Parents sometimes struggle to find ways to deal with their children's misbehavior in a way that's lovingly corrective.
It can also be challenging for parents to talk with kids about subjects that involve personal safety including bullying and child abduction.
Julia Cook was an elementary school guidance counselor looking for a book to help teach kids not to tattle. When Cook couldn't find a suitable book, she wrote A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue, a book about Josh the Tattler.
When Josh wakes up with a bad case of Tattle Tongue, he learns the difference between tattling and warning with a little help from the Tattle Prince and his four Tattle Rules.
Cook's goal as a guidance counselor was to help kids become life-long problem solver. Three dozen books later, Cook's books have helped countless children become problem solvers.
"A good parent or teacher gives the kids the magic wand and teaches them to wave it themselves," Cook said in a recent interview for Examiner.com.
The books help kids with behavior and life issues, fears, mental and physical health issues, technology and personal safety issues.
"Personal safety is by far the umbrella that encompasses it all," said Cook about her book, Smarter than the SCOOPERS, dealing with keeping kids safe from child predators.
The message contained in this book is an important one in today's world. SCOOP is an acronym to help kids remember five personal safety strategies to keep them safe: be smart, use your call list, zero talking to strangers, keep strangers out of your person space, and always pair up.
Unlike books written for older kids or adults, Cook's books deals with difficult subjects in a way that's once removed so it's not so scary.
Kids can learn from the actions the book characters take in various situations. Many of the books have a guide at the back for parents or teachers to use to start a conversation about the subject.
Once parents begin the conversation, kids will open up about similar problems they have encountered. Kids who are dealing with bullies can learn from Bully B.E.A.N.S.
When the book's main character talks to her mom about Bobbette, the big, bad bully, she learns new ways to stand up to Bobbette.
Cook's goal remains the same now as it was when she worked as a guidance counselor: providing kids the tools they need to become life-long problem solvers while providing guidance for parents and teachers.
"Kids are born sweet and innocent, pure and good," says Cook. "Misbehaviors are learned. Anger is learned. I can't unanger an angry child." With examples and positive parenting skills, kids can learn to control their reaction when they are angry.
When parents tackle difficult subjects with their children, everyone wins. The fear or behavior is addressed and the child learns that parents care and want to help.
"Every child has three things they need," says Cook. "They need to be seen, heard and validated." As parents, our job is to make sure that our children have the tools they need to face life's challenges.
Talking about difficult subjects is one way parents can help their children face and conquer fears and learn to solve their problems now and in the future.