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How To Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Meeting The Five Critical Needs of Children...and Parents Too! Updated Edition Kindle Edition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
children's lives would have been so much easier if this book had only been written then. We go to school to
learn the 3 R's, but there is no school for parenting. This book is so insightful, and makes so much sense, it
should be read by every person who has or expects to have children.
Thank you Dr. Newmark. Your book will have a positive effect on all the children and parents who read and use
Having said that, here were some of the issues I had with the book:
Newmark appears to be attempting to make amends for his own childrearing mistakes.
Much of the actual good advice in the book seems to be geared toward emotionally unhealthy/abusive adults who are raising children.
If you have common sense and are reflective, then this book may be too elementary for you.
What really bothered me about the book was the anecdotes Newmark uses -- they don't sound real. For example on page 30-31, Newmark talks about a family meeting in which 11 year old Robert tells his mother that she is "being 'miscellaneoused' to death." I highly doubt that those words actually came from a real 11 year old boy. In another anecdote on page 55, a mother is impatiently trying to change the diaper of her 4-month-old. Her father says nothing but decides to call her on the phone later on and "tactfully" critiqued her and made a suggestion on how to handle the baby so that there was less fussing. Supposedly the very next day, mom calls her dad to thank him for his advice. First of all, most people don't take criticism very well no matter how tactful it is; so I have a hard time believing someone so insensitive to their baby today would be calling her father to thank him the very next day. Second, I find it hard to believe that someone who had been so insensitive to her baby's need for gentleness during diaper changing time would be able to completely change the habit in one day. It just seemed far-fetched.
The advice is too general to be helpful, and when there are specifics, it seems inappropriate. For example, on page 59, Newmark remarks that "including the child in decision-making enhances her sense of importance." This is true, but in this context, the child had been having sleepovers with an older man (her boyfriend). Children should be included in making certain decisions as appropriate, and I believed in this case it was inappropriate for the child to be allowed to make this decision.
There are many examples of teenagers and older children in the book behaving disrespectfully, and Newmark's advice is to "give the child the benefit of the doubt," "let them make decisions," etc. In many of these scenarios, if the child has gotten to that age and is behaving that way, it's an indication of earlier parenting mistakes which means that the child hasn't shown the maturity to be making decisions or given the benefit of the doubt.
In another example, a child was caught shoplifting by his mother. Rather than actually disciplining him, she made him give the toy back and apologize. This doesn't actually teach the child that stealing is wrong nor does it teach the child that the consequence was negative. The child ended up exactly where he started -- without the toy; and forcing a child to apologize does not actually mean that he is sorry for what he did. I have students who plagiarize papers and the consequence to plagiarism is an F on the assignment. Many of my students seem to think that the "punishment" for plagiarizing should be that they have to write the paper -- which is exactly what they should have done in the first place.
A much better book with good practical advice are the books in the Love and Logic Magic series. Here they give real, practical advice for how to handle misbehaviors from children in a way that actually teaches them consequences, good decision making and without compromising their emotional health.
I also like the work of Gordon Neufield and Gabor Mate who wrote "Hold On To Your Kids"
Parenting is the toughest job we can ever love. Yet in these challenging times many parents find they need help to cope. This book offers practical ideas to create the families we want - families that respect one another, where all feel secure, accepted, important and included. This is the framework that helps parents examine how they treat family members and themselves. Filled with examples from toddlers to teens, parents will find this book easy and enjoyable to read.
As a parent and a parent educator, my favorite chapter is chapter 4: "Becoming a Professional Parent: Child rearing is too important to leave to chance." In this chapter, Dr. Newmark discusses practical ideas to apply strategies used by professionals to the art of parenting. For example, parents need to develop a game plan and make conscious choices of how they use their time. This means having priorities straight and developing a plan to create the home and family life that is important to them. And professionals monitor their own progress and are willing to adjust plans and to get creative to meet goals. Parents are encouraged to keep a journal to note progress and challenges.
We have used the book as the basis of reading groups and parents report how helpful it is because it gives parents a way to make decisions about which strategy is best for their children and the emotional health of each family member.
It is my opinion that How To Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Meeting The Five Critical Needs of Children...And Parents Too! is useful and respectful to both children and adults. This book gives as much or as little support as a family or classroom needs. It is easy to create a positive, gentle, caring, and respectful environment with the help of this text.
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