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Top 5 Articles: 3 Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids…and How to Correct Them

Help me Choose a Book Cover?

As we’re finishing up the Top 5 Articles week, can you please do me a favor? I am finishing the manuscript for a new book that will be released early next fall (2014), based on our blog post that has been shared over 1.1 million times, Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids…and How to Correct Them. Many thanks to you, for inspiring me to write this book, and for helping me realize the importance of sharing these common parenting mistakes. I value your feedback. The title is: “Twelve Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid.” The publisher sent me two possible covers and I’m not sure which is better. I like and dislike elements in both. Simply comment with a “1” or a “2” to let me know which you like best. Thanks!

OPTION ONE                                                      OPTION TWO

12 Huge Mistakes-2                      12 Huge Mistakes-1

I will let you know which one is chosen, when we make the decision in November. Thanks for staying connected. I appreciate our partners and all you do.

Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids…and How to Correct Them

Recently, I read about a father, Paul Wallich, who built a camera-mounted drone helicopter to follow his grade-school-aged son to the bus stop. He wants to make sure his son arrives at the bus stop safe and sound. There’s no doubt the gizmo provides an awesome show-and-tell contribution. In my mind, Paul Wallich gives new meaning to the term “helicopter parent.” While I applaud the engagement of this generation of parents and teachers, it’s important to recognize the unintended consequences of our engagement. We want the best for our students, but research now shows that our “over-protection, over-connection” style has damaged them. Let me suggest three huge mistakes we’ve made leading this generation of kids and how we must correct them.

three huge mistakes

Continue Reading…


  1. Dani brink on October 25, 2013 at 6:19 am

    Option 1 with the number12 in red is more eye catching. I would peruse that cover in a bookstore because it grabs my attention. Thanks for all you do for our kids. I apply many of your principles with my own children and the students I teach in college.

  2. Rob Hargin on October 25, 2013 at 6:34 am

    I really like option 1, it seems more inviting and less clinical.

  3. Meredith Bleasdell on October 25, 2013 at 6:41 am

    1 is more inviting.

  4. Annette Costro on October 25, 2013 at 7:05 am

    2 is bright, and stands out, the wording is easy to read.

  5. Welcome on October 25, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Would you consider not using an actual photo of an ideal caucasian family? Seems limiting to me…

  6. Paul on October 25, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Option 2

  7. Kevin Becht on October 25, 2013 at 7:57 am

    2 – This options seems to fit the “Mistakes” theme a little better.

  8. charlene.fonseca on October 25, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Option 2 seems substantive, like it has healthy boundaries, too. Just want to thank you for your reminders and work in this field. It is encouraging.

  9. DocWildcat on October 25, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Option 2 seems to “pop” more and stand out on the shelf.

  10. Guest on October 25, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Sorry Tim, but I don’t like either cover. The family pictures on both book look like squeeky clean families and that is not real life. On book 2 the colors red and green…Christmas release? Both covers do not illustrate the “make your kids happy 24/7” and “protect instead of prepare” statements you talk about.

  11. kim on October 25, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Option 2…wish you had a different family or no family on the front…

  12. Linda Rossi on October 25, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Sorry Tim, I love your books, but I don’t care for either of these. The family cover photo’s on both samples look like perfect squeekly clean families who want to make their kids happy 24/7, protect instead of prepare, and give their kids everything they want. And #2 red and green colors? Christmas release? Also the family pictures are one demographic and one economic level. I think parents from all walks of life should pick up this book, not just the ones taking their kids to the beach. I still love ya Tim. 🙂

  13. Tim Seymour on October 25, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think this is something that you want to overthink or overanalyze. Number one is solid…a very clean look. In my humble opinion, the title is what ultimately catches my attention, not the pictures or the colors. That, and the fact that you authored this book.

  14. Gary on October 25, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Option 1 focuses more on the purpose of the book. Option 2’s picture of the ocean takes my focus away from the book. Go with Option 1.

  15. Paul on October 25, 2013 at 8:57 am

    option 2

  16. Krystal on October 25, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Option 1. It looks cleaner – less cluttered.

  17. Kim Salewski Almeida on October 25, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Option 1!

  18. Nicholas A. Waters on October 25, 2013 at 10:33 am


  19. Doug A on October 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Option 1!

  20. Wendell on October 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I like Option 2. The color, especially the green, draws my attention.

  21. brenda bowman on October 25, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I think i would pass over 1 on the shelf…2 is more eye-catching!

  22. Gene Menzel on October 25, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Option 2

  23. John Meese on October 25, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Option 1

  24. Mike Sullivan on October 25, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Option 2…

  25. Heather on October 26, 2013 at 7:04 am

    Option 2

  26. L Freeman on October 26, 2013 at 8:49 am

    The photo in 1 shows the family engaged with one another. The typography i 1 appeals more to women…2, to men. BUT your photo is very WHITE. Your title is appealing to all, but your photo is narrow. Your publisher and their crew of graphic designers should offer you something else.

