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STAR Parenting Tales and Tools
by Elizabeth Crary, M.S.
Elizabeth Crary

the Book
the Author
Parenting Press

Feature story:
Parent Educator Takes "How-to" Approach to Teaching Problem-Solving Skills

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Reviewer and reader comments

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What Parents and Professionals Tell Us
about STAR Parenting

What Parents Say about Elizabeth Crary's STAR Parenting Program and Her New Book

STAR parenting has given me a guide, one that is not overly rigid or too flexible, but one that allows my kids to be individuals, and for my husband and me to follow our parenting values. It's given me tools to use in dealing with both specific incidents and general parenting philosophy.
mother of a toddler and infant
As the parent of an active 2-year-old, I often feel at a loss for what to do or say to handle what seems like irrational behavior. STAR parenting has given me the tools to be a more successful parent by helping me work with my child's developmental stage. By helping me decrease my frustration, I free up more time for my child and me to truly enjoy each other.
mother of one
STAR Parenting Tales and Tools provides me with a framework for dealing with and understanding my toddler's behaviors. Betsy Crary has taught me to look at values, temperament, and developmental level to form realistic expectations about my child's behavior and needs. She gives real-life examples and support for parents trying to find their way through the maze of child rearing. The book contains realistic solutions to common problems. I always feel better about my parenting skills after referring to her book because her style is so inclusive and positive.
mother of young children
I am a confident parent today because of the practical tools STAR parenting has given me. I've used the STAR techniques with my children, my boss—and also with my husband! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
mother of three
STAR Parenting was a wonderful class: it made me realize that I have been focusing on negative behaviors and not the positive. Now I understand how I can change that.
mother of young children
When I use the 'Stop & Focus, Think of Ideas, Act and Review Process,' I change the entire dynamic. I feel powerful and relaxed and so do my kids.
mother of young children
STAR Parenting has helped me so much. Now if I try something and it doesn't work, I know that I'm not a bad parent, I just need to try something else.
mother of toddler and preschooler
STAR Parenting doesn't just tell you what to do; it guides you through the process of discovering what combination of tools and methods will work best with your child's temperament. Whenever we find ourselves stuck, it's usually because we've forgotten to consider other points of the STAR and have been doing what comes easiest, but not necessarily what is best for our child's level of development. STAR Parenting gently encourages you to try different approaches until you reach the one that works the best for you and your child. It also reminds us that what works for a 2-year old will be different from that of a 4-year old.
parents of a 7-year-old
Before, when faced with unwanted behavior in my toddler, I'd try one approach, and if that didn't work, I felt like I was doomed for failure. Now if my first try doesn't work, I know with STAR Parenting I can always come up with a dozen more creative ways to get results. The framework helps me think on my feet and it also helps me think longer-term about how parenting decisions help cultivate a young person's values.
mother of a toddler
For me, STAR Parenting is like a map to a parenting destination. I can get there by trial and error without asking for directions or I can use this map with its options to make the journey go more smoothly.
mother of preschoolers
Going to the grocery store with three children, all 3 or younger, used to be a nightmare. I stressed about dangers in the parking lot, who would sit where in the shopping cart, and handling the kids' begging. I dreaded play dates because my oldest would have meltdowns when it was time to leave. And the bickering of my 2- and 3-year-olds drove me to wit's end!
     With STAR Parenting I formulated strategies to effectively control my children's behavior (and mine!) using mutual respect. The simple, everyday techniques in the STAR program helped me overcome my personal road blocks. After diligently practicing these new strategies, I saw significant behavior changes. Two years later, I still use many of the same strategies.
mother of three

What Professionals Say about STAR Parenting

This book is filled with old wisdom and fresh ideas! STAR Parenting is outstanding because it is such a complete guide to managing oneself as a parent, and yet it is simply written.
     The stories invite me to remember my values and connect the STAR attitudes and tools with my everyday experiences. Author Elizabeth Crary balances the needs of the child with the needs of the parent and recognizes temperament and developmental changes in children. The reader is regularly drawn to the STAR to help move beyond the preferred response or the quick-fix that doesn't work and to engage with options that may be much more effective. I highly recommend this book to parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, and teachers of young children.
Jean Clarke, author of, most recently, the How Much Is Enough Leader's Guide
Combines several tried and true parenting theories/resources into one book. Each point of Crary's star unfolds and reveals solutions to common behaviors. It's like one-stop parenting advice. If I had only one book to buy for parenting strategies, this is it!
Karen Zimmerman, Early Childhood Content Coach, St. Paul Public Schools
STAR Parenting provides a framework for solving just about any parenting or discipline issue. Learning to think about a dilemma from all angles, taking into account one's family values, child development and temperament are only a few of the important factors covered. The STAR process provides a structure for a changing role of discipline, from early years through teen years.
Barbara LeBlanc, Director, The Parenting Center at Children's Hospital, New Orleans
Filled with the wisdom of practical parenting concepts and tools that are integrated into a simple and coherent model. Parents are provided with multiple pathways to solving everyday parenting problems. We are reminded that there is no single right way to parent and there are no short cuts to good parenting. Crary also points out that even good ideas can be ineffective.
Glen Palm, parent educator and Professor of Child and Family Studies, St. Cloud State University
STAR is the single most useful tool in helping parents understand and acquire the skills of gaining cooperation with children. STAR parenting uses components from major human development theory from the last fifty years and combines them into a working model to be useful to parents and caregivers alike. Coincidentally, the skills of the STAR were also the skills I used to gain cooperation from the group of TANF-recipient parents I worked with.
Laurie AD Kanyer, parent educator and consultant, Yakima WA
STAR parenting is a solid approach to teaching parenting skills that work. Each chapter contains critical concepts and ideas. A parent educator using this book can easily guide parents through the concepts, activities, and recommended practices. I particularly like the chapter about using the whole star to demonstrate how to actively use the process. Betsy Crary is a dedicated parenting educator who offers ideas based on sound theory and experiences with parents to recommend workable practices.
Karen DeBord, professor emeritus, North Carolina State University
Wonderful, clear, engaging examples that invite mothers and fathers to think about their parenting. Fills gaps that exist in other parenting books.
Helen Fowler Neville, parent educator, temperament specialist and author of such books as Is This a Phase? Child Development & Parent Strategies, Birth to 6 Years
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