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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2004
This book contains a lot of practical advice on how to foster desirable, pleasant behaviors and attitudes in children, which naturally contribute to their success in life. However, it has several fundamental flaws in its execution. The first and biggest is that, as many other reviewers have noted, the entire book is little more than a propaganda piece for attachment parenting. Because of this, there is never a moment in the book where he addresses ANY of the challenges his theories have faced. It is also filled with endless gross generalizations such as "The connected child will do what's right because doing what's wrong makes him FEEL wrong." ["Connected child" is his term for children who are raised according to his dictates. If you disagree with any of his tactics, you're in danger of raising a "disconnected" i.e. sociopathic failure of a child.) And "Children who are on the receiving end of sensitive parenting become sensitive themselves." Ad nauseum. Literally.
The book is filled with obsequious overgeneralizations. There are dozens of little "interviews" from, I guess we're supposed to believe, patients (although the speakers are NEVER identified, making it very confusing when the sidebar refer to "our son Matthew" while knowing Dr. Sears has a son Matthew too). These "interviews" produce hysterically unbelievable and melodramatic accounts of miraculously empathic (and boy howdy, ARTICULATE!) 2 year olds, shrewd psychological insight imparted by kindergarteners, etc. Oh, and of course, the book is riddled with obliquely validating comments such as "Research has shown," yet the book fails to have a bibliography or reference section. One eventually has to question why the book ends up seeming more like a sales pitch for attachment parenting than any real compilation of advice.
As the parent of a 6yo child with high-functioning autism who DID/does practice many of the things the Sears deem as "attachment parenting" to the letter, I can tell you that while I don't disagree that his child-sensitive approach to parenting does engender trust and emotional intimacy between parent and child, it is in NO way a blueprint for raising "successful" children, nor is it a recipe for producing any kinds of desirable traits in your children. There is little room for variables in Dr. Sears' tract, if any. I don't think following these practices would hurt any child, but I think that the claims Dr. Sears makes are, at best, spurious, and should be questioned and challenged a lot more than they currently are.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2002
This book does an excellent job of discussing what parents can do to help their children become successful people. It delves into diverse topics such as responsibility, academics, compassion and communication. I highly recommend this to parents of children from toddlers to teenagers. I would also recommend a book the by co-author of this one, Elizabeth Pantley, called Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading - as a guide to the practical aspects of using the tools described in The Successful Child.
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on December 16, 2002
I've read quite a lot of Dr. & Martha Sears' books and agree with some previous reviewers who have said that some of their most recent releases are just rehashes of old stuff [something I began to find very frustrating!]. However, this book was well worth my money!
I was pleasantly surprised to find a well organized book taking a "bird's eye view" of childrearing - not getting so bogged down in babyhood, but looking at the long term goals and results. I found the research quoted throughout fascinating and really enjoyed their synthesis of scientific study. I liked seeing their logic on how their suggestions for raising babies, preschoolers, and elementary age kids on up are likely to result in the attributes I want for my own children.
I particularly enjoyed the chapters on Siblings [something they are obviously experts at after 8 children!], Raising Moral and Responsible Children, and Sexuality; as well as the numerous suggestions and ideas for raising older children. This book is an excellent follow up to "The Baby Book" - what to do when the baby isn't a baby any more!
Even if you are not the least bit inclined towards Attachment Parenting, this book would be an interesting read just as a counterpoint to your own philosophy. I'm very excited to have found such a useful book!
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on August 27, 2002
William Sears and his wife Martha, a pediatrician and a nurse respectively, have written an excellent book. Although raising eight children does not make one an expert in child rearing, the personal examples they provide prove that they are. They also use real-life examples of parents and children they have met in their pediatric practice and also back their examples up with references to medical research.
When my daughter was born six months ago my wife and I followed our gut and cared for our baby the way we FELT was right. We spent a lot of time with her, spoke to her all the time, and did not ignore her when she cried. But I wasn't sure if we were doing the right thing. Upon reading The Successful Child we were relieved because the authors promoted a method in line with ours, and we used the book to refine our method further.
Most importantly, the book also helped us to understand our baby's behavior. For example, babies are not trying to manipulative us when they cry, they are communicating their needs to us. Ignore their cries and you are essentially teaching your child that their needs will not be met and that their attempts at communicating with you are futile, so they may stop communicating. This may result in a quieter child (which some books advocate) but at what cost?
The book is a little bit repetitive at times and I wish they would have listed the sources for the research they cite, but do not let this stop you from purchasing an excellent book...
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on May 21, 2002
I bought this book and "The Child Whisperer" by Matt Pasquinilli on the advice of a professional. I was having difficulty getting my child to listen and follow through with simple tasks. It was affecting her school too. She is such a wonderful child, so kind and caring.
The problem was that she gets distracted easily, and daydreams too much. "The Child Whisperer" was so profound in its simplicity. It created a foundation of basic skills that changed my relationship with my child.
The man who recommended these two books suggested I read and reread "The Child Whisperer" first, then after trying the techniques within it for a few weeks, I was supposed to start reading "The Successful Child:What Parents Can Do to Help Their Kids Turn Out Well." Fantastic advice!!! "The Successful Child" is chock full of easy to use advice and insights that will build your child's confidence and esteem.
