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4.7 out of 5 stars
Boundaries With Kids: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Children
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 1998
I'm able to find something I heartily disagree with in every childcare or child discipline book I read. Even in my favorites. But I thought my head was going to fall off I nodded so hard while reading this book. I used to hedge daily on discipline worrying I was "hurting" my kids too much when I had to enforce loss of privileges. This book made me see that all consequences are painful...they are supposed to be. But painful and harmful are not the same thing. Just because my child is temporarily unhappy, that doesn't mean she is permanently scarred. All growth is painful. The flip side to the advice is you should balance your enforcement of consequences with empathy, affection, and support. You are neither your child's enemy nor his friend. You are his parent.
I was able to immediately put the good advice to use right away and my family is so much more peaceful! Boundaries really are good for building character, increasing empathy, and as converse as it may sound, strengthening the relationship between you and your children. The authors are both psychotherapists and devout Christians. I thought the Christian bent might annoy me but the scriptures quoted were used sparingly and only enhanced the eloquence and relevance of the text.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to friends and relatives, Christian and secular. Buy this book and you will walk around thinking "I know which boundaries HIS/HER parents didn't enforce as a child." What an enlightening book!
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on April 18, 2015
This is THE worst parenting book I've read. The whole book is based on the stated assumptions that (1) children are born with "a criminal mind": they are naturally "lazy", "manipulative", "avoid as much responsibility as they can", don't know what they're capable of, etc. etc. and (2) that parents always know better and are the "boss". The suggestions are for parents to get comfortable to see their child in pain and set limits and boundaries to their problematic children and their problematic behaviors. It sounds right.

However, the truth is that children misbehave rarely because they are born evil and want to play evil. Children model behaviors they learned or have seen from their past experiences, mostly from parents' own behaviors or friend's behaviors at school. If your child is not polite and shouts at you, mostly likely you also shouts at your spouse or your child when you're angry. A lot of times, children misbehave for the purpose of getting attention or because they don't know how to handle the stresses from their lives, such as poor family support, bad parental relationship, bully from school, difficulty with school or friendship, or simply confusions of their own emotional reactions toward things happening in life. Simply setting boundaries with a child's behavior without looking into the underlying reasons why the child behaves this way may give you a seemingly "polite", "compliant" child, but will have long-term negative consequences. I cannot imagine a child can "stay connected" with you in this way, even if you don't give emotional punishment as the authors claims (in fact, the child will often have difficulty distinguishing these two). Of course, if you give, your child will be further apart from you, but even if you don't, your child will still feel not understood and angry, helpless, unsafe within.

There are also many conflicting and "too-vague-to-be-practical" advice in the book. For instance, it says saving punishment only for things that matter most, but it is suggested for basically everything that's mentioned in the book if the child is not compliant. In one chapter, it says" the key is not to need anything from your child, such as appreciation, support, respect, or understanding. Get your needs met from other people in your life and free your child to be totally herself with you." Then the next chapter is about getting the child to respect others. I cannot follow the logic that if you need appreciation, support, respect, and understanding from your child, then she cannot be herself. If fact, everyone needs those things and it is good to teach the child to respect other people's needs. That's empathy, and it's taught mostly through your interactions with the child!

