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Adventures in Gentle Discipline: A Parent-To-Parent Guide [Paperback]

Hilary Flower , Katie A. Granju

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Book Description

September 2005 0976896907 978-0976896906
In Hilary Flower’s second book, ADVENTURES IN GENTLE DISCIPLINE, she allows the reader to explore goals of gentle discipline, rewards for both child and parent, and what it looks like in action. Hilary debunks myths about the effectiveness of gentle discipline methods while empowering parents to find ways to make gentle discipline work for both themselves and their children.

With creativity, courage, and commitment, each parent and child can develop their own unique way of engaging in gentle discipline. Gentle discipline is not a far off standard for us to meet but an imperfect, lively and richly meaningful way of communicating with our children. Although experts can offer theories, this book proves that parents themselves have a great deal to offer other parents in regard to this incredibly worthwhile—and revolutionary!—way of guiding young children.

Line drawings capture small scenes from the journey of parenting and personal stories from a variety of mothers show creative adaptations of gentle discipline methods in different families.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: La Leche League Intl (September 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976896907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976896906
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 18.5 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #563,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, practical ideas and support! Nov. 8 2005
By Kristy Dallas Alley - Published on Amazon.com
In writing Adventures in Gentle Discipline, author Hilary Flower says she hoped to write the book that she felt was missing from the vast array of parenting advice already lining bookstore shelves. She has succeeded in writing that missing book, one that allows parents to "honor [their] own expertise, feel less alone, craft a livable discipline plan, and work with [their] own personal trouble spots." Unlike books that insist upon a strict regime of parent-centered scheduling and punishments, but also unlike compassionate but vague suggestions that if we just love our kids enough, discipline won't be an issue, Adventures in Gentle Discipline offers a practical, experience-based guide to compassionate parenting that is both realistic and useful.

As in Flower's last book, Adventures in Tandem Nursing, her scientific background shines through in her ability to clearly organize and lay out information in a way that is accessible yet not dumbed-down. The first part of the book explains why and how the book was written, a process that involved corresponding with around 200 parents about their families' problems, practices, and solutions regarding gentle discipline. As a result, the tone of the book is "parent-to-parent," rather than the "I'm the expert, you know nothing!" tone found in so many parenting books. In reviewing the foundations of and motivation for gentle discipline and compassionate parenting, Flower gives readers a chance to reaffirm their own beliefs and renew their commitment to respect their own needs, as well as those of their children.

Flower also takes the time to do a little myth busting, explaining the difference between permissive parenting and gentle discipline, as well as how punishment does not really equal discipline. She reminds us that the goal of discipline and effective parenting is a child who is ultimately self disciplined, and that this requires giving children some space to experiment and make mistakes. She also devotes considerable space to pre-emptive discipline--in other words, avoiding common pitfallas and limiting certain no-win situations, such as taking a tired, hungry toddler to go, well, anywhere. In one of the many quotes and testimonials from real parents, one woman shares her practice of checking "HALT," or Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. If her child was acting out of sorts, or if she knew they would soon be entering into a potentially trying situation, those were the first things she checked for.

A few of the many other areas discussed are how to engage children in meaningful ways rather than offering constant (over)stimulation and entertainment, giving toddlers the language to express their emotions in more constructive ways, respecting the importance of play, and giving children who need a physical outlet acceptible options. On the flip side, Flower devotes considerable space to the needs of parents. She acknowledges the reality of parental anger and frustration, as well as the difficulty of letting go of old ideas about how children should behave and what parents are "supposed" to do to make that behavior happen. The tone is consistently empathetic and pragmatic, which makes it easy for the reader to honestly review his or her own parenting habits without feeling defensive or judged. Adventures in Gentle Discipline is an invaluable resource for parents trying to place compassion and respect at the center of their parenting.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Empathetic Parenting Book Nov. 9 2005
By Miriam Peskowitz - Published on Amazon.com
From my review at Hylands Homeopathy, Rx:Chat Motherhood ([...] Sometimes it's easier to focus on the parts of parenting that don't work, the times that are hard and frustrating. In contrast, I've been enjoying reading Hilary Flower's book "Adventures in Gentle Discipline." It's subtitled "A Parent-to-Parent Guide," and one thing I love is that it's filled with stories and statements by real and actual moms. Sure, some of them come off as too saintly for me, the type of mom who never raises her voice, who unlike me never gets frustrated or impatient. But that's a small percentage, and balanced by personal essays near the end that are exruciatingly honest, whether about being raised with very strict discipline and threats of violence, or another by a mom who confesses hitting her child, even though she doesn't believe that anyone should ever hit their child.

