Top critical review
This book oozes with psychobabble and ill advice
February 26, 2002
I received this book as a Christmas present and was so looking forward to reading it. As a mother of a ten-month old son, I thought I would be able to read about positive parenting skills and gather some good information. I was so disappointed and even appalled at this book. I couldn't even get to the second chapter in one sitting. I ended up throwing it across the room.
I know that so many people have written about how great this book is and how wonderful the advice is. I wholeheartedly disagree! There are tidbits of advice that can be useful, such as communicating with your children and telling them that "it's okay to express negative emotions" and "it's okay to be different". However, tidbits of decent information do not make a good book.
If you are looking for alternatives to spanking, then you may want to consider this book. However, if you believe that spanking (not beating or abusing your child) is okay and actually needed for some children, than this book is NOT for you! (The author even states that if you plan to follow his advice precisely, you can't spank your child at all).
I am by no means saying that spanking should be the only form of discipline. However, some of the alternatives mentioned in this book are simply laughable. One suggestion is to give your teenager a timeout and tell them, that they are not respecting your feelings. I actually laughed out loud when I read that. I would have lost all respect for my mother if she ever said that to me when I was a teenager. I am only 29 and I know that spanking is not outdated. If my mother would not have spanked me, I would have pushed her to the edge. I am THANKFUL she did so with me. And I can safely say that I am by no means a violent person or a person with low self-esteem.
As for the author's opinion of "today's children are more sensitive and intelligent therefore, fear-based punishment doesn't work", what a crock of psychobabble. My sister-in-law works with juvenile delinquents and troubled teens and counsels them everyday. She says the biggest problem today is lack of discipline. By talking to these kids one on one, she has been able to find out from THEM that they've never had discipline in their homes, nor communication. Some of them even admit, that had they been disciplined they would probably not be in the situations they put themselves in.
This book teaches that children learn responsibility from their parents. True. But every scenario the author gives, blames the parent, whether it's the child breaking something or hitting another child. Children need to learn self-control and the ability to take responsibility for their own actions. The author's teachings make excuses for every wrongful act a child commits. When children misbehave it is not always the parents' fault.
I could go on and on about other ridiculous scenarios the author presents but I think what I've said thus far should suffice. I sincerely could not recommend this book to anyone. As a matter of fact, you will probably see my copy up for sale pretty soon.