Helping Kids Avoid Life’s Big Mistakes

Helping Kids Avoid Life's Big Mistakes – Parenting Like Hannah
Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again by Dr. Henry Cloud

If you have ever watched a horror movie, you know not to go into that dark basement when you hear a scary noise. Something bad always happens. Yet even though everyone watching the movie is screaming for what is coming next, the character blindly walks into disaster – sometimes more than once in the same movie. I think Dr. Phil calls it “doubling down on stupid”? You know the person who keeps making the same mistake over and over while everyone around them is practically screaming “Don’t do it!”?

Doesn’t sound very kind, but the truth is we can get stuck in life because we are not learning an important lesson and making changes. Those who don’t, live a life making the same mistakes over and over. What if you could help your friends and family get unstuck? What if you could unstick your own life? What if you could teach your kids those lessons and they could learn them before making some big mistakes?

I am a big fan of the work of Dr. Henry Cloud, so I was interested when I learned he had a new book Never Go Back: 10 Things You’ll Never Do Again. As usual, Dr. Cloud doesn’t disappoint. The premise of this book is that there are ten basic mistakes people tend to make. The successful people in life only make them once – they learn their lesson, make changes and succeed because of it. The rest get stuck making the same mistake over and over again.

Written from a Christian perspective, the book starts with one of the best explanations of why people have trouble repenting I have ever heard. I am paraphrasing but basically when someone tells us we shouldn’t do something (like the Bible or a parent) there is a part of us that immediately gets our back up and is determined to do it just to show that we can.

The reality is “whenever we get our backs up at a message that says we should not do something again, it shows we are out of touch with life’s realities” (p.7). Wow! Cloud gives the example of a toddler darting into the street. No matter what the toddler thinks about how stupid his parent is for the rule, the reality is he will probably get hurt if he disobeys. The danger is real.

Cloud goes on to dissect ten problem areas in the lives of most people. It is not that we encounter the problem that gets us stuck. It is failing to learn from the problem and make the necessary corrections to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Cloud covers everything from returning to what hasn’t worked in the past to trying to change another person to choosing short-term comfort over long term benefits and more.

Having made a few of these mistakes myself (didn’t take long to learn doing due diligence included getting everything in writing!), I appreciate how Dr. Cloud paints the problem and the corrections without making you feel stupid for making the mistake in the first place. He even spends the second part of the book detailing how to make the necessary changes you need to make (hint:good intentions aren’t enough and you can’t go it alone).

I really think this book can help a lot of people who find themselves in the same bad relationship, job or situations over and over. As a mom, I want to take his premise a step further. What if I could teach my child these lessons before she made that first mistake? Could it save her pain and heartache? I plan to quickly pass this book on to her to read in hopes that it might save her a few wrong turns in the future.

As a Christian, I appreciate that Dr. Cloud overtly quotes scripture to back up his clinical research – probably more so than in some of his other books. His view appears balanced and he doesn’t try to pull in a lot of outside doctrine. I am not the biggest fan of one of the versions he quotes, but I think his points are mostly accurate.

If you are interested in reading this book for yourself, Parenting Like Hannah is giving away a copy! Enter the drawing below for your chance to win. You can even secure extra entries for doing a few simple tasks.

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Even if you don’t win a free copy, I would strongly suggest reading the book. To me, his point of view on job loss and/or failure could be life changing for many people (p. 179). Even if you don’t feel stuck, you probably know people who are and I believe this book could help a lot of people – at least those willing to accept reality and make some changes! Even Dr. Cloud doesn’t have perfect success in convincing everyone to do that! So enter today – you might be on your way to change for free!


This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review.

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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