I cannot agree with the underlying assumptions of book and hence it is a pain to read. It has put too much emphasis on correcting the superficial phenomenon: behaviors on the surface, with minimum attention to the profound underlying causes: a hurt soul that needs help or a bad relationship that needs to be worked on.
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on September 19, 2001
Having read the Boundaries book, I was excited to read this book directed at parents. I was not disappointed. With the same common-sense approach that I found in the original, the authors give encouragement and direction for floundering parents. Since I was already aware of the principles of the book, the greatest benefit to me was the encouragement - the affirmation that my focus and energy were well aimed. I would highly recommend this book to any parent who is not certain that he or she IS the parent - the leader - in his or her home...or any parent who has become confused in light of well-intentioned, but not accurate or Biblical, pop-psychology that encourages a hands-off approach to parenting. This book reminds us that we ALL appreciate boundaries - and children might appreciate them even more than adults do.
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on March 11, 2004
At age 13, nothing had worked. My son was stubborn, uncooperative, lying & lazy - at best. My fiancee threw up his hands in disgust & told me I was on my own with this problem. Reading this book and implementing its contents as I went along, has made all the difference in the world! Seeing all I had done wrong in the past (to help create this monster), and having guidelines to follow to correct the set bad patterns - priceless! The book is written clearly & matter-of-factly. It shows where I contributed to my son's poor behavior. It shows compassion for how difficult it is to change our patterns. This book is worth every penny - worth every moment. I now have a cooperative, responsible, cheerful, loving son! & he has a mom who is firm, loving, and VERY happy!
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on June 19, 1998
This book has been an answer to my prayers. If you want to be a good parent and do what's best for your children, you need to learn how. Boundaries with Kids teaches you how and ties the how to biblical scripture. Most parents want to do things for their kids in hopes that they will like them. That doesn't equate to buying lots of things or giving in to their every desire. Raising children is not a congeniality contest, it is an awesome responsibility. If you truly care for your children and want to do what's best for them you need to raise them to become independent. To teach them moral values and the difference between right and wrong. If your struggling with raising your child but want to do what's best for him or her. Get started by buying this book, its a winner.
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on October 27, 1999
Becasue I travel in my car so much I listen to a lot of books on tape. This is one of the best I have ever listened to. It was very REAL and the authors related right on with the feeling of parents. Even though it was obvious the authors came from a christian background (as do I) the book did not make that the basis of the book. The book gave real solutions to existing problems and great advice on fixing situations so other problems do not arise in the future. Some of the ideas and principles are tough to stomach as a parent but have worked miraclously(sp) with my 2 year old.
The book so good I bought 3 copies for friends and my brother. I also bought their other book on boundries in marriage which I am looking forward to listening to soon.
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on January 12, 2004
This book is great with young kids. I have a toddler and an infant and tried some of the suggestions in the book and it has helped me better deal with my daughter. I can't say how it would work on teenagers, but I have found Cloud's/Townsend's books on marriage, mom's, and boundaries in general to be very good.
If you have children, this book along with the Boundaries book are excellent books to assist in raising children with healthy self-esteems. These books help you set appropriate boundaries in your relationships, which empowers rather than enables. I love the examples they give about the various types of boundaries we need to have. It reinforces what they are talking about.
Their suggestions are very practical and realistic.
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on February 11, 2000
I am only halfway through the book and already I have found it tremendously helpful. It has made me realize that even though there is a lot of instinct involved in parenting I must not just parent on a whim. It must be purposeful and planned with goals set for both my children and myself. I cannot just "let it happen." This book has also made me take a hard look at myself and realize areas where I have faulty thinking and need to work on personal growth. The authors achieve this with a gentle firmness, not making one feel guilty but rather inspired to make the necessary changes. Quote from the book, "Children don't have it in them to grow themselves up. They respond and adapt to how they are parented."
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on June 19, 1999
Throw out all those other parenting books...this is THE ONE!!!! Not only did I find it to be wonderful for parenting, it helped me to see where MY bounderies need some help. This is a great book to give to a parent who needs some help in their own issue of bounderies. While reading about their children, they will want to be "healthier" in their own life. It is always less intimidating and scarey to read something that "fingers" an area in SOMEONE ELSE'S life first. Then, as you see the need and beniefts,it is easier to bravely deal with your own. This would be a great gift to Grandparents too. It would help them to not "re-parent" behind your back as so often happens.
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on July 25, 1999
This is the book you wish your parents had! But you can start today, with your own children. The authors first Boundaries book is my "best" book. It helped me tremenoudly with my own life. And from quality people, here is another book to help you help your kids set the best boundaries for their own life. We can't to it for them, they will make their own mistakes. But we can show them what good decision-making does and allow them to have consequences for their decisions. I can't say enough about this book. I wish I had found it years ago when my oldest two sons were children. You will really equip yourself with this book to be a loving, effective parent.
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