Most helpful positive review
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
THE discipline book for
on March 2, 2002
As a step parent of a very "Spirited" and "Strong-Willed" child, I can acknowledge first hand that the methods and philosophy of this book WILL promote harmony and cooperation. Maybe not initially but certainly in the long term. "Setting Limits" deals with discipline issues associated with the nine temperamental traits: 1.Persistance, 2.Intensity, 3.Regularity, 4. Distractability, 5.Energy and Activity Level, 6.Sensitivity, 7.Adaptability, 8.Reactivity, and 9.Mood.
The author is also the parent of two children, one compliant, easy going, and the other one strong-willed/demanding so he can relate with the parents who scream, "nothing works with this kid!".
This book is NOT about harsh punishement but rather teaches respectful limit setting, which is an essential teaching tool. It teaches parents to give children clear, respectful messages to convey the necessary information for the child to make acceptable choices. To focus on the behaviour in a way that does not belittle, criticize or shame the child. Although parents may genuinely feel that they are giving a clear "Stop" message to their child, they are sometimes unwittingly giving a yellow or even green light to unwanted behaviours. The strong-willed child interprets these vague massages as "Optional requests" or learns only that the behaviour upsets or angers the parent. This may lead to increased limit testing to see where the boundaries really are, especially if they enjoy making us jump and yell. It sometimes seems that Strong-willed children need to learn everything the hard way by agressivly testing all limits or restrictions (much more than compliant children) to see where the bottom line really is. They are aggressive researchers who leave parents little room for ineffective discipline. There is not much to prepare a parent for dealing with a strong-willed child, and unfortunately they tend to bring out the worst qualities in parents. A child that can argue and debate like a courtroom attorney, develop sudden hearing loss, or dawdle until you are late for work. Parents easily fall into ineffectual ruts of predictable reaction based on our own upbringing and parenting assumptions.
The good news is that the solution usually involves doing much less than what the parent is probably doing at present. You must accept and acknowledge that this is part of the childs personality/temperament, and that they will always need a little more structure and consistancy than compliant chidren. It does not mean they can't learn to cooperate and observe family rules. This book shows parents how and "WHEN" to negotiate rules, what behaviours should be ignored, which ones must be corrected and most importantly "How to do it!".
The most impressive part of all the books I've read by Robert J MacKenzie, is the weath of realistic examples. Every point is thoroughly illustrated for clarity, with discipline scenarios which all parents can readily idenetify with. There are sections on motivating your strong-willed child, encouraging independence, teaching skills, and role-modeling
The entire book is aimed at teaching your child self control. Some books on the challenging children seem more focused on avoiding conflict and undulging the child, which might be great for the short-term, but how can it possibly prepare the child for the real world.
I would also highly recommend reading the book "The Manipulative Child: How to Regain Control and Raise Resilient, Resourceful, and Independent Kids" by Swihart and Cotter.
Out of the dozens of parenting books I've read, "Setting Limits" is certainly one of the best written and sound discipline books for strong-willed children.