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The Winning Family

Parenting & Relationships

Our families can fill us with joy or bother us with constant, even unconscious, power struggles throughout our lives. This new, revised edition of The Winning Family shows a new generation of parents exactly how to strengthen children with positivity and empathy by building instead of tearing down, and responding instead of reacting. Step by step, this beloved book teaches crucial parenting techniques that break intergenerational blame/shame/enabling patterns and help children develop skills to become confident, capable adults with self-worth and healthy self-concepts.

Dr. Louise Hart and Kristen Caven, a mother-and-daughter writing team, have packed The Winning Family with the latest information, helpful tips, and insightful personal stories from four generations. They present powerful, practical tools in a simple and easy-to-use way. As you abandon unhealthy, ineffective coping mechanisms, you will build

● Deep inner confidence and a positive, realistic sense of self
● The ability to create healthy boundaries and structure
● Effective ways to instill self-discipline and internal motivation
● Skills for honest, kind communication to resolve and prevent conflict
● Positive attitudes that turn obstacles into opportunities for growth
● Emotional intelligence to better understand and process feelings, and
● The resilience to handle change and solve problems.

If you have young children, teenagers, adult children, special needs children, or even no children (and you want to gain insight into your own childhood), or if you are a teacher, a caregiver, or an adult who works with kids, this book is for you. In fact, this book helps anyone who’s ever been in a family—because the same tools that build self-esteem in the first place can also be used to repair damaged self-esteem later on.

The Winning Family is a must-have guide for creating a safe, supportive, empowering family where everyone wins—and a better world begins.

Book Bubbles from The Winning Family

Reducing Stress for Moms & Dads

Parenting is a lot. Families that are able to speak the language of emotions cope better with stress. Here's a great gift for the parents in your life who could use a wise, friendly and encouraging voice in their ear!

Parenting Responses Affect Self-Esteem

The Winning Family is packed with insights and examples of ways parents confuse kids...and tools for better communication. Parenting responses affect self-esteem. And when kids get what they need, behavior problems become a thing of the past! Makes a great gift for new families. This book can be a brush up, a game changer, or a life changer.

Inspiration for Parents - and a Giveaway!

????It’s a great season for a giveaway! If you haven’t read #TheWinningFamily, you can enter to win it on @BookSweeps today —plus 45+ exciting Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction books from a great collection of authors... AND a brand new eReader :D Here’s the link ???? #amreading

Communicating Love around the Holidays

Holiday gatherings can be joyful, stressful, or more typically, a combination of both. Grab our FREE ebook, "I Know they Love Me But I Can't Feel It" for a full chapter excerpt packed with tips for making sure your kids — and YOU — get the love they want and need over the holidays. Visit to find out how!

What's a Winning Family?

Peyton & Eli Manning; Serena & Venus Williams... NO, this book is not about sports families, though we do talk about competition and play! A family where everyone feels like losers is a hard place to grow up. This book takes a close look at the nitty-gritty of family dynamics that people don't always know how to talk about.

It's Buy-the-Book Week!

Book launch PRESALE $10 paperback, $1 ebook ~~~ pre-order or buy now wherever books are sold ~~~ Support your local bookstore by asking them to order it for you ~~~ Meet the authors at our FaceBook event on Wednesday, August 31 ~~~

Back by popular demand!

We're so excited to be lauching the 35th anniversary of The Winning Family! Today's parents need real guidance to prevent mistakes so easily made by mainstream parenting. If you'd like to get some great perks from Uplift Press, we're in the last few days of our Kickstarter!

The Souls of Her Feet

Gay & Lesbian

Ashley St. Helens doesn’t belong in her own home anymore. Constantly belittled by her perfectionist stepmom and stepsisters, she finds refuge in cleaning and dreams of the day she can break free and go to college. Her life really takes a Cinderella turn when her estranged gay “fairy” godfather appears. Harry empowers her to find her voice and embark on a journey of self-expression as her high school days come to an end.

On prom night, Harry reveals the secrets of Ashley’s family, and she gets a drag queen makeover—with just the right shoes. Transforming from shy misfit to a beauty worthy of sharing the spotlight with the boy she’s loved since second grade, she realizes that self-discovery and creating meaningful relationships are her right and responsibility. But when her stepmother interferes with prom politics and comedic drama erupts, Ashley realizes she can’t expose her secret identity. Running barefoot through the creek path under a benevolent moon, Ashley loses a shoe but gains something far more valuable – the strength to choose her own path and stand on her own two enormous feet in the face of adversity. Brimming with heart and nostalgia, "The Souls of Her Feet" tackles universal themes of growing up, transformation, self-discovery and self-creation. It’s a funny, empowering contemporary fairy tale that reminds us of the importance of embracing our uniqueness.

