job learning experience. Sometimes it is not so much that we learn how to parent as it is the realization how much we learn about ourselves, which in turn helps focus our parenting. Many parts of our life come into focus when we are faced with the responsibility for someone else’s life. We begin to realize what we are made of, what we are willing to do, and what we are willing to become in order to fulfill our responsibility as a parent. It is sobering to be faced with your own soul, because as your children grow they become the mirrors of who you are. One of life’s great ironies is that when we were children, we swore we would not raise our children the way we were raised. As you parent you find that some of that is true. In the end, however, we raise our children mostly as our parents raised us and at the same time we do some of it exactly opposite. Contradictory? Yes, just like much of parenting. Some things we do better or maybe just differently, but we also tend to find that what we thought we knew “better” as children (and especially as teenagers) isn’t as “better” as we thought it was. When it is our turn to raise children, it is never as black and white as we thought and we come to a new appreciation of the challenges our parents faced. It is interesting that our parenting even changes our relationship to our parents. 

  • Love  89

  • Lying   93

  • Manners  94

  • Marriage  100

  • Maturity  102

  • Memories  103

  • Modesty  104

  • Mom   105

  • Money   105

  • Movies   106

  • Needs   108

  • No   112

  • Nurture   114

  • Nutrition  116

  • Obedience  117

  • Order   119

  • Parental mistakes 119

  • Patience  121

  • Peer pressure  122

  • Perfectionism  123

  • Perseverance  125

  • Pets   125

  • Philosophy  127

  • Play   127

  • Potty training  128

  • Praise   128

  • Principles  129

  • Privacy   131

  • Public Speaking  131

  • Punishment  132

  • Questions  133

  • Reading  134

  • Rebellion  134

  • Reflection  135

  • Resentment  136

  • Respect   137

  • Responsibility  138

  • Ridicule  139

  • Rights   139

  • Risk taking  140

  • Routine   141

  • Rules   141

  • Security  142

  • Safety   143

  • Self-confidence  145

  • Self-control  145

  • Self-esteem  146

  • Sex   146

  • Shame   151

  • Sibling rivalry  151

  • Sleep   152

  • Smoking  154

  • Sons   154

  • Spanking  155

  • Spiritual life  157

  • Spoiling 158

  • Sports  160

  • Standards 161

  • Stewardship 162

  • Strong willed 162

  • Stress  163

  • Success  165

  • Talking  166

  • Television 167

  • Temper  168

  • Thankfulness 169

  • Thinking 171

  • Time  172

  • Time management 173

  • Toys  173

  • Tradition 175

  • Trust  176

  • Truth  177

  • Unhappiness 177

  • Virtue  178

  • Voice  178

  • Wealth  179

  • Wisdom 180

  • Work  180      

  • Yelling  182

  • Zeal, Zero, Zoo 182

Common Sense Parenting 

     Parenting is all about change. Parenting changes us. It even makes us want to change and in changing it makes us confront who we are and yet who we still want to become. We are faced with finding a balance of reaching our own goals (and sometimes the dormant goals of our own parents) and creating opportunities for our children to reach goals even beyond us. Do you sacrifice everything for your children?  The answer is No. You just give them your life and you get to keep what’s left. Being a good parent is one of the true successes of life because, ironically, it is not only about how our children turn out. It is about how we turn out, not just as parents but as people. The ultimate success of parenting is not that you regulate your child’s behavior, but that you regulate your own behavior as a model for your child.   The purpose of this book is to help give you understanding of the critical work that you have been entrusted with. Why God entrusts this responsibility to amateurs is beyond me. Except in retrospect, we each will see the growth in ourselves as we grow as parents. One of the things that will help you in your parenting is the teaching of “life lessons” to your children. Life lessons cover all areas of your instruction as a parent. The opportunities will come over and over again to impart these lessons. I’ve tried to highlight many of these, but I am also sure that you will come up with many more as you develop your own parenting philosophy and plan. One further purpose of this book is to give you a solid defense against the “current modern” ideas that are so debilitating for our children (and our families). The “experts now agree” is an intimidating burden to fight against. In the long run, so many experts are wrong because they cannot see the end of the race, only its intermediate steps.

