Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Character Is The Key

Character Is The Key – How to unlock the best in our children and ourselves
Written by Sara Dimerman
Published at Wiley

About the book
Would you like to see your children:
Taking greater initiative at home and school?
Able to put themselves in others' shoes?
Taking more responsibility for their actions?
Valuing togetherness as a family and wanting to spend more time with you?
Consistently treating peers, adults and themselves with respect?
Persisting through challenges and not giving up prematurely?
Being honest even when the truth is difficult to share?
Courageously facing fears?
Motivated to help with chores around the house?
Less influenced by negative peer pressure and able to stand up for what they believe?
Looking forward to a bright and successful future?
Then Character Is the Key will help!
The character education movement, implemented by educators around the world, is an incredibly successful and growing phenomenon. When important character attributes like honesty, integrity, and fairness are modeled and taught to kids, they develop an inner compass that continues to guide them in a positive direction. The missing link has been helping parents with their crucial participation at home - until now. In Character Is the Key, parenting expert and therapist Sara Dimerman shares proven techniques in a powerful, step-by-step plan that will help you bring your family together, improve communication, and unlock the very best in your children - and yourself. Get started today!
Who is Sara Dimerman?
Sara Dimerman, Dip.C.S., C.Psych.Assoc., is the founder and Director of the Parent Education and Resource Centre. Her syndicated column Help Me Sara appears in publications across the United States and Canada, and she is the child and family therapy expert at Sara is relied upon by the media as a parenting expert: she is regularly quoted in magazine and newspaper articles as well as appearing on radio and television across North America. Her first book, Am I a Normal Parent? (Hatherleigh Press, USA) was published in 2008. Sara lives in Toronto, Canada. She is married and has two daughters, aged nine and seventeen.Visit
My Thoughts
I’ve got the opportunity to review the book Character Is The Key through Mom Central Canada. I knew well that it was a secular book but I was still curious at what it would convey as message.
I won’t hide the fact that we are Christians and homeschooling. My oldest son was in school for two years and has experience the “let’s encourage the kids to develop good character” at school. Honestly, I am still wondering how they picked the students to receive the special mention of the month… There were times where I wondered what the teacher was thinking when she picked a specific student for one of the awards. I later learned that the objective was that all students went on the award wall… Yes you read it right – all students.
Personally, I think the responsibility of teaching your children about values and character should go to the parents. But in these times, when divorce is high or both parents are working, when everyone seems to be running around like a chicken without a head, I sense this task is not a priority. That is very unfortunate… It is interesting that the schools are now seeing the importance of teaching this to the students now.
I was curious to see what this book would “teach” to the parents. The author specifies from the beginning that parents need to find the time to reinforce the character of their children and work with the school. After all, we all know that children learn from their parents, right? Indeed they do and if you go to the store, realize when you are back at your car that you forgot to pay for something and don’t go back – they learn that it’s okay to steal… no matter what it is! Let me tell you a story… I went shopping one day with my oldest and my newborn. I had the stroller with the baby car seat installed on it. I had put a roll of wrapping paper in the basket under the stroller. I paid for the rest of my stuff and went back to the van. I put back the car seat of the baby in its gear, buckle up my oldest and start unloading in the trunk… That’s when I saw the wrapping paper. Shoot! Totally forgot to pay for it. So I unbuckle my oldest and put back the baby’s car seat on the stroller and walked back inside the Wal-Mart with the wrapping paper in my hands. You should have seen the surprised face of the cashier when I told her I forgot to pay for the wrapping paper… she couldn’t believe it. But I had a 3 year old who was observing and learning from this event. It was important for me to make sure he knew mommy would not steal and that honesty is very important! As a parent, I think it is essential to use the opportunities that come to us to become a teachable moment. This could be applied to anyone – from little ones to teenagers.
The book is divided in three sections. Part one of the book focuses on the modeling of values and handling conflicts (especially if you are divorced). You will also learn how to team up with your kids and how to join forces with the educators. Part two of the book gives you directions on how to implement a family plan and how to establish family monthly meetings. Part three of the book provides some guidance on what a monthly meeting should focus on i.e. one of the ten crucial characteristics presented in the book (respect, honesty, fairness, courage, perseverance, responsibility, empathy, initiative, integrity and optimism). This section is particularly interesting as each chapter covers one of the character issues to work on. In the chapter, you will read some examples and discover a specific activity to do with your family to reinforce the lesson to learn.
I was quite pleased with what I read. Mind you, I don’t agree with everything the author wrote about how to deal with disobedience and so on but since this is a touchy subject for everyone I won’t elaborate too much on it. But I find this book will be a good help for parents who don’t have a Christian background and realized that some changes should be made in their family unit. The author elaborates a strategy that is feasible for anyone who is willing to work on their relationships as a family. She also suggests some very interesting activities for each character issues covered in the book. I particularly love having new ideas to implement with my family – ideas that can become some teachable moments are especially a bonus.
The author also has the worksheets mentioned in the second part of the book available on the website !
GREAT NEWS! Mom Central offers one copy of the book to one of my readers. Please leave a comment before October 19th . I will draw a name on the 20th and contact the winner to get the address so I can send it to Mom Central. Good luck everyone!

Character Is The Key is available at every bookstore, even on and
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Character Is the Key: How to Unlock the Best in Our Children and Ourselves and received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.


  1. Wow Isabelle! This does sound like an amazing book! Over the years i have read so many books, good and bad, but few have really given sound stratagies. my favourite book on parenting has been Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers. Thomas bought me the book and I LOST it! I am still devistated about that. I also really enough Raymond and Dorothy Moore for family related issues. I have been reading Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. Have you ever read that book? I have mixed feelings about it, and have been dying for someone to talk about it with.

    I think it is awesome that Mom Cental is offering one to your readers!

  2. That is rather lame how all the kids went on the award wall.
    Makes me think of our system in general, which seems to instill the belief that all students are above average if only we teachers could teach them the right way! ?:P

  3. Okay. I admit I proscrastinated on this and forgot to do the draw. Geez!

    Anyhow, I wrote the name of the people who commented on a piece of paper. Folded it many times. Put them in my ladybug flower pot (with no flowers in it obviously) and asked my 8 year old to do the draw. He wasn't looking when he picked the name.

    And the winner is..... Rachelle!