12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2004
I was so thrilled about all I learned from the Sears Baby Book, that I was sure this was the only discipline book I'd need. Instead, I just read it and it is going straight into the trash (and yes, I read the whole huge thing, hoping at some point it would get better and more useful) Dr. Sears, you hae a lot of fans out there (myself included) but you really missed the boat on this one! The book goes on and on and on about attachment parenting philosophies (wear your baby, nurse, sleep with your baby) and even though I've done all that I find this book does the attachment parenting thing ad nauseum. I actually found myself thinking it is a bit offensive, because Sears seems to think that children who are properly attached, or attached enough, will not have discipline issues. Well, that's just not helpful to me as I try to find strategies to deal with my daughter hitting other children, or throwing food on the floor (for 4 months now), or having little tantrums, etc. If you want a book that will make you feel good about all the great attachment parenting you've done, or horrible about all the attachment parenting you haven't done, then this is the book for you. If you want a book that is more about strategies to deal with toddlers and their behavioral challenges (and why they work, and the strenghts and weaknesses of various approaches), keep looking. I'm going to try "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for toddlers" and "Becoming the parent you want to be."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 1998
We bought this book because the reviews called it "essential" but we found it to be useless when we tried to put its ideas into practice. The authors do detail problems and offer solutions but their advice is actually quite vague. We bought the book to try to get some help but following the advice in the book just made us frustrated. They don't have suggestions for people like us, whose discipline issues aren't as pat as those in the book. For parents who are starting out, this might be a helpful book to read but for us, whose problems are more established, the book really wasn't any help at all.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2000
I am a strong believer in the general ideas espoused by Dr. Sears (family bed, avoiding spanking, being respectful of children as people, etc.), but I found this book very disappointing. First, Dr. Sears provides many strong recommendations about what a parent should and shouldn't do, but virtually no practical suggestions or examples. Second, in the focus on being respectful and responsive to the child, there is a strong implication that a parent who attends to his/her own needs is practicing poor parenting. I believe that a parent who sacrifices too much of her/his self is often a worse parent than those who have boundaries that are respectful of BOTH themselves and their child. Third, there is a strong and explicit value that the mother is and SHOULD be the primary parent, with the father playing a quite peripheral role. If you want a parenting book that teaches you to be warm and responsive to your child with practical examples, "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, How to Listen So Kids Will Talk" is a MUCH better choice.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2003
I feel so comfortable with the philosophy of this book. I must admit I had previously thought of attachment parenting as relating only to nursing babies. Sears clearly explains that a solid foundation in a "connected parent/child relationship" along with firm boundaries, effective communication skills and behavior modification strategies, will (over time) develop a child's
conscience and internal motivation to WANT to do the right thing. I have 3 young children under the age of 6. I highly recommend this book for it's comprehesive explanations of theory and attention to issues of special needs children as well as to some common worrisome issues of 6-10 year olds. If you have young children like me, I also recommend a very practical A-Z guide called "The Pocket Parent" that is written only for parents of 2-5 year olds. This literally pocketsized book is not written in paragraphs, but rather sanity saving bullets of quick read tips and examples often including the exact words to try. It is organized alphabetically by behavior topic (anger, biting, gimmes, hitting, listening, lying, morning crazies, whining, etc) and can quickly suggest a strategy at a moments notice. I refer to these 2 compatible books again and again. I am pleased with the increase of cooperation from my kids as well as the general feeling of well-being in my household.(...of course, that's on a good day!...My kids are normal and often quite challenging!)
on June 15, 2002
If I were to recommend only one discipline book, it would be The Discipline Book. I first encountered it when I was trying to help my sister deal with her 3-year-old's severe behavior problems. While other reviewers report frustration at the lack of "specifics," I found this book extremely practical. It gave my sister and I the tools we needed to effect immediate change in my niece's behavior and, because of the attachment philosophy, her well-being too.
This is how we applied the information in The Discipline Book: my niece had been literally attacking other children in her day care, but she was much better-behaved at home. After reading through the book it seemed to us that she was probably not feeling secure with her mother, since children will tend to be worse-behaved with the persons they trust the most. Talking with her daycare attendants revealed that her acting out started shortly after her mother made the decision to enter the Army. A discussion with my niece then revealed that she thought when her mother went into the Army, my niece would be left home alone to take care of herself. A few days of consistent reassurance that she would not be abandoned, combined with plenty of affection, eliminated the behavior problem.
