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on June 3, 2009
I too don't want to raise brats. I do agree that overindulging is no good and setting bounderies is right. As for the rest, I can't agree with the means. Yes, conquences are part of raising a child but there is a huge difference between unatural and natural consequences. I'm happy to say my girls(15 and 10) are doing splendid and I credit the tools of Thomas Gordon's Efficient Parenting. His method is win-win, with children learning to develop the necessary qualities to make good decisions instead of "obeying". So many "obedient" kids act out the second the leave the nest: they were "well behaved" in fear of an (unnatural) consequence but without developping the thought process to naturally prevent the bad choice. And time-outs? Really? in a room filled with gadgets or in a humiliating corner: what do you really think the child is learning from this process? Is he/she going to have flash of genius while sulking or plan ways of not getting caught next time, or learn that with autoritarian strengh comes power? It's not as if there are 2 options: beeing permissive or an authority figure: there is a third option as explained in Thomas Gordon's work and I'm greatful for the results.
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on April 15, 2004
When I was trying to conceive my first child I stumbled upon this and other books by Marilu Henner. I thought it offered great insights into things that a new or even established parent should and should not do if they want to raise a healthy, respectful and well-behaved child.
In a society that has an abundance of unhealthy children I find this book to be great at educating parents in a non-threatening way. Sure Marilu cracks jokes, she is a very funny lady. Sure she is considered a celebrity but more so since she became an author. I think she has done what many people would love to do, take something they are passionate about, write it all down and share it with others. She didn't get a book deal just because she is also an actress and she wouldn't continue to write nor get the book deals if her books didn't sell.
Take the time to read this book with an open mind and I bet there is at least a dozen things that will make you think about how great Marilu must be as a mother. I guarantee that if you were ever to meet Nicky or Joey you would find them both well behaved and extremely respectful!
If you don't want to spend the money, at least check it out from a local library! You won't be sorry that you did!
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on February 16, 2003
My husband and I were so afraid that by buying almost every new toy, video, outfit out on the market, our daughter would end up being a spoiled brat. We also questioned our disciplinary styles, because they didn't seem to work. We took advice from friends and family, and found nothing was really working for us either.
We bought this book, which is incredibly easy to read, and reference. I found many answers to many questions I had. It includes real family dilemmas written by concerned parents, and includes answers that make a lot of sense and are sometimes humorous.
We learned that our actions now have consequences that can/will last a lifetime. It's very important to allow your child to do for herself, learn NO, not to spank, learn to have "contracts" with your child regarding how they act and behave, and to show your child how to become a part of the world they live in rather than them thinking the world revolves around their needs and wants.
We highly recommend this book!
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on March 27, 2001
While not all of the advice contained in this book is downright wrong, some of it is cruel, and some is just useless to normal people. Leave your sick child with the housekeeper? How many of us have housekeepers? And how will staying home with your child when s/he is legitimately sick create an "unnatural dependency"? Much of the advice seems tailored to people who want a justification for refusing the work that comes with parenting. I am not a parent myself, for one simple reason--I have a career, which I am not yet willing to abandon. The day I have a child I expect to put the child's needs first. Henner (and "expert" Dr Sharon) consistently suggest ignoring your child's cries and refusing to explain decisions. They say that explaining yourself might give the child the "false" idea that s/he is an equal. A child might not have equal responsibilities or even rights to an adult, but I feel very strongly that the child is entitled to equal respect, and that means explaining yourself, especially when the decision has a big impact on the child's life. Some of Henner's anecdotes about her family are humourous, but a few are just plain weird. Some anecdotes are not in the context of Henner's own comments, and it's hard to tell whether these are fictional or factual. The sections at the end of each chapter ("When a Little Brat Becomes a Big Brat") paint horrifying pictures of what happens to society when a mother rocks her baby to sleep (yes, Henner thinks rocking your baby to sleep is a bad idea). These sections do not contain much (if any) statistical evidence for their claims. All in all, I feel sorry for the children of any parents who take this book too seriously.
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on December 14, 2001
My husband and I bought this book (and Baby Wise, similar philosophy) when we found out we were pregnant because we wanted to do two things:
1. take our child wherever we go as adults
2. avoid dealing with the problems of bratty children that so many of our friends deal with.
