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As a career woman that put off marriage until my mid 30's, I was stunned (and so was my husband) to inherit a 7-year old child only a month after our wedding. Add to it that the child was reported to have behavior problems and was on powerful antipsychotics and mood stabilizers and we were more than just a little concerned for how to help her deal with the sudden changes.
However, it quickly became apparent that our new daughter wasn't psychotic, she hadn't ever had boundaries or consequences. When expecting obedience for obedience sake failed, I realized I needed some advice on how to deal with a child that wasn't compliant and had a strong will.
I'm happy to report that this book was EXACTLY the blueprint I needed to proceed and undo 7 years of no discipline. We are working with a psychiatrist now to wean her off her medications because by using the techniques in this book, we are coming along very well and we haven't had a "tantrum" in weeks. She still sometimes tests her boundaries but thanks to this book, they don't ruin our day or week any longer. We deal with the issue and whatever resulting consequences there may be and we move on. I especially appreciate the advice to "either write the ticket (consequence) or give the lecture...not both" If she might not understand the reason, we go with the lecture and defining expectations for next time. If she understands, we go with the consequence which includes a written apology so she can prove to us she understands without us having to go through a lecture.
(side note, the written apology idea didn't come from this book, it came from a blog. But when she's punished, she gets a reasonable consequence and she has to write a 4 part apology and the apology has become the most effective part of the punishment. It has to say (1) what she did wrong and apologize for it. (2) why it was wrong (3) how she thinks it made us or whoever she wronged feel and (4) how she will choose to behave next time. For example, yesterday she got in trouble for painting her nails AFTER I'd told her not to (the punishment was for disobedience and not for the nails). Her apology was: "I'm sorry that I disobeyed you and painted my nails after you told me not to. It was wrong because I am supposed to obey. It probably made you feel angry and like I don't respect you. Next time I am tempted to disobey, I will remember to respect you and trust that you know what is best for me." The consequence is that she didn't get to go with me to the nail salon yesterday afternoon like I'd planned as a surprise. Now she knows that when I make a decision she doesn't like, it might be because I didn't give her all the information and she needs to trust me.)
I appreciated that the book didn't dwell for long drawn out intervals beating a dead horse. The author explains the concept, gives some examples, and moves on. I hate parenting books that act as though I'm not smart enough to learn the concept if they don't repeat themselves for 4 chapters.
This book has made a difference in our house. We give her the expected results and time limits and I'm constantly awed at how smart and creative she can be at getting to those results when I let her have control of her process. Sometimes she falls short but by giving her our clear expectations, she almost always chooses to meet or exceed them and we are so proud of her progress given the set of unfortunate circumstances that led to her being here with us.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
I highly recommend this book. I found it very, very helpful in understanding and dealing more more effectively with my strong-willed daughter. I also realised I was a stong-willed child myself (this surprised no one but me).
Another reviewer criticised this book for its religious references. I'm agnostic and had no problem with them. The book is not riddled with hard-core religiosity, so don't let what is really a non-issue keep you away from a very helpful parenting tool. That said, if you are just sitting around and waiting to be offended, cut the author a break and read something else.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful