Mentoring Your Child to Win: A New Book by Local Author, Arlene Karian
Aug 05, 2016 10:34PM
● By Allison Gorman
Since the Dr. Spock days, tantrum-prone toddlers, temperamental middle schoolers and out-of-control teens have had harried parents rushing to bookstores, where manuals on child rearing are some of the biggest sellers. Over the decades, the problems inherent to parenthood have remained the same, while new problems wrought by social and technological changes have emerged. There have been as many solutions to those problems as there are authors, but in general they’ve all encouraged better verbal communication between parent and child, often accompanied by a carrot or stick formula, and sometimes with strict biblical underpinnings.
Local author Arlene Karian includes none of these elements in her parenting book, Mentoring Your Child to Win. Instead, she focuses solely on the parent, who she believes shapes the child’s attitude and coping skills without saying a word. It’s the unspoken communication between them that is the emphasis of Karian’s book—the subtle messages every parent sends by example. “By consistently and systematically raising (his or her) consciousness,” she writes, “[the parent] becomes a living role model, positively affecting the behavior and consciousness of the child, eliciting the child’s best self as a result.”
Karian bases that theory on her own example: as a single mom on welfare, she couldn’t offer her son material things or opportunity, but she could offer him her best self. Her son, Stephan, would grow up to found Great American Products, the Destin-based nutritional health company, and become a multimillionaire. Mentoring Your Child to Win follows Stephan’s path to success, as well as the parallel path Karian took as a mother determined to see her son succeed despite their family’s challenges. Her transformation into Stephan’s mentor was both deliberate and organic—a mental and spiritual process that took shape as she lived it.
Now, almost 40 years after becoming a parent, Karian has codified that process into a “blueprint for raising extraordinary kids.” It includes seven steps—some involving a specific practice, such as “centering,” and some requiring a shift in attitude or perspective—designed to transform a parent into a highly effective mentor, the well-balanced parent of a well-balanced child. As she explains it, “Mentoring is … a conscious decision, with specific proactive steps, to guide the child and adult within a safe, psychological environment, to tap into the child’s potential and to find their passion and life’s meaning.”
What today’s parents will find especially encouraging about her book is that the solution she offers is entirely within a parent’s control. It transcends pervasive technology; changing social and cultural norms; the influence of the media; failing neighborhoods and schools; and the challenges of poverty and lack of opportunity. That said, it is a process, not a pill. It requires motivation and dedication on the part of parents—a willingness to invest mental effort for the benefit of their child—and the big payback is not immediate, but long-term. But as Karian and her son have seen, excellent results are worth the wait.
Copyright 2013 by Arlene Karian
LifePath Books. $9.99, 152 pages