So, I found the book to be extremely practical; and I have since effectively used its principles in caring for other children. Although the authors do not focus on particular situations, they enable caregivers to understand a child's own experience of behavioral problems and to compassionately address the underlying concerns. While not all discipline involves behaviors as complicated as the one I described, all effective discipline does require compassionate and empathic parenting. The Discipline Book gives caregivers the tools required for this sort of effective, humane disciplining.
on February 25, 2002
I'm relatively new to the Mom Game, and I've been very happy with suggestions from Dr. Sears. The Baby Book has saved me on more than one occasion. So when my sweet little boy got to the stage where I felt like I was saying NO every 5 seconds, I thought The Discipline Book would be an ideal resource. In many ways, it is the resource I hoped it would be. Dr Sears covers different types of discipline styles and seems relatively objective in reviewing what's good and bad about each. It was nice to see the pros and cons, which reinforced the idea that you need to pick and choose what works best for you and your child. I really like books that stress trusting your intuition. The thing that I found a little unrealistic is how Dr Sears seems to think that as long as you're close to your child and follow the Attachment Parenting philosophy, your child will be a perfect angel who will obey because they want to please you. I think this truly underestimates the role of personality and disposition. Even children who are securely Attached are still going to have stubborn and independent streaks. Or worse. And while I love Dr Sears and think this book is a good starting point, I don't think this is as complete a guide to Discipline as it could be.
on October 26, 2001
Here is a great book to own for Dr. Sears fans and "attachment parenting" families. It gives balanced advice, emphasizing the importance of respecting and understanding the child as a person without falling into the "parent as powerless mentor-friend" trap. The Searses were in the process of raising eight children when this book was written, so it contains a great deal of wisdom gained from vast experience.
Probably the biggest drawback in this book is the tendency to use the term "attachment parenting" interchangeably with the more general psychological term "attachment" (which is basically the same as love, according to my understanding). I will not deny that many families find that Dr. Sears's famous attachment parenting methods (such as the family bed and infant wearing) actually do promote good attachment, but they are means to an end and not mandatory for all.
Another weak area concerns the issue of spanking. The Searses are known for holding to the respectable view that spanking is not the best way to discipline, and that other methods are preferable. I have no problem with their view, but the so-called "science" that is used to support the view is very poor. No effort is made in any of these studies to look at responsible spanking; rather, all physical discipline is lumped together, including angry spanking, inappropriate spanking, and outright child abuse. Sorry, but these "studies" either have little to do with the issue at hand (loving discipline) or are simply worthless wastes of time that do not belong in this book or any other! The Searses themselves probably made the decision to not spank based on personal experience; they should cite this and leave the junk science alone. As an aside, the parent who does choose to spank will find a section in this book regarding how to do it lovingly, which I endorse, and which, ironically, is similar to advice offered by pro-spanking writers like Dr. James Dobson.
To sum up, I recommend this book. However, if its gentle methods aren't working, by all means look for more assertive (but still loving) methods. Children thrive best where discipline is effective, as well as loving and fair.
on July 6, 1999
I'm a first time mom of a 15 month old, I didn't want to spank, slap, or yell. I was looking for a loving approach. I also could NEVER leave a child to cry, so I felt much relief when I started reading this book! My child is responding well (especially for a VERY active and strong willed child!!) I feel I am enjoying her more, understanding her behavior helps!! My only complaint is about breast feeding, I agree that it is THE BEST, however my child is adopted (I tried pumping to induce lactation but was unsuccessful and feeders leaked etc.) They REALLY should have had better info about bonding/feeding for bottle fed babies!!!!! My style with the bottle was to always hold and rock, NEVER EVER prop the bottle and snuggle close-looking in her eyes and talk or sing. In spite of most opinions that bottles should stop at one, I feel that if breast feeding is encouraged well into the toddler years then what is wrong with a bottle!!!! We still lovingly share the morning and bedtime bottles!!! Follow your heart and your baby!!!!!! I still love the book and refer to it often.
on June 29, 1998
If you don't want to fall into the yelling and spanking routine so many of us knew as children, this is a great book to read. It details how good and bad behaviors start, how to begin at birth to know your child so they will feel safe and respected. The most captivating section for me was to see the difference in what happens when you respond to your baby's cries and when you don't. Many people think you are teaching your child the good lesson of self-reliance when you don't respond, but you are really teaching your child not to trust you. This book was really what I was searching for -- the guidebook for the technique I knew in my heart to be how I wanted to raise our children. Before reading this book, I was already implementing much of what it outlines, but I needed the specifics. It helps to read this book while your child is young because if you can get started right, it is easier to guide your children. However, if you are having trouble with an older unconnected child, there are strategies for you, too. An easy read and a logical explanation of its ideals.
on January 28, 2002
My husband got this book for me for Christmas from my 14 month old daughter. I am a TRUE fan of Dr. and Martha Sears and this book just re-enforces what I already knew...They are an amazing pair. There is no ISTRUCTION in this book, but rather information about how children will act and why. There is gentle guidance to help you understand how to handle your child's unpleasant behavior. The best thing about this book is that fact that Dr. Sears uses his own experience as a parent of 8 children to illustrate how things can go wrong when discipling and how to get back on track. He is not PREACHY, but rather you walk away from this book knowing that even the EXPERTS have problems disciplining their children. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone! My child doens't really have discipline issues yet, but I am prepared for when she does.