  27. Grace on October 26, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Option 1….but please no family photo…don’t know how realistic these photos are for many families. We live in a world of different races, single parent families, children being raised by grandparents, children raised by foster families, etc. All of us need parenting guidance, not just a perfect looking Caucasian family….perhaps a photo of five or seven multi-age, racially diverse children and adolescents?
    As a teacher I also use your expertise in my classroom. A book w/ a photo like I’ve suggested above would really catch my eye.

  28. Becky D on October 26, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Option 2 catches my eye. Option 1 is prettier, but I think you need to go with bold.

  29. Dale Griffin on October 26, 2013 at 11:49 am


  30. Rachel on October 26, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    A lot of good points in this article! Being a junior in college, I see a lot of bad examples and good examples. Growing up, I was blessed with parents who let me fail, make my own decisions, etc. However, being the youngest in my family, I have seen the parenting differences. The eight practical steps/thoughts toward the end are crucial and must continue throughout generations to follow.

    • Tim Elmore on October 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experiences Rachel!

  31. Roger on October 26, 2013 at 12:42 pm


  32. Amy on October 26, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I think it’s also essential to think about about what it is that motivates or causes adults to be the rescuer and always protecting children. Simply put the older one gets and the more research and experiments that are done only increases adults fear and paranoia as they realize everything that could potentially go wrong. Kids don’t know many of these consequences until they learn the hard way which is not a bad thing. Adults must continue to try to train children to be autonomous.

    A couple years ago, I knew a girl in college who did not know how to vacuum, iron, clean a toilet, pick up after herself, and even have proper hygiene. She immensely struggled in school as well, but that’s not surprising as she had to focus much of her attention on everyday life things that she should have learned years ago. Her parents did her a great disservice by just doing all these things for her. She is not equipped in any way to live on her own, and unfortunately this is becoming more and more common. Adults and parents must stop and think about the consequences of doing too much and protecting their children so much that their children do not know how to cope with life. What is truly better for the child is the question that must be asked.

    • Tim Elmore on October 28, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      Thanks for your comment Amy. I do believe that parents have the right intentions even when we do too much at times, because we want our kids to be happy. Unfortunately, you’re right, and that may actually be inhibiting kids from gaining autonomy and independence. There must be a balance.

  33. Hazel Hector on October 26, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Option 1 seems more engaging. Thank you for all that you do for our young people.

  34. Melody Leow on October 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Option 1 looks more modern. Option 2 looks like a cover from the 90’s. Thanks for sharing great advice and thoughts in this post! Blessings!

  35. Kyle Kaurin on October 26, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    I like option 1 better.

  36. Jeremy on October 27, 2013 at 8:47 am


  37. Jeff on October 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    option 1

  38. James on October 27, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I like #1 with the red numbers.

  39. Bev Carlton on October 27, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I like option two as I think it would catch the eye of new families. I LOVE the squeaky clean family image. I wonder why people have such a problem with seeing successful families. To me they look like they are happy as a family. Money cannot buy a great family. Maybe looking at pictures of great role models is not such a bad thing. We need ideals to aspire to. As far as being realistic goes why not celebrate the times that we are like that squeaky clean family, may not be as often as we like but there are times like that and we should cherish those rather than always focus on the bad times. The cover reflects hope and that is something we should all hold onto with both hands.

  40. Hilda on October 27, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Option 2 is great

  41. Michelle Lee on October 27, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    My colleague commented on Option 2 and we had a debate which looks better! For me, Option 1 for its clean and ‘learning’ feel (green gives the element of learning, growing). I personally feel it’s also more aligned with your branding. However, the stock image looks unauthentic. Option 2, christmas was the first thought because of the colours. The sans serif font type gives a sense of informality, not as structured as Option 1. But something just feels weird…perhaps i would use more blue and green!

    – your faithful reader (designer-at-work)

  42. Elizabeth on October 28, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Option 2. Great article!

  43. Jen Stycuk on October 28, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Option 1, cleaner and more eye catching design.

  44. Matt on October 28, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    option 1…

  45. Jack Hurst on October 29, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Option 2

  46. Mjwhiteski on October 29, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    2 stands out more and in a sea of books that is important

  47. Michelle Graves Carpenter on October 30, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Thank you so much for this article!! My daughter (a single parent) and I subscribe to this mindset when dealing with my 3 year old grandson. We want him to grow up to be a responsible man and know that we are (almost always) doing it right.

    • Tim Elmore on October 30, 2013 at 8:50 am

      That’s great, I’m glad to hear your feedback. Thanks Michelle!

  48. sonya b on October 31, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    2 is better. bigger, brighter with your name larger for name recognition. Some other viewers did not get the green for go and red for stop.

  49. Tim Waisanen on November 1, 2013 at 9:17 am

    I prefer Option 2. The layout is better because the focus is more on the title of the book and your name…less focus on the family picture (which seems to be of some concern to others). No matter what you do with the color scheme or family picture…Option 2 the title font, size, placement looks good!

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Top 5 Articles: 3 Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids...and How to Correct Them