Book Review: The Toolbox [Parenting Skills]

The ToolBox by Karren Garrity

The Toolbox is a parenting book of a new breed. It takes the metaphor of creating a toolbox full of tools and applies it to developing the parenting skills needed to effectively raise their teen. The book is spread out over 12 chapters, each one building on this metaphor. In the first chapters, the book discusses the appropriateness of this book and how parents can use it successfully. The rest of the book builds upon opening the toolbox

parenting skillsand using each “tool” [i.e., the level, the oil, the wrench] to develop an efficient set of parenting skills and how to cope with the issues that arise in parenting teens. The last chapter explains how a parent can use the skills developed in this book to help their teens build their own toolbox.

Overall, the book is fresh, surprisingly easy to read [at 130 pages, it goes by quickly!], and one of the most creative perspectives on developing parenting skills. Upon beginning the book, I found myself buying into the toolbox metaphor and was interested in seeing how this was going to flow through the whole book. Well, it flows beautifully! As you go though the chapters, each skill build on itself as if you are actually building your own set of tools to use as you parent your teen. The most effective aspect of the book, in my honest opinion, is the HALT acronym detailed in Chapter 4. HALT stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired: all important components to understanding and developing emotional literacy. The HALT idea establishes a way for parents to understand the emotions that are affecting your teen’s judgment and ways that you can help work through these normal set of emotions. Additionally, I appreciate that the book gets right into the narrative and skills building. There is no fluffy introduction [only 5 pages of understanding how to use this book] and there is not an overabundance of clinical jargon [making it easy for parents to pick up and begin using immediately].

I honestly cannot say anything negative about the book. And, that’s not because it is flawless. The book is a bit long, but as stated earlier, once you begin you get through it easily. It’s also a bit dense in explaining certain concepts, but it’s beneficial to getting to the core of how teens react to situations and how parents can effectively work though their teens’ reactions.

This is an amazing parenting book for parents who are currently, or about to begin, raising teens.

To purchase the book on Amazon, click here!!


Karren Garrity, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Nationally Certified Counselor who has been a therapist in Kent, CT for over 20 years. In her private practice she offers services to individuals, families and couples. She also works with students attending local private high schools. You can read more about her practice here and her blog here.


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