The Happy Kid Handbook

How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World

by Katie Hurley

Number of pages: 320

Publisher: Tarcher Perigee

BBB Library: Parenting

ISBN: 978-0399171819

About the Author

Katie Hurley, LCSW, is a child and adolescent psychotherapist, parenting expert, and writer in Los Angeles, CA. Katie earned her BA in psychology in and women’s studies from Boston College and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. Katie has extensive training in Play Therapy. Katie worked for The Help Group, a large non-profit in Los Angeles, for seven years as a school based therapist and a clinical director. Katie also launched her private practice, co-facilitated social skills groups, and taught parenting classes during that time.


Editorial Review

It seems everyone has a different method for dealing with the madness. Attachment parenting, free-range parenting, mindful parenting—who is to say one is more right or better for one’s child than another? How do you choose? The truth is that whatever drumbeat you march to, all parents would agree that we just want our kids to be happy. In The Happy Kid Handbook, child and adolescent psychotherapist and parenting expert, Katie Hurley reveals that cultivating happiness in children’s lives is about parenting the individual, because not every child is the same, and not every child will respond to parenting the same way.

Book Reviews

“[This] book is highly recommended for people who seek a parenting orientation rather than a method but still want a substantial toolbox of specific activities to use in understanding and connecting with their children.” — Publishers Weekly

“It’s a wonderful addition to any parent's bookshelf!” — Coping Skills

“I particularly appreciate the conversational tone with which Ms. Hurley writes. It’s not all terms and definitions and “just do this with your kids.” She offers examples of children she’s worked with in each chapter and it’s like you’re just sitting there over a hot latte and listening to her talk.” — Things That Make People Go Aww

“If you think parenting advice has gotten too complicated, then check out The Happy Kid Handbook by Katie Hurley for suggestions on how to be joyful in a stressed out world.” — Richmond Family Magazine

“Instead of laying out some formula that wouldn’t work across the board, The Happy Kid Handbook says that if we do want to raise happy kids, we have to parent the kids we have.” — Things I Can't Say

“In The Happy Kid Handbook, author, Katie Hurley, LCSW really shares a lot of experiences about her child and adolescent clients and also her experience regarding her own children. She digs into parents really knowing their children along with their emotions and the necessity of letting children be children and just play.” — Michigan Mom Living

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Wisdom to Share

No two kids are exactly the same. And while a general blueprint of rules and expectations takes the guesswork out of each day, children also need the opportunity to simply be themselves.

How can each kid shine when they are all bound by a general set of rules and standards with no room for change? We have to parent the individual.

Everyone needs both time alone and time spent with other people. The difference between introverts and extroverts is how much time they need of each to thrive.

When the expectations placed upon kids are in sync with their specific personalities, kids experience self-confidence, a sense of accomplishment, and greater happiness.

Raising happy kids means striking the right balance for each child in the family, even if that means that you deal with the chorus of "It's not fair" from time to time.

Play is the language of children. Through unstructured play, children learn to communicate, think creatively, work through their emotions, increase problem-solving skills and frustration tolerance, build social interaction skills (they learn to get along), and just have fun.

Children who engage in regular free play experience increased verbal and cognitive skills, improved memory, improved oral language skills, and increased physical development (assuming some of that free play entails jumping, rolling, running, and other outdoor activities that might actually frighten parents at times).

Kids experience shifting emotions throughout the day; that's perfectly normal. They might be elated over a new friendship one moment and hysterical about a small paper cut the next. It's all in a day's work when you're young.

While the kids who don't have a clear understanding of their emotional process might get lost in the highs and lows each day, the kids who can label their feelings and find a solution are able to move on more quickly after experiencing difficult emotions and, in turn, be more open to happiness, even when the going gets tough.

Understanding emotions, it turns out, is a critical first step toward taking charge of happiness.