We knew that the Sears philosophy of letting the child become the center of your life wouldn't work for us. Rather, our marriage is the center of our lives and children are a gift to enjoy.
Here are the positive results of our experience with this type of philosophy:
1. Our daughter sleeps through the night peacefully since she has been 5 weeks old.
2. She is a happy, contented child because she knows that her parents love her dearly, and because her parents work hard on their marriage.
3. We take her to gallery and art museum openings, symphony performances and fancy restaurants.
4. We, as parents, are not exhausted, and we are in charge of this family.
So, yes, if you want to indulge every whim your child has, and you want your children to be the center of your life, go ahead and check out Dr. Sears' work. But if you want your child to be a functioning, healthy, happy member of your family and of the society they ultimately have to live successfully in, who knows their place in the universe, consider this book.
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on October 8, 2003
This is probably the worst childrearing book I have ever read. Where should I begin? As others have previously said, the breastfeeding advice is just plain stupid, and if Marilu got an award from LLL shouldn't she be aware that the World Health organisation reccommends b/f for 2 years and beyond? This has been done for 99.9% of human history ---- were all our ancestors 'overindulged'??!! (in fact, it is well known that societies in which children are breastfed for a few years produce children that are happier, better-adjusted, and respectful --- read 'The Continuum Concept')
As has the 'family bed', most people in the world sleep this way now and seperate sleeping arrangements have only been around for about 200 years, even in the West. The example she provided about cosleeping was to the extreme, and it is a fact that more babies die in cribs than their parents bed (check out for more info)Common sense is the key when cosleeping - it is important to follow safety reccomedations, and there should be no problem.
I am not for permissive parenting, but it seems to me this book has gone to the other extreme and takes the stance that all instinctive nurturing is harmful. There is a middle-ground to be had between permissive and authoritarian, if we recognise that children are PEOPLE, and not nuisances to be cut down to size.
I couldn't believe that this appalling Dr. Sharon was praising parents who both worked till 8pm for instilling a good 'work ethic' in the child. Is she trying to assauge her own guilt or something? I was flabbergasted.
I am just saddened that some people will read this book and disregard their own instincts to follow its advice. I certainly would not want to be the child of that Dr. Sharon!
If you want to raise insecure, lonely, joyless, frightened children this is the book for you.
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on December 11, 2003
Okay, being a has-been TV star and writing books telling people to avoid breads and dairy products does NOT qualify you to write a book on raising children.
Dr. Ruth Sharon's insites were sometimes good. But Marilu`s additions were horrible. Some of them didn`t even answer the question. The perfect example was one woman who complained that she and her husband disagreed with if the children should keep their rooms tidy. She then goes on and says what SHE does and how her brothers were known to grown interesting plantlife when she was a child. THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE QUESTION. And one of the chapters she wrote just had me fumming. I am convinced that Marilu Henner has any idea of what life is like in the real world. It was a chore to make it through this entire book.
Reading this book is like shopping at a thrift-shop. You`ve got to go through a ton of garbage to find a few pounds of something useful. Some of their ideas were worth discussing with my wife. But all in all, I don`t think the time I (quote unquote) invested into this book had any valuable return.
There are so many other parenting books out there that are more worth the time to read. Don`t waste any time on this one.
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on March 19, 2003
Starting with the bad: Some of the advice provided is worthless and cold, e.g, both parents coming home at 8 p.m., according to Dr. Sharon "is showing a 5 year-old child a good work ethic." I figure if both parents are going to be out of the home all day while the child sits in daycare and waits, why bother having a "token child" in the first place? Obviously, only brats would raise a child in such a selfish way, anticipating only moments of together time in front of a camera displaying a "happy and intact family." As far as Marilu, her humor is not always appreciated. She doesn't have to be funny "all of the time." Her remarks at times were grating and nerve-racking.
As far as the good: Not giving in to your child's every single whim is good, good advice. I appreciated Marilu's perspective in pointing out that she would struggle as a mother seeing her child's heart broken in front of her eyes, but she maintained her parental stance, knowing she did it for his own good, which is comforting. The word "No" used intelligently when raising a child is good for a child's self worth in the long run, as they grow (parents hope) to be responsible adults. Truth is: a spoiled child is a worthless child who grows up to be a selfish, worthless adult, who is always expecting to be served. Ugh!
