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Well it's about time
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.