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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2003
During the past 10 years, I've had countless encounters with completely uncontrolled, screaming, demanding children on a weekly - if not daily - basis. This is particularly strange since I am neither a parent, nanny or daycare provider. I have seen downright frightening tantrums everywhere I venture in public, from the grocery store to expensive restaurants to my office.
These encounters became so common that I began to notice children who were well behaved and polite as the exception; I began to congratulate parents with children who said something as basic as "hello" or "thank you," and felt tempted to gush if a 10-year-old held a door open for me.
All the while, it was the children for whom I felt most sorry - who were often clearly tired, had rarely if ever heard the word "no" in their brief lives, who cursed and swore at their parents. I could not fathom how on earth they were supposed to go about becoming happy, functional, satisfied adults.
Reading this book was such a relief to me, to know that my observations had been shared with others and, finally, a doctor! It was so refreshing to read a book that questions the completely permissive parenting I've witnessed so many times, and that focuses on the effects of this on the children who cannot know, at such young ages, to ask for discipline, for structure, for parents they can respect.
Parents I know - and here I mean those who have disciplined and punished their children as necessary and often been frowned upon for it - have found this book reinforcing. They've known, deep down, that they were doing a good job - the fact that their children are well behaved and polite and friendly is a testament to this. However, they've found it difficult not to question their methods when other parents glare at them in the grocery line for refusing to cave to demands for gum, candy and toys.
Despite the somewhat startling title of this book, it is an honest one, and this book is just that: honest, yet hopeful for the changes and results that can be brought about by parents doing their jobs. It doesn't take a shrink or medication to raise a happy, healthy, balanced and respectful child.
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on April 23, 2004
Although the book opens with a discussion of tragedy of the school shooting at Columbine High School, the purpose of The Epidemic is not to pinpoint an immediate or public causes that causes youths like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to do what they did, but to highlight their cases as symptomatic - an extreme one, admittedly - of a broad problem of children who grow up oversaturated with stimuli, incapable of emotional development, and uncontrollable at school and at home. All of these, Shaw says, "are signs that our society has become toxic to children".
On this foundation, Shaw's goal is to give instructions for parents in preventing these problems before they arrive. This begins as early as infancy, where Shaw encourages the parent to begin a dialogue with the child (at this early stage, the "dialogue" being nonverbal expressions of affection, such as kisses on the baby's head). While the message for parents to be involved in the child's life seems to be self-evident, pressures for the parents in the workplace can threaten the development of this bond. Also, Shaw is very thorough in instructing parents on the *right* way to develop this bond, mixing anecdotal evidence from his practice with broad guidelines and checklists of symptoms to watch out for, so that the time and effort spent with the child won't be in vain.
By focusing on the internal family structure rather than the external factors that might threaten it, Shaw's book avoids criticizing many of the outside cultural factors surrounding the Columbine shooting that others have pointed to (whether correctly or not), and thereby makes the book accessible for parents of nearly every political persuasion who are looking for practical childrearing tips.
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on October 1, 2003
Buy this book even if you have to save money to do so. The words were like music to my ears. The message is strong and clear but only if we take the responsibility to do something about today's attitudes of today's kids and us - the parents. Back talking, poor judgement, sassy, loud mouth kids who act just like their parents, are making it cool to have an "attitude" that is ruining our country and our complete souls. PLEASE do yourself a favor and buy it and give it away to as many people as possible. One other book that helps parents realize that chores and responsibilties will surely save one's sanity in family life is Mommy-CEO, by Jodie Lynn. Mrs. Lynn is a parenting/family columnist and shares similar ideas - and a few different topics - when it comes to unscheduling and undoing the "me" syndrome. Buy them both and get smart while getting a handle on your family for everyone's future. Wow - this is great! Thank God for these authors!
