City mom guides us through parenting jungle

How much is enough television?  Do timeouts really work?  And what do you do when your teen announces he’s getting a tattoo?

These are only a few challenges of parenthood and there’s no easy answers, admits Sarnia author Liz Parsons.

Her first book – a very personal examination of her parenting successes and failures – was recently published by Florida-based Health Communication Inc.

“Raising Huck and Ted, A Mother’s Guide to Parenting” was initially released as an eBook in December. A month later, its digital success prompted HCI Books to begin printing it on demand.  In early March, Parsons’ book came out in paperback.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” says the former elementary school teacher and mom of two grown sons. “I only submitted my manuscript to one publisher and they took it.”

“Raising Huck and Ted” is named for the two characters Parsons’ husband, Steve, featured in his bedtime stories with his boys.

Her book relies almost exclusively on her real life experiences as a mom with a growing family, dealing with tantrums, getting stranded in a winter storm, and convincing a preschooler to eat orange food.

“This is not a how-to book,” said Parsons, 61.  “I’m not enough of an expert for that.  It’s meant to be a book of encouragement to give parents a sense that they are not alone in the zany times we have with children.”

Parsons decided to write her first book after befriending a young mom who frequently picked her brain about parenting.

“I’d managed 27 kids in one classroom for 13 ½ years and I’d raised two boys of my own. I guess it gave me some perspective,” she said.

The young woman told Parsons her advice was so valuable she’d run home to write it down before forgetting.

“I’d always loved to write. I am a storyteller and I love to read.  So, when she told me about writing down my ideas, I started to do it myself.”

Two years later, “Raising Huck and Ted” was finished.  Reviews have been positive and Parsons’ book is available as an eBook, at independent stores like The Book Keeper in Sarnia, and can be ordered through major retailers including Coles and Chapters.

Local libraries, including the Sarnia downtown branch, also have copies available.

So what did she do about the tattoo issue?

“I’m not going to tell you, you have to read the book,” Parsons laughed. “But I will say, pick your battles.

“Children behave most effectively, not when we punish them but when we ensure they see the value of good choices.”

Excerpts from “Raising Huck and Ted, A Mother’s Guide to Parenting” are available at amazon.ca and can be ordered online.  Visit www.huckandted.com for more information.

Parsons is two chapters away from finishing a second book on parenting.

– Cathy Dobson