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Mama Rocks Rules

Terri Schlichenmeyer | 6/4/2009, 5 p.m.

Little brats.

Those two words best describe so many kids you know, and it's not right. Sure, your kids aren't angels but they aren't completely rotten, either. Still, you wonder how some parents do it. How do they raise successful, well-balanced, polite, wonderful children in today's world?

In the new audiobook "Mama Rock's Rules" (c.2008, HarperAudio, $29.95 / $31.95 Canada, 5 CDs / 6 hours) by Rose Rock with Valerie Graham, you'll hear some common and not-so-common sense advice from a woman who raised a passel of kids, including one who's so successful, he's famous.

As a parent, you know you have some hard decisions to make. Raising a good kid isn't something you take lightly, and neither does Rose Rock. Rock, the mother of 10 and foster mother of 17, is the person that comedian Chris Rock calls "Mama". She's also an educator. With a resume like that, you know she knows kids.

Although the sub-title of this book says that Rock gives "Ten Lessons for Raising a Houseful of Successful Children", the reality is that she gives ten times that. First rule - the most important one - is that you are the adult, and as the adult, you make the rules. While yes, your kids are part of the family, they are not the decision-makers.

You are.

Know who your child is hanging out with and where he's going. If you have to snoop in your child's room, that's okay; it's your house, but do it wisely and not maliciously or as punishment.
Since education is important in raising a successful child, keep it in the forefront of your home.

Make sure homework is done, always. Communicate with your child's teachers often and let your child know it.

Don't argue with your spouse in front of the kids and don't talk bad about the other parent. Bring the family to the dinner table at least once a day, and listen to what your children say during the meal. Make your kids proud to be a member of the family, respect your children and expect it back. Above all, honor your children and they will honor you with success.

Sounds like a lot of common-sense stuff? It is, but "Mama Rock's Rules" makes it sound like all new information on child-rearing.

While I really enjoyed the tips and ideas in here; while I found the Mama's Mojo asides to be charmingly useful, quick-bulleted information; and while the stories author Rose Rock tells make you feel like a close insider or an over-the-fence good neighbor, I had one issue here.

"Mama Rock's Rules" is read by the author, and therein lies the problem. Rose Rock sounds like she's reading her book. I would have much rather she told us her ideas, mojo, and stories. It didn't at all ruin the information in the audiobook, but less reading and more telling would've made it more enjoyable.

Still, this audiobook is helpful, particularly for brand-new parents or step-parents. If you want to avoid brat-dom in favor of raising great kids, "Mama Rock's Rules" is solid as a rock.