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on October 26, 2003
It's about time that someone finally wrote about how parents aren't "parents" anymore - they are so busy working, dating, buying they don't have time for their kids anymore and so, rather than be parents, they try to be their kids' friend instead. This doesn't work and the kids are really suffering for it. They don't know the meaning of the word "no"; have no tolerance for frustration, can't see others' points of view, and as Dr. Shaw says, they have no empathy. Just this week in People magazine are stories about how teen hazing is getting out of control - these kids can't even see what they're doing. Please get this book for every parent you know, and if you are a parent yourself, please buy it and read it now. We as a society need to hear this call to action and do something now.
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on October 11, 2003
Well - someone is finally saying it - all this permissive parenting has got to stop. I, like many people, am sick of seeing kids throwing tantrums, backtalking and rolling their eyes, treating their parents and everyone else with total disrespect. I am also sick of watching parents do nothing about it - they are too tired, too busy, too uninvolved with their kids to discipline them and demand or deserve respect. Everyone needs to wake up, and Dr. Shaw is finally here with what he calls, not a "how-to" book, but a "what is necessary" book - kudos to Dr. Shaw for telling it like it is and helping parents, grandparents and even aunts and uncles help their kids to be happy, productive and a pleasure to be around. Buy this book!!!
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on September 28, 2003
Robert Shaw, M.D. has finally put into words what we've all been thinking - that many of today's children are out of control, spoiled, unhappy, mannerless brats whose parents stand by helplessly as their kids throw tantrums and misbehave. In this thought-provoking book, Dr. Shaw shows us what is going wrong and why. But all is not despair, as Dr. Shaw also gives us the roadmap to put our kids back on track to becoming loving, relatable and enjoyable children. This is a must-read for all parents, grandparents, friends and relatives - and for parents-to-be who are full of questions about how to raise children in today's difficult world. Kudos to Dr. Shaw for raising difficult issues in today's overly permissive world.
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on January 21, 2004
As a teacher, I daily see the effects of today's permissive parenting, from kids with no concept of working hard to their parents who let them stay home from school for ANYTHING! Sometimes I'd like to have a video camera to film what will happen to these kids as they leave highs school and head out into a great big world that will slam doors in their faces. You may think that a bit harsh, but if their parents aren't teaching them the lessons they need, the world will be happy to do it. As a parent, this book has also helped me look at my own parenting style (I'm certainly not perfect) and make adjustments so my son does things with his life, not sit around and expect to have others do it for him!!!
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on January 8, 2004
Finally the truth is told. This book clearly illustrates the serious deficiencies in todays parenting and how to fix it. What more could you want? Our society has been so "politically correct" we are hesitant to say anything that might hurt, offend, or upset anyone. Dr. Shaw does not beat around the bush, so the point is clear - change your permissive parenting style now or the life of your child (and others) is at stake. This book has helped to give me the confidence to continue my "strict" parenting style and also how to make it better. It is a must read for any parent or parent-to-be. After reading this book I couldn't help think of the parents I would love to give it to!
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on April 25, 2004
he says that Shaw thinks that there is only one acceptable parenting style but this is clearly not what he is saying:
page 50: There is no reason to believe that any adviser knows for sure about the best child rearing practices or has more common sense than you innately have yourself. I include in that statement the advice of pediatricians, psychologists, lactation consultants, nannies, early childhood educators, self-annointed or media appruved gurus, family and friends, and even what I say in this book
Shaw repeately suggests that you use common sense and test approaches with your child- although he has strong opinions about ineffective or conterproductive methods
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on November 23, 2003
If you read one parenting book your whole life, make it this one. I'll bet eighty percent of those who read it will buy another copy for a friend, and no wonder. It gives you hope, rather than being resolved that the teenage years will be stressful and likely tragic. I'm confident now. Bring 'em on! This books is so good that if arranged marrages were still kosher in this country (I'm not for them, just making a point), I'd require that my future son- or daughter-in-law was raised by parents who read this book and applied its teachings. Seriously,,,,,,,,buy a few. Read it with your spouse. Discuss it. This is one important book.
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