Posts Tagged ‘Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It’

Chess Chat: Q&A with Karen Thurm Safran, Author of Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It

May 25, 2019

Many people know you as the powerful marketing force behind some amazing companies and products. Authoring a parenting book seems to be an interesting career pivot for you. What motivated you to become an author?

Thanks for including me on your blog… and for the compliment. Wow, we’ve known each other for nearly twenty years since my son started chess in elementary school. Time sure flies by quickly! 

Writing a book is definitely a career shift from managing marketing teams, working in a fast-paced high-tech environment, and driving revenue for companies. While it seems like a random career move, I decided to fulfill a childhood dream of writing a book and combine it with my love of parenting. 

Welcome, Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It, an entertaining book showing playful ways to stop struggling with your child and start having more fun. Now kids will listen and cooperate-willingly! I’m excited because already it’s been a #1 New Release in 7 Amazon categories.

How is your book different from other parenting book?

While I love reading parenting books, my book is very different. First, Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It entertains as well as inspires. The “how to” lessons are shown through entertaining, light-hearted stories. People say that reading my book is like sitting with a friend over coffee. Second, many parenting books focus on babies, toddlers, or teens. I focus primarily on elementary school-age kids (as well as toddlers). There aren’t many books for this demographic. Lastly, parents don’t have time. My gosh, there’s barely enough time in the day to tackle parts of the formidable To-Do list, nevermind read a book. So, I organized my book into short, easy to read chapters that stand-alone. Now whenever parents have a spare moment, they can easily flip to a chapter on a specific parenting challenge. My goal is to have these fictional, whimsical stories spark the reader’s own playfulness. It’s very touching hearing how stories inspire people’s own creativity for handling frustrating parenting situations.

Why did you choose to write a parenting book and specifically, Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It? 

Parenting is incredibly rewarding, but it’s also stressful. Even the best kids fuss, don’t listen, and misbehave. With the never-ending power struggles, parenting can be overwhelming. My parents had a trick. They embraced a “can do!” spirit, used their imagination, and created games to turn around frustrating moments. It was like magic! Goodbye nagging and yelling. Life became more enjoyable for our entire family.

When I became a mom, I experienced first-hand the benefits of this playful attitude and positive parenting style. I wrote Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It to help other families because this playful approach helped me as a stressed-out single parent. By creating games to deal with frustrating moments, you make parenting more fun, you empower your children, and you spend quality time connecting with your family.

This playful approach is in contrast to that stereotypically serious Silicon Valley parenting style. What are the greatest advantages of making a game out of parenting for families that live in such a competitive environment?

I know, parenting playfully seems counterintuitive, especially when your kids aren’t cooperating and you’re about to scream. Being playful is the last thing you want to do! Luckily, being playful doesn’t have to be hard, You can adopt a fun attitude in less than a minute as shown in my blog, “How to be a Fun Mom (Like Mary Poppins Not “Monster Mom”). I also wrote a blog outlining 46 Tips on How To Be a Playful, Positive Parent. While it may seem like another task to conquer, being positive and playful reduces your stress… and YOUR child’s stress. You’ll spend more quality time connecting with your family, which makes parenting more fun and empowers your child.

Whether or not you live in a competitive area like Silicon Valley, adopting this playful approach has many benefits.

  • Entertains kids when they’re bored and misbehaving.
  • Calms children when they’re upset and melting down.
  • Gets kids to help around the house with chores.
  • Teaches real-life skills like organizing school work, writing papers, and project planning to meet deadlines.

Being a Chess Mom/Dad presents unique challenges for parenting. Could you describe some of these challenges and how you handled them?

The biggest challenge was making time to attend chess tournaments. These are so important and part of the chess experience, so I made sure that my son participated in as many as possible. We even flew to several national events. If you’re going to encourage your child to play chess, realize from the get-go that this is a time commitment. However, there’s plenty of “down” time during each chess round. I recommend bringing work to keep you busy. Most importantly, have a positive, supportive attitude and consider this as time to sit and catch up on whatever.

I learned at the first national tournament, that we were there for one reason: chess. During the first break, I dragged us to the local aquarium and had plans to squeeze in fun activities throughout the weekend. Woo-hoo, we’d get to explore a new city! I quickly realized that competing is exhausting, so my ten-year old son needed to simply rest in the hotel room. These national chess tournament trips are now highlights because they provided special, connecting opportunities that also empowered my son.

How did your son choose and benefit from chess?

While visiting a relative’s house, our cousin taught my five-year-old son some basic chess. Boom! That was the catalyst. This passion continued and grew since the elementary school offered chess (which is where we met Chris!). At seven, he participated in his first tournament, second tournament, and so forth, all the way through high school. Now in his early twenties, he continues playing chess online.

Chess is VERY beneficial! It teaches patience, emphasizes discipline, develops problem-solving skills, trains a logical mind, improves memory, builds confidence, and provides a life-long hobby. I’m impressed how my son can focus and tune out any noise. He’s also great at math, was a stats major, and is now an actuary. Chess gave him an opportunity to be a leader when he started a chess club in high school. But the most important benefit is that chess provided countless hours of fun!

Finally, how can all the chess parents who read this blog obtain a copy of your book? 

They can visit my “Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It” website and also visit Amazon directly.

Thanks for all of your wonderful work inspiring students in chess! And thanks for interviewing me for your Chess Chat blog.

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: