Category: Parenting
Publication date: April 27, 2016
Extent: 502 pages

Real Parenting for Real Kids

Enabling parents to bring out the best in their children

Melissa Hood


The Parent Practice team, led by Melissa Hood and Elaine Halligan, have been delivering positive parenting courses since 2004 designed to make families happier by giving parents skills and strategies that allow them not only to parent more effectively, but to enjoy their children more. Based on science and tested in families, Real Parenting for Real Kids provides realistic and workable solutions for real families living real lives in the 21st century.

Melissa Hood draws on years of experience as a professional and as a parent to debunk many of the myths of parenting, provide insights into children s behaviour and practical solutions to everyday issues faced by parents of school aged children. With worksheets and other resources, you will learn the 7 essential skills and be able to take action immediately to transform your family life. Far from making you feel guilty about your parenting this book celebrates mums and dads and the creative solutions they find for everyday parenting dilemmas. The experiences of hundreds of parents are shared here.


Amazon reviews:

‘There are no prescriptive RULES for parenting, but there are definitely TOOLS. Real Parenting for Real Kids provides all the tools to make parenting easier, more effective, more connected, and ultimately more joyous. Melissa Hood’s combination of lessons, experience, stories and exercises make the learning of these skills easy and even better … practical. This book is the manual that should be handed to all parents once they are finished with the what to expect stage!!’

‘If you want some practical advice and a realistic tool kit then this is a fabulous book. It is simple and easy to read and never preaches at you. There are great case studies throughout and importantly it retains a sense of humour – parenting should be fun and this book really reflects this. It is well structured so you can dip in and out depending on the specific issue you need help with. Definitely one of the best and most practical parenting books I have read.’

‘I am delighted to have found this book, it has helped me to take a step back and to see my daughter’s behaviour more objectively and sensitively. I especially love the Golden Book idea – noting good deeds/behaviour in a pretty notebook and reading this out to your child as part of their bedtime routine. I implemented the Golden Book in mid January 2016 and I have definitely noticed this aide has increased my daughter’s self esteem and cooperative behaviour. My daughter regularly says is this good enough to go in the Golden Book with a big smile on her face. I also like the structure of this book whereby the first half is split into informative chapters and the latter half is more real time life situations to practise all you have learnt.’

‘Melissa Hood’s Real Parenting for Real Kids helps parents reclaim the leadership role in their homes, without resorting to shouting, bribes, threats or punishment. An easy to read yet comprehensive guide for any parent who has struggled to get her child to cooperate, loaded with concrete tools to help parents bring out the best in their children. Hood teaches the essential skills to raise wonderful kids, using stories every parent can identify with to illustrate better solutions for everyday parenting challenges, from squabbling and lying to screen time and schoolwork.’


Real Parenting for Real Kids is a real step by step guide to the nuts and bolts of being in the trenches with ‘real kids’ everyday. It is laid out in ways that actually help parents figure out their own plan of action with such helpful and positive advice, like ‘chat throughs’ and the many uses of role play. Unlike so many parenting books, Real Parenting is a great balance between not only what helps children do well, but what helps parents parent well.

Bonnie Harris, author of When Your Kids Push Your Buttons And What You Can Do About It

Real Parenting for Real Kids is excellent – practical, thorough and crammed with wisdom gained from research-based psychology and professional and personal experience. Hood identifies our struggles as parents but always provides both explanation and potential solution. So for readers, every instance of cringing recognition – such as the pre-school breakfast-time narrative that has the adult resentfully asking their 7 year old ‘why does it take you so long to put on a sock?’ – is balanced with insight and advice; meaning there are many light-bulb moments. It’s enjoyable, informative, and inspirational. I think this book is invaluable – it has the potential to make a huge positive difference to families.

Anna Maxted, author and journalist

Most people learn how to be the parents they want to be only after their children have fled the nest. Parents say they are too busy with work, with getting by, with coping, to reflect deeply on what they really want for their children, and the values they want to implant. They unconsciously mimic the ways they themselves were brought up, or react strongly against it. This thoughtful book will help parents savour and enjoy to the full the greatest job that life will confer on them – bringing up the next generation.

Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor, The University of Buckingham (former Headmaster of Wellington College) and author of Beyond Happiness

With so much pressure and panic swirling around children nowadays, many parents feel overwhelmed and bewildered. Real Parenting for Real Kids slices right through that confusion. With clarity, rigour and wisdom, Melissa Hood reminds us what really matters in childhood – and shows us how to give it to our own children. She serves up step-by-step advice for tackling every parenting challenge under the sun, from bullying and screen time to exam pressure and figuring out what ‘success’ means. But she also goes beyond the tools and techniques to deliver a rare gift: a blueprint for building families that allow both parents and children to become their best selves. A wonderful book. – Carl Honoré, author of Under Pressure: Putting the Child back in Childhood

Real Parenting for Real Kids is an excellent and important book. Children are of course all unique and family dynamics will be correspondingly individualistic. Nevertheless there is something for every parent and potential parent to take from this book. An abundance of wise advice and counsel and a totally laudable absence of condescension or judgemental criticism. There is reassurance for the parent who is reaching the end of his or her tether that the problems they are dealing with are not unique to them, together with sound practical advice about how to move forward. There is also plenty of encouragement to continue and persevere with a sensible approach to parenting even if results are not immediately obvious. Children don’t come with a manual but this book could easily be subtitled “How to negotiate the pitfalls and navigate your way through the minefield of becoming a successful parent”. – Michael Spens, Headmaster, Fettes College

Melissa Hood’s Real Parenting for Real Kids helps parents reclaim the leadership role in their homes, without resorting to shouting, bribes, threats or punishment. An easy to read yet comprehensive guide for any parent who has struggled to get her child to cooperate, loaded with concrete tools to help parents bring out the best in their children. Hood teaches the essential skills to raise wonderful kids, using stories every parent can identify with to illustrate better solutions for everyday parenting challenges, from squabbling and lying to screen time and schoolwork. – Dr. Laura Markham, author of Calm Parent, Happy Kids.


Introduction How to get the best out of this book Part I: 7 essential skills for bringing out the best in your children Chapter 1 – Skill 1: Knowing your child – Understanding temperament and stages of development. Practical ways to really get to know your child. Chapter 2 – Skill 2: Encouraging cooperation and confidence with Descriptive Praise – Using Descriptive Praise to foster strong self-esteem, to build strong characteristics and good behaviours in your child; to encourage cooperation and listening. Chapter 3 – Skill 3: Listening and connecting – Using Emotion Coaching to develop emotional intelligence in children, to build empathy and resilience and to encourage them to talk to you. Chapter 4 – Skill 4: Setting up for success – Using many micro skills to manage challenging family situations and to train children in good habits and life skills. Chapter 5 – Skill 5: Family values – Developing clarity around values and raising children in a purposeful way, using rules and rewards without coercion. Chapter 6 – Skill 6: Positive discipline – Helping parents be in charge in positive ways; dispelling the myths around discipline and using a problem-solving approach to behaviours you want to change. Chapter 7 – Skill 7: Keeping calm – the holy grail of parenting – Understanding why we get upset and respond ineffectively when things go pear-shaped and how we can keep calm. Part II: Applying the skills to everyday parenting challenges Chapter 8 – Their world of relationships – Fostering harmony and resolving conflict between siblings and others; exploring friendships, bullying, social skills; being an only child. Chapter 9 – Their intellectual world – Bringing out the best in your child at school, managing stress, handling homework, encouraging focus and organisational skills, fostering curiosity and passion and the role of non-academic activities. Chapter 10 – Their physical world – Encouraging your children to have a healthy relationship with their bodies, positive body image and self-care; the role of sport; channelling energy positively. Chapter 11 – Their digital world – Teaching children to be safe and kind online. Chapter 12 – Their moral world – Understanding why lying, stealing, cheating, bullying, swearing and other ‘bad’ behaviours happen and what to do about it; the role of apologies; developing healthy attitudes to sex. Chapter 13 – Their world of responsibility – Teaching children to take responsibility for their own behaviour, chores and possessions and to make contributions to the family. Chapter 14 – Beyond their world – Encouraging children to take an interest in the world beyond them, developing a sense of community, gratitude, wonder and openness; fostering a sense of something bigger than them. What Next? Acknowledgements Index



Paperback / 9781910056301 / April 27, 2016 / £16.99

Ebook / 9781910056943 / April 27, 2016 / £9.99

Paperback and eBook Bundle / £19.49


Melissa Hood

Melissa Hood is the founding director of The Parent Practice. A former solicitor, when her youngest was born she changed career to spend more time at home, working part time as a decorative painter.
She took a parenting class when one of her sons, diagnosed with dyslexia, was in trouble at school with impulsive, aggressive and disruptive behaviour. Melissa and John wanted to address the behaviour, as well as help him academically. The advice transformed their family life as they learnt how to understand their children’s needs better, communicate more positively and improve their confidence.
Melissa completed the Teacher Training Programme (New Learning Centre) in 1998 and was a Parenting Facilitator there for 6 years, running parenting skills classes, workshops and parent and family consultations. She founded the Parent Practice in 2004 and since then she has led hundreds of classes. She has a Certificate in Systemic Family Therapy (Birkbeck) and is trained in NLP, Group dynamics, Non-verbal communication and Supporting Separated Families. She is the first UK Gottman Certified Educator to lead Bringing Baby Home Workshops.