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When Tom Sturges became a father, he wanted to be the greatest father who ever walked the earth. So Sturges asked a lot of questions. He picked up ideas, advice, and tips from parents, grandparents, even rock stars and sports legends–anyone who had unique insights to share. The result is this practical, inspiring rule book for raising healthy, happy, safe, and cherished children. Philosophical, sensible, and empowering, these 76 ideas include such gems as:

• Teach your children that they have to follow the “Parking Lot Rules” whenever they are in (you guessed it) a parking lot. They must stay close. There is to be no trailing behind. No racing ahead. No exceptions.
• Let your child feel welcome and loved from the instant he or she walks into a room. “Smile When You See Them,” and leave no doubt that, at that moment, your child is the most important person in your world.
• Since parents who yell intimidate, and those who use a calm tone inspire, “When You Get Upset, Whisper”–and make sure your message is heard.
• Follow “The Bill Walton Rule”: If you can’t be on time, be early.
• When your children accomplish something great in sports, use “The ESPN Rule” by telling the story in intimate detail and filling them with the belief that they can do it again and again.


Parking Lot Rules puts a fresh new spin on parenting, in an inspiring handbook full of heart and kindness that will resonate with joy and meaning for parents and children everywhere.


Parking Lot


“A well-written, entertaining, and supremely practical guide to leading our kids into adulthood safely and strongly. Even as a so-called parenting expert, I found myself surprised by Sturges’s creative solutions and strongly motivated to put them into place in my own home.”

—Hal Runkel, family therapist and author of ScreamFree Parenting

"Packed with practical insights, wisdom and fun, Parking Lot Rules hits the bull’s eye when it comes to helping our children. Every parent must read it."

—Meg Meeker, M.D., author of Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

"Tom Sturges has gotten the recipe for parenting just right: five parts love, three parts struggle, two parts humor and a dollop of wisdom. His suggestions for a wide variety of parenting problems are practical and funny. I wish I’d read these rules (especially "Almost Always Skip the First Thing That Comes to Mind") before I’d raised my two children."

—Michael Thompson, Ph.D., co-author of Raising Cain

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