I've liked opening the book to random pages and reading sentences like "There will always be someone to tell you that you are being too strict, and someone else to say that you are being too lenient." Don't we all need to hear reassurances like this along the way? The book is so down to earth, so understanding that as parents doing our best we try hard, but, as Flower writes, "No matter how proactive you are, you can count on parenting, childhood, and life in general to be messy anway."

Since I tend to be the kind of parent who gets frustrated and says things like "If you do that one more time you will never ever eat dinner at my table again," it's helpful to be reminded that fanciful ultimata like this just don't work (though they may feel good for the moment before my daughter keeps on rocking the chair on two legs, or smashing ranch dressing into the placemat, or whining, or whatever else she's been doing to drive me crazy). Flower reminds us to empathize, be gentle, and to extend the benefit of the doubt, but within a framework that still wants kids to behave and to listen to us. The many stories give us lots of possibilities to try.And what is gentle discipline? "Gentle Discipline means, quite simply, placing empathy and respect at the very center of your parenting." It may not be that different from what many of us do. However, I appreciate the chance to be reminded of my ideals, and to be supported as a parent by an author and book that itself is kind and unscolding, that is, a book that places empathy and respect at its center.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balanced, sensible, and HONEST! Oct. 17 2005
By Sue Hodge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As the mother of 3, stepmom of 2, and grandmother of 3, I was most impressed with this book! When I was raising my family, most books contained the seemingly expert opinions of a single person; Flower has compiled wonderful, VARIED advice from dozens of parents. Their ideas depict the wonder, the joys, and the confusion involved in this complex job of raising happy, healthy, capable little people. The personal essays section had some great pieces: "Have Mercy on Yourself", "Not Easy", and "On Losing My Cool" contained so much wisdom! Highly recommended for new parents or seasoned veterans, this book will remind the reader to trust their instincts and be gentle---not just with their kids, but with themselves.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Guide and Encouragement for Moms April 18 2008
By Elizabeth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Update: It's been three years since I got this book and wow. I had no idea how many truly bad and self-righteous parenting books there were out there. I have re-starred this book at a five, considering its unique contribution to the gentle parenting canon.

First of all, it's not sanctimonious. This book will not tell you about parenting magic. It will not tell you that it has all the answers. It will not tell you that there is an "easy" or "simple" answer. It will not tell you that spanking is child abuse (though obviously it does not condone spanking, it does not label people who have used or considered using spanking, which is such a welcome relief- finally, book that is gentle with parents as well!).

It is full of anecdotes by parents and practical advice. It devotes an entire chapter to when you and your kids are NOT on the Gentle Discipline wagon, which is probably how I re-discovered it when I was at my wits' end with my 3.5 year-old and 1-year-old. What a relief to read an entire chapter of parents talking about how they were losing their minds and felt like they'd messed up, only to be told that that's life and it's not an all-or-nothing game. It will tell you that there's a time for just saying "no".

Okay, back to the original review:

I really think this book's capacity for encouragement sets it apart from the other books.

This book is a wonderful book to have on hand when you are feeling discouraged or need energy to come up with creative ideas to discipline your children lovingly and gently. It is a great alternative to theory-heavy books or books that focus on our own emotional hang-ups as parents. Filled with anecdotes and stories of women's own struggles and successes, it introduces and elaborates on gentle discipline in a logical sequence of chapters.

If you want to know why you build a house the way you do, you buy a book on physics. If you want to know HOW to build a house, you buy a DIY book. This is the DIY book.

My only disappointment was that this book was very mother-focused, to the exclusion (it seemed) of fathers. There were precious few anecdotes by dads and almost no discussion of how fathers' special gifts could be used in the gentle family for effective discipline.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A discipline guide that every parent should read Dec 30 2005
By Ann Douglas - Published on Amazon.com
Hilary Flower has written a wonderfully down-to-earth and real guide to gentle discipline -- a book that every parent will be able to relate to and that every parent would benefit from reading.

Unlike some other books in this genre that leave you feeling like you could never measure up to the author's standards of parenting perfection -- and that can therefore end up taking a toll on your parenting self-esteem -- "Adventures in Gentle Discipline" is empowering and, above all, inspiring.

By reading about how real parents have found practical ways to apply the basic principles of gentle discipline to everyday situations that you, the reader, can relate to, and by including chapters about parenting mistakes and how you can get yourself back on track discipline-wise when those parenting faux pas inevitably occur, Hilary Flower gives her readers the wonderfully liberating message that you don't have to be perfect to be a parent (thankfully) and that it's normal for parents to learn alongside their kids.

Learning from the experiences of other parents can be invaluable, both in terms of helping us to come up with new ways of dealing with particular parenting challenges and in helping us to develop a unique parenting style that works for ourselves and our children. This book takes that approach by bringing together the experiences of the true experts on gentle discipline: parents who have used this discipline method.

I highly recommend this book to other parents.

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