They do not take into account eternity and therefore don’t have a handle on time. No expert will ever love your child the way you do. The only real expert is someone who has made all of the mistakes and recovered – none of us will ever live that long. Don’t worry about “arriving” as an expert parent - just enjoy the journey.  The book has been designed so you can read it from cover to cover or refer to it from time to time about topics of interest or need. It is also designed to be read a chapter a day over and over again, because each day your children change.  And your perspective of what they need changes. Each chapter also references other chapters that have a
bearing on the subject matter. There is a workbook that will take you through twelve significant areas of parenting and help you to create your own philosophy on how you will apply what you have learned. There is also a daily plan to implement your philosophy. I can’t give you “the philosophy of parenting.” That would be like giving you a pair of my shoes. What size do you wear?


  • Accountability  5

  • Affection  5

  • Allowance  6

  • Anger   7

  • Arguments  9

  • Behavior  10

  • Bible memorization 12

  • Birthdays  12

  • Bribery   12

  • Change   14

  • Character  14

  • Christmas  15

  • Clothing  17

  • Competition  18

  • Compliments  19

  • Consequences  21

  • Courage  22

  • Courtesy  23

  • Criticism  24

  • Dad   25

  • Dating   25

  • Daughters  28

  • Day care  29

  • Death   29

  • Decision-making 30

  • Defiance  33

  • Devotions  34

  • Disappointment  35

  • Discipline  35

  • Divorce   36

  • Dreams and goals 37

  • Drinking  39

  • Drugs   39

  • Education  40

  • Ego   42

  • Embarrassment  43

  • Emotions  44

  • Entrepreneurship 46

  • Ethics   47

  • Exercise  47

  • Expectations  48

  • Failure   49

  • Fairness  52

  • Faith   52

  • Family   54

  • Fear   54

  • Fighting  57

  • Food   59

  • Forgiveness  62

  • Friends   63

  • Fun   64

  • Gambling  66

  • Games   66

  • Generosity  66

  • Giving  67

  • Grace  68

  • Grandparents 69

  • Guilt  70  

  • Habits  71

  • Happiness 72

  • Hate  73

  • Health  74

  • Heritage 75

  • Hobbies 76

  • Homework 76

  • Honesty 77

  • Honor  78

  • Hospitality 78

  • Humility 79

  • Humor  79

  • Illness  80

  • Independence 80

  • Initiative 81

  • Integrity 81

  • Jealousy 82

  • Language 83

  • Leadership 85

  • Lessons  86

  • Listening 87

  • Loyalty  88

What are the shoes going to be used for – ballet, tennis, the beach or a formal ball?  (My daddy used to kid that if you wore your beaded moccasins with your tuxedo you’d be sure to stand out.) You need your own parenting plan. You need to develop your own principles and philosophy because when you do, you will be operating with all the gifts and understanding that God has put at your disposal. Also, when they are “your” principles you will believe in them and follow them whole heartedly. Creating a philosophy of parenting is not an academic exercise. Philosophy is what you believe about life. Theology is what you believe about God. One influences the other. When you create your own philosophy, it will be much easier to be consistent in what you expect and what you demand. There is a lot of “how to” in this book. Each topic is filled with ideas and at the end of each section there are action points to consider. However, the real value of the book is to share the “why to’s” of parenting. When you understand why your actions are so important, it gives greater clarity and focus to finding appropriate “how to’s” that work for you.              


This book is written from the perspective of a lifetime of experience and wisdom. Experience is when you learn from your own mistakes (of which I’ve made plenty). Wisdom is when you learn from the mistakes of others. There have been many books, speakers, teachers and parents from whom I’ve learned wisdom and I am tremendously indebted to all of them. Having watched hundreds of parents over the years negotiate the challenge of parenting (some more successfully than others) it is a very humbling experience to know that the greatest success I’ve had is the ability to ask my children (and spouse) for forgiveness for the mistakes I’ve made (which doesn’t leave much room for bragging, does it?). This book is written by a fellow traveler. 


Nobody gets parenting “perfect.” What we do get is a glimpse of how much our Heavenly Father loves us and wants the best for us.  We see this in the reflection of our Common Sense Parenting imperfect actions because we, too, love our children and want the best for them.           


Your success in parenting will be in proportion to your ability to change, to grow, to ask for forgiveness and to laugh. Years ago one of my co-teachers, Edna Sorenson, gave me a handwritten note – “Learn to laugh at your problems and you will never run out of things to laugh about.” May you laugh through your tears, then may you laugh till you cry, and may you laugh all the days of your parenting – that’s laughter without end because your parenting never ends – it is a lifetime conversation and relationship that gets better and better as it changes, matures and gets sweeter. As my kids would probably say, “This is great stuff Dad, I wish you knew this when we were growing up.”

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