It's interesting to know that a wealthy star like Marilu is doing her children a favor by refusing to give in to their every whim, e.g., not letting them sleep in the "family bed", a fiercely debated topic. As a parent myself, I started noticing some of my own bad habits with my own kids, which after giving it good thought, is good, and I have made some changes that benefit me and my children. Thanks, Marilu!
Is this book worth purchasing? If you can get it used, it would be good to get. It's a good read, but I'm not sure I'd want to give it away as a gift because of the book's title; the recipient might take it wrong. Given as an anonymous gift might be the best bet to a parent that you think might benefit from it.
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on April 19, 2003
Seems like other people from NJ liked this book too. I'm from Jersey, am much younger than Marilu Henner and really appreciated this book. I have no interest in reading some boring textbook on what to do and not do with my 2 children. This book has real life examples backed up with expert advice. Makes this a good read for parents. Very practical with great insight that I find very helpful. This book is written in a user-friendly format. Use what you want from this book. Refer to it as needed. Nobody says that you have to like or live the advice from Marilu. There are many valid key points that we are putting into practice with our kids. I borrowed the book from the local library and found myself taking so many notes that I just ordered a copy from Amazon. I want my husband to read this book too. You will find experiences in here that you can relate to about people/children you know. Some serious moments, some funny moments. The humor makes the book readable. I haven't been able to put it down. I am disgusted with the way children are raised these days in a society of conspicuous consumption and waste. (overindulgence) I like her advice on a balance between "frustration and gratification". You will learn a lot not just about kids, but about the people around you and most importantly, yourself.
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on July 26, 2003
I'm not surprised that there are a lot of scathing reviews of this book. Just look at the kids out there these days. America has more badly behaved, spoilt, obese, lazy, diabetic, violent, attention deficit disordered kids than any other country in the world. Obviously parents of those kind of kids bought into the "Listen closely to your kid's wants and needs. Treat them as an equal" kind of modern parenting books. Of course they would totally disagree with Marilu's solid, good old-fashioned advice. Marilu's advice harks back to the days when kids WEREN'T shooting up schools with automatic weapons and schools didn't need metal detectors at each entrance to screen for weapons. If all these new soft approach books are right, why are the kids these days so screwed up? Why, when parents were much stricter and less accomodating to their child's every whim, were the kids more polite, respectful, had a much better work ethic and way, way less out of control. I love the bit where Marilu says that spoilt kids don't grow up to thank their parents for giving them everything they always wanted. They usually have no respect for them. Unfortunately my wife and I have opposite opinions about raising our two boys (2 & 4). My wife hates to see them cry, so she constantly gives into their demands. As a result, it's much harder work for her to be around the kids than myself because they are much needier and brattier with her than they are with me. If you are firm, consistent and make the rules simple, the kids really quickly realise that it's a waste of their time whining and crying about the silly stuff and are much happier for it. If I put the kids to bed, I can leave them to fall asleep by themselves. I tell them that I'll come back in a couple of minutes to check on them. I may have to do this once and there maybe a little half-hearted grumbling about being left alone but it's usually an extremely rewarding and painless experience. If my wife puts them to bed, she can't leave the room without the sound of screaming kids following after her and usually ends up staying in their room until they fall asleep. I ask you, which scenario is most likely going to produce an independent, happy and confident child? Kids are constantly checking for chinks in our parental armour. If they find a weak spot, even at a very early age, they are incredibly smart and know how to take advantage of it. It's mindblowing to me how they do this. But I agree with Marilu, I think kids want and need rules to be in place and stuck to. They are more secure knowing that their parents are actually in charge and have things under control. Anybody know how to get in contact with Ruth Velikvsky Sharon Ph.d. who helped Marilu with the book? I'd like to get in touch with her.
Oh, and financially successful parents who had nothing as a child (the " I want my kids to have the nice things that I never had" types) , stop giving your kids brand new BMWs when they're sixteen. There are undiscovered tribes in the Amazon jungle who know that this is a terrible, terrible thing to do to your child. What the hell do they have to aspire to if they're handed stuff like that on a plate. Yeah, give them a car...a car that is uncool enough that they want to get a job to earn money to pay for a cooler one. It's so simple.
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