Thursday, October 21, 2010

Raising Able - A Book Review

I was recently able to read, Raising Able, How chores cultivate competent confident young people by Susan Tordella. To be honest, I was unable to put the book down and I completed the book rather quickly. The message truly applied to myself and my family since we were currently considering a formal chore and allowance system for my oldest son who is 4 ½. My husband and I were unsure of the direction we were going to take, however this book made me look at chores and allowances in a whole new way. I think my favorite quote from the book was:

“We are a family, a team that can work together using simple practices of family meetings and dinners, encouragement, and natural and logical consequences to develop responsible children who will leave home, and be self-supporting through gainful employment”

In Raising Able, the process is explained how chores and deadlines should be discussed in family meetings. This way everyone can give their input and be held responsible. It also gives children a sense of ownership of the chores they chose to do. Susan believes in the principle of a weekly allowance that is not tied to completion of the chores. You should pay the allowance weekly, no matter if chores are completed. Chores are required as being part of the family. As parents, we do a lot for your children such as cooking dinner and taking them to the doctor and they do not pay us for it. Why should we pay them for emptying the dishwasher and cleaning the toilet?

Susan discusses the difference between praise and encouragement. Encouragement can be so much more powerful than praise in developing a child’s self-esteem. It allows the parents to really look at the details of a situation. As a parent you can provide encouragement whether the outcome was good or bad, this helps the child want to try again.

As a mother of 2 young boys, I can definitely see benefits of implementing Susan’s methods of family meetings, chores, and offering encouragement over praise. With my personality and drive of perfection, I often overlook the chores my boys can do on their own. They constantly ask and want to help, I need to learn to step back and let them. In the end everyone one wins, chores get done and then we get to enjoy more family time together. To me that is what life is all about, spending the most time with your family!

Check out Susan’s blog at where you can order your own copy of the book.

This review was 100% my own thoughts and opinions. I was not compensated to provide this review. I did receive a copy of the book Raising Able for my reading enjoyment and personal growth as a mother.


  1. Kelly- thanks for the encouragement and appreciation. I used a lot of stories - of success and failures - to make it easy to read.

    Chores are so essential and people don't realize it. They are also a way to teach children about work, teamwork, and money, as you found out.

    keep up the good work!

  2. This looks like a great read. Adding it to my list!