All children are wonderful and start out completely innocent. As parents, we can use all the help we can get to raise happy and healthy kids. This book helps!
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on April 3, 2002
I bought this book and "The Child Whisperer" by Matt Pasquinilli on the advice of a professional. I was having difficulty getting my child to listen and follow through with simple tasks. It was affecting her school too. She is such a wonderful child, so kind and caring.
The problem was that she gets distracted easily, and daydreams too much. "The Child Whisperer" was so profound in its simplicity. It created a foundation of basic skills that changed my relationship with my child.
The man who recommended these two books suggested I read and reread "The Child Whisperer" first, then after trying the techniques within it for a few weeks, I was supposed to start reading "The Successful Child:What Parents Can Do to Help Their Kids Turn Out Well." Fantastic advice!!! "The Successful Child" is chock full of easy to use advice and insights that will build your child's confidence and esteem.
All children are wonderful and start out completely innocent. As parents, we can use all the help we can get to raise happy and healthy kids. This book helps!
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on April 3, 2002
Unlike most Sears books which focus on one particular aspect of parenting (i.e. breastfeeding, discipline), The Successful Child is a big picture look at parenting. Sears examines the many factors which influence a child, from the important first year of birth, to diet, to discipline.
There are many small highlights scattered throughout the book on issues such as homeschooling or playing video games. As with all Sears books, parental anecdotes are used liberally, keeping the book personal and interesting. Frequent references to medical and psychological studies (though, sadly, lacking references) give the feeling that you have the cutting edge of parenting, right in your hand.
I found this book very helpful for looking at the big goal of parenting--What kind of person do I want my child to grow up to be? With that goal in mind, Sears gives the tools for how to tackle individual parenting issues. A book like this is great for days when the little annoying parts of parenting are getting you down (like cleaning dried cherrios off of your shoes).
Frequent Sears readers may find parts of the book familiar. There is the obligatory "introduction to attachment parenting" that is found in all Sears books. The chapter on nutrition is an overview of The Family Nutrition Book, and much of The Discipline Book is scattered throughout.
Parents in any stage of the game will find this book helpful.
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Anyone who has studied psychology will relate the importance of early childhood events and experiences to the person one will become as an adult. The first six years of a child's life greatly influence one's life in the adult world; however, the authors have taken that theory one step further and deemed that the FIRST YEAR, will critically determine how the child develops emotionally.
This is a book for every parent no matter how experienced or inexperienced one might be. By the time we just begin to "think" we have all the answers, our children have flown from the nest! "The Successful Child" contains plenty of good advice on how to enrich your child's growing years nutritionally, spiritually, intellectually and emotionally. You will find constructive and positive viewpoints on the importance of instilling moral values into the upbringing of our children. The book is quick to point out that materialistic wealth is not a priority in the overall plan of raising a healthy, well-adjusted child into adulthood. Rather, the Sears focus on the critical element of teaching children the importance of touching the lives of others and, by doing so, making their own lives more fulfilling.
What impresses me the most about the book is the straight forward, down-to-earth manner in which the book is written. The Sears not only speak from a professional standpoint, but one based on personal experience - they have raised eight children! This will definitely be one book I will be highly recommending to clients searching for resource material in childhood development. There are a vast variety of topics covered between these pages on development from the stages of birth through the teen years to adulthood. The material will give parents much to contemplate as they embark on one of life's most challenging and rewarding experiences - raising a healthy, happy, well-adjusted child. May peace and love go with you on this ever-changing adventure.
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on May 22, 2002
This is another really well done book by Dr. and Mrs. Sears. Maybe much of this information is available in his other books, but if you haven't read "The Discipline Book", "The Baby Book" or "The Attachment Parenting Book", I could see this as being a really exciting and thought provoking work.
I just had to comment on the negative reviewer's obnoxious remark to the effect that simply having children does not make you an expert. Dr. Sears raised his children to adulthood, and they are now successful and happy people. Two or three of his children actually are physicians who practice pediatrics with him. One of them is even starting to take over some of the media responsibilities by appearing on shows such as Good Morning America.
In a world where so many kids are estranged from their parents, this is really really nice to see. Anyone that can raise kids to be adults like that has some good advice to offer the rest of us.
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on April 1, 2002
First I want to put away any doubt concerning why this book is on the market and highly rated in a time when America is undergoing change due to the terrorism causing many books to receive unwarranted publicity. This is a genuine effort that I do believe will help many in many various ways. Parents and children will both reap reward and joyfully sow contribution from this diverse method labeled AP. The book does have some very fundamental teaching, however the art of being a good parent is revived in those common sense teachings. This is a book that gets us back to Grass Roots America which in truth is direly needed. A cumulative guide touching many subjects of upbringing. May have a little weakness in choosing between teaching God spirituality and human spirit. For that I recommend a very unbiased book that is for all ages which could help parents on that subject with their children, teaches contribution as well, SB 1 or God by Maddox.
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