Book Bubbles from The Souls of Her Feet

Cinderella Loved Her Dad

Father's Day is hard for those who have lost a dad. Check out this healing love story between a teenage girl and her godfather, who also loved her dad. Yeah, it sounds a little kinky but so what? Families are weird, right

Cinderella Arrives at the Ball

There's that unforgettable fairytale moment... where the girl steps out to be seen as a woman for the first time. Ashley's carriage is a Buick, and her godfather is a drag queen. How will her transformation be seen by Jeff Prince, her childhood sweetheart, King of the Prom?

Human Rights Lawyer by day...

The year I was born was a bit like this one. There were protests in the national news and police beatings horrified the country. That was the year the Civil Rights Act was born. Half a century later the next wave is crashing. But even as we are finally tearing down the icons of racism and closing the loopholes of privilege, human rights are under attack all over the world. Underneath his makeup, my closeted gay fairy godfather character is a civil rights lawyer. This makes him even more of a hero to me! #pride #blm #justice #civilrights #humanrights

Fantasy Prom!

I'm so sad for all the kids who can't go to prom this year. The upside of that is you can imagine it any way you like. My own senior prom was a disaster. I had a blind date who played football for our rival high school. I worked so hard to sew a devastatingly elegant silk dress from a Vogue pattern (using inter-dimensional sewing concepts, it nearly broke my brain). I wore Candies and had my toenails painted, a far cry from the Gunne Sax I'd worn to my (absolutely wonderful) junior prom. Then I met the guy. He was shorter than me so the high heels were a good call. He was kind of a drooling jock; we could find nothing to talk about! We ditched each other by 10pm. I really enjoyed writing this prom fantasy of the old-school, non-twerking prom I wished I'd had!

I like my house again!

What have you discovered, in this past month, in the corners of your home? A month into shelter-in-place, I can see my windowsills again! I can see my desk! I've organized a drawer or two, and re-aligned my priorities. I now have a reading nook, where once there was a pile of clothes! This part in my story, where my heroine reclaims her house moves and inspires me. Is your house cleaner or messier than when you shut yourself in? Do you have a place where you read? Take a dip into #TSOHF!

Self-Care in Troubled Times

In a time of great change, it's easy to lose ourselves in the shuffle. When we are caring for others, it's easy to lose track of ourselves, too. And when we are shut in with people who are maybe not so nice to us, it's essential that we find space to give ourselves the listening, the love, and the nourishment we need. Here's a little snippet from a moment in Ashley's story where she struggles with her stepmother's criticism and finds that, deep down, she's not doing very well. My heart goes out to all who are juggling the constraints of this new way of life. Have a bath, read a book, and guard your inner peace!

"No Foot in the Kingdom"

There's a major flaw in the Cinderella story, and it's this: if the shoe fits her so perfectly, why on earth does it fall off when she runs from the prom? I fixed that in my version. Take a peek at the source of Ashley's unique teenage body issues in this excerpt, in which her godfather Harry is urging her to go to prom.

The Spiritual Side of Housekeeping

How does the daughter of the house become the household slave? Cinderella is so full of mysteries! There must be something in it for her, I always thought. Many years after I wrote this someone coined the term "Rage Cleaning." I imagined Ashley not as a put-upon victim but someone taking control of her own shitty circumstances. In this passage we see our girl stepping up and finding the spiritual rewards inherent in taking care of your space. We'll see this theme come around again in the last chapter, when Ashley removes herself from her past and helps her stepsisters prepare to take care of themselves.

The Unexplored Grief of Fairytale Life.

Most fairytales don't talk about the grief children feel when they are orphaned, but can you imagine? Losing both parents? I gave the Cinderella character the time and space to feel her feelings in this novel. She experiences anxiety, depression, plus the intensity and distraction of ADHD. All of the books in THE FAIRYTALE REALITY PROJECT deal with the reality of childhood trauma. In my non-fiction book, The Bullying Antidote, I relate ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) to bullying—and in my fairytale explorations I make space for the real psychological consequences of emotional loss and abuse. As a Positive Psychology teacher, one of my secret missions is to present real-life strategies for creating upward spirals, a.k.a. "happily ever afters."

