Book Review: Duct Tape Parenting


Vermont author and parent educator, Vicki Hoefle, recently published an exciting book called Duct Tape Parenting.

Duct Tape ParentingA Review (1)


I heard about the book through our school who was offering a six week parenting class based on the book and Vicki’s DVD program, Parenting On Track. I was intrigued and excited to give it a try. Who couldn’t use a little extra help in the parenting department?!

I dove right into the book. It was challenging right off the bat when she started discussing the problem of doing too much for our kids.

Was I playing the role of maid to my kids? Yes. Yes I was.

And then again when she laid out the training timeline.

Were my kids on track to being fully independent, responsible, respectful, resilient kids by the age of 18? No. No they were not.

The Duct Tape Parenting approach is really hands off. There is a challenge to spend a few days practicing “Say Nothing. Do Nothing.” This involved a whole lot of imaginary duct tape for me. I let my kids go. I let them be. I was expecting them to fail miserably at taking care of themselves. Boy, was I wrong! They responded with amazing resilience.  I was able to see clearly what they could do on their own and also what they couldn’t do and needed to be taught.

Here are some of the key lines that really get you thinking…

“If they can walk, they can work!”

Thinking kids are messy kids.”

“Quit your job as the maid!”

And my favorite:

“Yes, as soon as…”

Which has really helped me to say yes to my kids more often and in return, encouraging them to *gasp* do what I ask them!

The book lays out very clear ideas and strategies to help you get on track to being a better parent. I was very challenged to stop thinking about parenting in the box I had put it in. Stop expecting little from my children. Start letting them play a bigger role in their own lives. I am a super control freak so this was hard. It remains challenging as I read through the book a second time!

The two focuses are on training your kids practically and also fostering genuine relationships with them. 

This. This is what parenting should like.

Duct Tape Parenting is way more than a book of ideas and philosophies. There are very clear cut instructions on how to respond, when, and why. I love Chapter 10 where it walks you through creating a Road Map, a mission statement, a plan for your family. My favorite piece of advice was where she gave this hilarious and just plain awesome idea about dealing with a temper tantrum:

Isn’t parenting with a sense of humor so important?! I wrote on my blog recently about how it was going, this “Say Nothing. Do Nothing.” adventure. You can read about it here: What I Wanted To Do

We are still in the beginning of this new adventure and there is plenty left to learn. I plan on updating you on how it’s going in my next post in a couple of weeks. Until then, wish me luck and pass the duct tape!

Update: Read the rest of Tasha’s stories about Duct Tape Parenting!

*Duct Tape Parenting: The Rest of the Story

*Duct Tape Parenting Myself Out of a Job


  1. Tasha, thank you so much for reviewing the book! I have been wondering about it. Sounds like a great book! Please continue to update us.

  2. Thanks for the great review Tasha! I have loved seeing your updates on how the boys are responding to your new parenting tactics and this book is now definitely on my list!!


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