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Parents are people too by Katherine Gordy Levine

(Author of when good kids do bad things)

Parents are People Too Book Review 2012


The author, Katherine and her husband David first published this book in 1997.  They fostered over 400 adopted children and now enjoy their grand children in their early retirement.  This book provides tools that will help Parents and others to better control the negative feelings that accompany caring for a child.

As a parent we are to provide for our children, give them shelter and make them feel safe.  It’s sad to say that often times I see in the public arena the physical and emotional turmoil on today’s young children left by parents.

The secret to raising happy kids is to be a happy adult.  Katherine teaches us how to build our emotional fitness/intelligence.  The topics she includes;

  • feeling awareness
  • self soothing
  • distracting
  • focusing on what is important
  • disputing
  • giving feedback
  • proper expression of feelings
  • acceptance
  • radical acceptance


Katherine shares her true stories of how she really felt when she stayed up all night with her sick baby.  She explains in detail, and as hard as it may sound, most parents I think go though rough patches with their children making it harder on ourselves which in turn makes it harder on the child.  In her first lesson Katherine teaches us the emotional fitness skills are as follows;

  • recognizing the start of a feeling
  • measuring the growth of the feelings
  • calming the body when a feeling threatens to overwhelm
  • changing the flow of negative feelings when that is possible
  • Deciding what needs acting on
  • Accepting and living with negative feelings when changing them is not possible

This is one novel to keep and pass along to your family.  I could not read it in one sitting.  At 178 pages I realized that working the exercises are the keep to keeping emotions under constant and consistent control.  She teaches us how to properly breathe to release tensing in our bodies.  I tried the exercise and to my surprise, it works! So this tension releasing can be used daily for many individuals who suffer from anxious thoughts as well as parents with testing children.

One thing I learned that I want to share with each reader today is that feelings begin when something arouses your interest.  They are caused by external events like thunder or lightening.  Then there are Physiological arousals, like being tired or hungry which form inside our body because of our body’s physical state.  Then we have thoughts which are caused by both internal and external events that arouse a person.  Katherine teaches us how to understand each of these to manage our feelings before they lost control or have control over us.  Wow, this is not so hard to absorb and maintain.

If you are a parent to be this is a Must Buy book to help you with your future as a parent.  If you are a parent of children Katherine is the founder of Emotional Fitness training, Inc.  She has 12 years experience as a foster parent, and over 30 years experience in social work and counseling.  I am glad I pick up a copy of her book for when I become a gamma.  I wish I had this book when my own daughter was a baby as it would of helped me stay calm and be a better parent.

© 2012 written by Jackie Paulson