Book Review: Growing Up Social

Since the day word spread that I was going to stay home full-time to raise our son, the word "socialization" was thrown around like the name of some mythical creature. I was clueless - would my son be socially deprived because we would be forced to stay in the house forever? Do moms not count as social beings anyways?

Anyone who stays at home or homeschools has probably heard comments like this, too. If you aren't sure what I'm talking about, I highly recommend you watch this short video by Tim Hawkins. It's short, sweet and Hawkins has a great way of describing "s-s-s-socialization"!

What if teaching our children the skills of socialization isn't about whether we stay-at-home or send them to daycare? Or if our kids are homeschooled or public schooled? What does it even mean to have a socialized child?!
"Having a social child means your son or daughter will be able to talk to people and like people. He'll be able to relate to others and enjoy activities with friends and family members. Being social isn't just about making small talk in the cafeteria. It involves showing other people you care through eye contact, conversation and empathy.

The ideal place for a child to learn to be social is in his home, where a loving mother or father can model what healthy relationships look like." Growing Up Social, p. 8 (emphasis added by me)
It's not often I find a book that I just can't put down but this is one of those books. I finished reading Growing Up Social by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane a couple weeks ago and it has changed the way I look at my parenting decisions and my own life.

Thank you, Faith, for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book!

My Growing Up Social Review

When initially picking up this book, I thought the main message was going to be anti-technology - basically, don't let your kids use it because it's the devil - but Chapman and Pellicane covered so much more.

Technology isn't the enemy. In fact, technology is good when used in moderation. Setting screen time limits is necessary and does require parents to have a backbone to stick to those limits!

Here are a few key takeaways that I learned from this book:

Key Lessons from Growing Up Social

  • Set screen time limits as a family. Use personal judgement when choosing the amount of screen time. The key is that every family must set clear boundaries! Two hours a day is a good general rule.
  • No screen time for children under 2. This is a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics because they believe the negative effects of media use far outweigh the positive ones for this age group. 
  • How to teach your children "A+ skills" of socialization. Learning the social skills of affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention.
  • Quietness  Shyness. Quiet and reserved children are often incorrectly labeled as shy. Quiet children are often great listeners and analytic thinkers, while shyness refers to someone who is nervous and uncomfortable meeting and talking to people. 
  • The Mistake of Multitasking. While multitasking is sometimes considered to be a positive word to add on the resume, it is shown to reduce the quality of your work, distract your learning, encourage skimming rather than true reading and it actually wastes time. 
  • Evaluate Your Child's Screen Time ABC's:
    • Attitude - What is my child's attitude like after the screen time?
    • Behavior - How does the content encourage my child to behave?
    • Character - What character traits are being modeled and picked up? 
  • Family Meal Time is Sacred. Eat together, share conversation, no screens allowed. Set a goal of sharing a certain amount of family meals per week.
  • Determine Digital-Free Zones. Again, use your personal judgement to determine these. The bedrooms, kitchen and dining room are highly recommended as digital-free zones. 

Final Thoughts on Growing Up Social

I rate this book with five stars because the information was well-presented, the steps for parents were encouraging rather than condemning and it also stresses the importance of managing our own media-use habits as adults!

As a family, we are taking into consideration all of the guidelines presented in Growing Up Social and are using our own personal judgments to determine the limits we set. We rarely watch TV (or tablets, kindles, etc.) in our family but we do allow our toddler (under 2 years old) to watch 30-45 minutes of TV three to four days a week. Personal judgement call for us - just long enough to watch a Mickey Mouse cartoon or Superbook episode.

I was totally shocked to read that multitasking is not as wonderful as we make it out to be! As a "multi-tasking extraordinaire", I am doing my best to cut back on that now and focus more on the project at hand.

Learning that quietness and shyness are not the same was a mind-blower, too! I have incorrectly considered myself "shy" my entire life yet I love to visit and meet new people. I'm not socially awkward yet I prefer to recharge at the end of the day in peace and being the center-of-attention is not my favorite. From now on, I will stick to just saying I'm "quiet".

After reading this book, we are taking action by implementing the "no phones at the dinner table" rule. That's a bad habit for me but it is so important to keep family dinners sacred and to start this habit now as a young family! I am thankful to have a non-smartphone (or a dumbphone) as there is no Facebook or email-checking temptation but texting or answering a call is still something I need to avoid during mealtime. For computer-usage, blogging or working on the computer is allowed while the little guy is sleeping. You will usually find me writing in my old-fashioned journal that I love dearly!

I highly recommend this book to any parent, non-parent or even anyone who uses social media (nearly the whole world then).

What are your thoughts on this media-heavy world?
Do you have screen-time limits set personally?

Linking up with Fitness Friday and Mommy Moments.


  1. Pinning this for sure to be a future read. I have a 15 month old and think about what impact technology will have on her and her generation in the future. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I've done many of these for as long as my kids have been "social". I feel strongly about being unplugged from time to time. We have a standing rule, every evening from 6-8 not TV, computer, phones, etc. It's unplugged family time :)

    1. I love the idea of unplugged family time in the evening! That is definitely something we plan to implement, especially as we have older kids. Right now it isn't too difficult, but I can see this being challenging a few years from now!

  3. I have a hard time with set rules.

    Scott and I work from home. We're very connected as a family and to our electronic devices.

    We go in waves with our usage. Some days it's heavy, others it's light, etc. The same is with our 2 year old. Some days all she wants and needs is her iPad. Other days she could care less about it and is playing and traveling all day day.

    Meal times, however, are sacred. We make, eat, and enjoy three meals a day free of electronic devices each day.

    1. Thanks for sharing your approach, Wendy! I'm always interested in hearing how other parents handle situations. Definitely agree with you on the meal times being sacred! We are still working on making that one a habit for every meal. Sometimes those phones still sneak onto the table :s


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