WHEATON – When they found out they were going to have a child, David and Lisa Davoust read all the parenting books they could get their hands on.
But none were particularly satisfying.
“There were a lot of frustrations,” Lisa said.”When I would read something by the experts, I would finish a book and feel bad.”
A few decades and three kids later, the couple decided they would remedy that by writing their own.
The book, titled “Building Better Humans: The Book You Wish Your Parents Had,” pulls from their experiences raising three children in Wheaton.
“We’re not experts by any means, and we don’t pretend to be,” Lisa said. “We’re very forthright in our experiences and what has worked for us.”
But the two high school sweethearts aren’t just a set of parents who got the writing bug: they have been leading marriage seminars and family retreats for 20 years. Their stories and the stories of those they have helped comprise the 12 principals in the book.
“My wife and I are both 50 and we sometimes we say we are just pretending to be adults, and I think all adults feel that way,” David said. “Having somebody go ahead, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel on everything, and sort of go ahead of you can help reassure you that you’re not going to be perfect.”
The book emphasizes the ups and downs of parenting, the importance of setting boundaries and putting children in a position to succeed.
“Parents feel like they’re making it up while they go, worrying they’re doing it wrong,” David said. “The point is that you’re going to do it wrong. We joked with our kids that we won’t have a college fund, we’ll have a therapy fund. But we try to be quick to apologize to our children and use them as teaching moments.”
The Davoust’s three kids, now adults, take on a key role in the book. Their examples play a part in every chapter.
After the pair finished the book, the first copies went to their kids, who gave it a stamp of approval.
“It was their lives that were being revealed, so we wanted the kids to read it,” David said. “It was a wonderful process as a family. They added stories, saying something that we did that had a profound impact on them. It makes the kids a little vulnerable, but it’s the best way for people to learn.”
The Davousts believe their lack of formal training will separate them from other parenting authors and make their work more accessible.
“It’s not meant to help you get through parenting, but instead help you to understand that your role is to prepare children to be released into the world as humans,” David said.
Chapters of 'Building Better Humans'
1. Your Role as the Parent
2. Getting Your Child to Communicate
3. Crime and Punishment
4. The Importance of Social Skills
5. Love, Sex, and Marriage
6. Money & Work
7. Taming Technology
8. Kids in Crisis
9. Raising Special Needs Children
Epilogue: Starting a Therapy Fund
Buy the book
"Building Better Humans" is available in paperback and hardcover March 14. For more information, visit www.buildingbetterhumans.com.