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KID CEO: How to Keep Your Children From Running Your Life
Ed Young
Warner Faith
Parenting & Families
ISBN: 0446691771

In his latest book, KID CEO: How to Keep Your Children From Running Your Life, author Ed Young defines parenting this way: "Parenting is the process of teaching and training your children to leave."

Gulp. You mean our kids eventually leave us alone with our spouses?

According to Young, yes, exactly.

Uh oh.

Young says it doesn't have to be that way and shouldn't. His advice is to prepare now, no matter how many years into the parenting-thing you are. The ideal family hierarchy, he says, is God, first; husband-wife and couple-time, second; children, third.

Young tells us how to establish that God-first structure by building on the title's theme of "CEO." Written in a business-plan format, Young begins by diagnosing the problem: Parents have usurped their roles as leaders in their families and let the kids --- their schedules, activities, demands --- take over. He says, too often, it happens as soon as the first child is born.

He writes, "The wife resigns from her primary role, that of being the wife, and she becomes a mother. She immerses herself in the lives of her children, their every need, want, and desire. In essence, she marries them. If she is one of the three out of five mothers who also work outside the home, the additional demands of her career pull her even farther away from the marriage. Likewise, the husband resigns from his primary role, that of being a husband, and becomes a father. With the additional responsibility of children, he also begins to step up his role, usually as a career chaser. Oftentimes, the desire to succeed and become the financial provider for the family becomes the driving force of his life. He buries himself in his work, putting the demands of the job before everything else. In essence, he marries his career.

Meanwhile, the marriage relationship gets pushed farther down the line of priorities. Marital drift takes place, and eventually a giant chasm forms between the husband and the wife, leaving the marriage open and vulnerable."

Fast forward 20 years, and the husband-wife relationship has turned into, "Hello, mute couple at kitchen table!"

To prevent this scenario, Young uses the rest of the book to help couples reorganize, using the acronym "KIDS" as chapter headings:

Knowledge: Learn how to build and strengthen the family foundation --- and keep yourselves, not your kids, in the executive office.

Intimacy: Remember to keep love alive during the parenting years --- because a marriage defeated in the bedroom is a marriage defeated in the family room.

Discipline: Maintain a training ground of loving obedience --- and understand discipline from both the child's and parent's viewpoint.

Structure: Raise well-rounded kids within a balanced home --- and guard against anything that threatens them, within and without.

Sounds simple enough. Throughout, Young never lets the reader forget he's right there with us, raising four kids of his own, with his wife, Lisa. If some of his material sounds familiar, it is. From scanning the footnotes, Young borrowed from numerous books by Dr. James Dobson and Gary Chapman's COVENANT MARRIAGE, among others. But Young took the best of what those authors wrote and then built on it, infusing their ideas with new illustrations, analogies and more secular research to back up Biblical concepts on parenting.

The concept for KID CEO came about after Young preached a parenting series at his Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas mega-church, where he is pastor. But if you're not a Christian, don't let that scare you away. This book makes good common sense. (And if you're a single parent, Young addresses problems and solutions unique to you in every chapter.) He simply uses the Biblical model of family dynamics to remind us what works and what doesn't. The goal: When the kids leave, it's "Hello, honey!" and not "Uh oh."

   --- Reviewed by Diana Keough

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