Wouldn't this make a great song?

"The Souls of Her Feet" started out as a musical, with the song "If the Shoe Fits" as the centerpiece. Actually, it started out as the first part of an opera trittico called "Shoes, a Mirror, and a Big, Pink Rose," and later became a stand-alone story. In the full version, Harry delivers his philosophy about the meta-shoe in an actual shoe store. The novel is closer to the original version, where Harry appears in Ashley's bedroom. But in the musical, dancing girls appear out of nowhere to form a kick-line wearing every kind of shoe. Imagine that while you read this! A novel allows for a more intimate, internal dialogue, which is what you witness here. But do flip to the back of the book, when you buy it, to read the delicious lyrics to the song! The publisher wanted them added to this edition.

Shout-out to my Latin teacher

I gave my high school Latin teacher a cameo in the climactic Cinderell-ish chase scene, and quoted our class motto. I loved Latin class. It was one of the few places in high school where you didn't have to be cool. I remember going to Junior Classical League camp in the Rocky Mountains, dressing up as Greek or Roman characters for the dance. If only proms were that much fun! We also had chariot races on tricycles. Thanks, Mrs. Armor, wherever you are, for making learning so much fun!

This book is filled with family PRIDE!

In this scene, Ashley gets her first glimpse of her godfather, upon whom she has not laid eyes since her parents died. She had no idea then that he had an alter-ego as a drag queen. Larger-than-life Harry Carrington (a.k.a. Carrie D'Aweigh) was inspired by a (closeted) gay family member who was able to reach into my miserable teenage existence like some sort of emotional fairy godmother. This person took me to see the forbidden Rocky Horror Picture Show and assured me that I was good and incorruptible and life was more fun than my strict stepmother and stressed-out father allowed. This glimpse into the world of drag inspired me to free myself through the art of outrageous dress-up. When I wrote this book, I was longing to see more positive expressions of queerness inside 'normal' family life. The world has always been 10% gay, and it's a huge relief to see the world accepting that now. The first staged reading of the musical version of The Souls of Her Feet featured a real live, over-the-top famous New York drag queen! He really enjoyed playing Harry, who is as complex and interesting as he is classically delightful. Harry's ability to see gender as a fluid and playful space allows Ashley to fully participate in her own magical transformation.

The first sentence is true.

When you write in first person, everyone thinks your story is autobiographical. I kind of wish this one was... I mean, wouldn't YOU like to have had a fabulous drag queen magically appear in your bedroom and help you get dressed for prom? On the other hand, I'm glad this one isn't... because my own parents are alive and well! There are a few things in this first chapter that are autobiographical. I did have a stepmother, who taught me how to fold towels. My father did say "let's have all the kids be 'our kids.' And my first word, as a baby, was "Thanks," when I took a bottle. (Except I pronounced it 'Hank.' Awww! How cute is that?)

Liking Myself

Children's Books

This fun-filled, charmingly illustrated book is full of ideas and exercises to improve self-esteem and assertiveness, and build emotional literacy and communication skills.

Children learn to listen and to talk about their feelings. They also learn how to handle themselves when they feel upset or overwhelmed by encouraging them to write or draw their responses to specific scenarios. Improves relational skills and overall well-being. Help your kid be happier! 

Book Bubbles from Liking Myself

The Mouse, the Monster, and Me

Children's Books

Engaging artwork and exercises illustrate aggressive “monster” and passive “mouse” behaviors, helping young readers identify these characteristics in themselves and in others. This book explores the “me” communication style, based on rights, responsibility, and respect. It teaches healthy non-violent conflict management skills that help kids stop being—or attracting—bullies. When youngsters learn how to assert themselves appropriately, they gain self-esteem and safer, happier relationships.

Book Bubbles from The Mouse, the Monster, and Me

Let's not be Monsters. Or Mice!

This beloved book by Dr. Pat Palmer has helped many generations of children! A great read-aloud gift for anyone who is struggling with a difficult child. See what kids and grownups say about it at

The Best Gift: A Good Compliment!

This book is full of social emotional skills that counteract a world full of bullying behavior and bad habits. Each page teaches new skills in easy-to-understand ways with delightful illustrations. This book has been a favorite for over fifty years, and after many editions in many countries continues to be the go-to guide for parents, school counselors, and teachers who know that kids need guidance and practice building self-regulation.

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