Creative Correction
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93 of 105 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2010
I believe children need boundaries, clear expectations, clear communication, and parents who won't "give in" or back down or be lazy or spoil them. I am a conservative Christian mother who is yearning to raise my children with a firm but loving hand, and to communicate with them as the people created in God's image that they are.

There are times that I do come up with "creative" ideas for my kids. Right now I have a rewards poster on the wall, wherein they color more squares and get closer to little goals, if they complete their morning chores on time, and well. Last week, My daughter received a skittle for each piano song she practiced because it was so very difficult for her, having taken the summer off. So I'm not against **occasionally** dangling a carrot for the kids. Additionally, there have been times where my kids did get natural consequences. Taking one hour in the shower, and then being late to dinner, means my daughter gets no dessert because there simply isn't time for it. She is so long finishing her dinner, that we are through with dinner and dessert before she barely gets a mouthful.

BUT...BUT... I just feel like this book is a never ending series of either dangling carrots or humiliations. There are constant presents, awards, prizes, and gimmicks for every little thing she wants the kids to do. Conversely, the book has innumerable ideas for shaming, humiliating, annoying and embarrassing kids with "creative" ideas to correct their behavior. Again, these are not "natural consequences." They are a constant merry go round of weird and unusual ways to frustrate the child. It seems rather controlling to me.

There are better Christian parenting books out there...Don't Make Me Count to Three, Hints on Child Training, and "Get Rid of whining, complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids" are all good options to consider.
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90 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2008
Although the book is saturated with Scripture and fun-loving in tone, it is a tragedy that so many Christians cannot see through the spiritual manipulation and proof-texting Lisa employs to prop up her outlandish, irresponsible, demeaning and abusive parenting techniques. I'll tell you what this book is: it is Love and Logic with a Christian spin, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are intellectual property issues there. To be clear, I despise Love and Logic parenting philosopy for its cold and discompassionate approach to children, but Creative Correction takes Love and Logic philosophy to a "whole 'nother level." That is the danger of Love and Logic: people like Lisa Welchel come up with some cruel and unusual applications of it that not only wound children's spirits, but also distort their image of their Heavenly Father.

Here are a few examples:
Lisa recommends:
--blindfolding children for an hour if they roll their eyes
--handcuffing quarreling siblings together
--putting quarreling siblings outside, whether it's 30 degrees or 100 degrees
--making a child wear boxing gloves all day long for hitting; they are not to be removed for eating; as if this isn't enough torture, she recommends videotaping the child trying to eat popcorn with the boxing gloves. This might be appropriate in the context of a family game night, but not in the context of humiliation and punishment.
--burning a few of the child's toys if a child is caught playing with matches (what about putting the matches out of reach or doing some standard fire-safety education?)
--pinching a child's tongue with a clothespin for disrespect
--pouring hot sauce on a child's tongue
--saying "no to reasonable requests such as 'may I go to the bathroom'" in the name of keeping children on their toes in terms of obedience
--restraining a one year old in a car seat if the child won't stay in time out (time out is not appropriate for one year olds to begin with, and, with any child, if time out is not "working," change your strategy-- don't restrain them!)
--making children stand in the center of the room for a long period of time if they are resisting bedtime ("make it tough" she says)
--making a child close the door quietly, like 100 times, for slamming a door

Those are only a few examples. Lisa also takes Scriptures from Proverbs and turns them into physical punishments. It's almost as if she flipped through Proverbs looking for Scriptures she could use as physical punishments. And we wonder why an estimated 80% of Christian kids are leaving the faith in college? There is a connection there.

Christian parents are no doubt well-intentioned, but they've lost a lot of common sense and compassion for their kids along the way. Turning to Creative Correction is one of the greatest mistakes Christian parents can make if they want to truly train up a child in the way he should go. Parents are turning their kids off to Christianity by using tactics like these.

I so respect so much of the work Focus on the Family does, and I especially appreciate Dr. Dobson's concern about wounding children's spirits. That's why I'm a bit confused as to how this book slipped through the cracks and landed a Focus stamp of approval, because, it is, in my opinion, very wounding to children's spirits.

Alternative reads:
THE POCKET PARENT, Gail Reichlin and Caroline Winkler
PLAYFUL PARENTING, Denise Chapman Westman (a play therapist)
BOUNDARIES WITH KIDS, Cloud and Townsend
GENTLE DISCIPLINE, Hilary Flower, (LaLeacheLeagueInternational)
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2012
I am reviewing this book as a student in an Early Childhood Education program. For my guidance class, I was asked to choose and review two resources for parents or teachers on the subject of child guidance strategies. I went to the library and brought home a stack of books. Because of it's friendly title, I chose to read this one first.

This book is proof that you should never judge a book by its cover.

Even though during and after reading this book I was utterly incensed, I decided to do my review for class over it anyway. I just could not hold back my opinion. I want to share with anyone thinking of buying this book a portion of the paper I wrote for class. For the paper, I was asked to include both pros and cons for the resource, and so I will list both here. I have included APA citations, so that you can see that I am not "twisting" the author's words. You are free to look it up for yourself.


Summary of Resource

This book is about using different kinds of corrections for children's misbehaviors. The author writes in memoir style, describing situations she has encountered with her own children. She intersperses these anecdotes with lists of appropriate corrections for the behavior described. These lists are separated into "Toolboxes" based upon the category of misbehavior.

What are the Pros of the book?

This book has some good information in it. The trouble is, one has to pick through the haystack to find the needle. There are a few suggestions that would be appropriate for correcting a child's behavior. For instance, in one tiny page and a half segment, she describes how she taught her children to practice obedience. The youngest boy had the problem of not wanting to stop playing and come when called. So the author taught him to "argue" respectfully (i.e. saying, "May I please have more time?" rather than "No! I'm playing a game!") [138]. Although this seems like a good bit of information, the author neglects to expand upon it. She does not go into detail on the techniques she used to teach her son to do this. Without this information, the reader is left in the dark and is unable to discern whether this is appropriate correction or not. I also feel the need to point out that in the very next paragraph, the author completely dissolves this particular piece of good advice by stating that sometimes she likes to throw her children a "curve", by "say[ing] no to some reasonable request, like "May I go to the bathroom?" [139].

What are the cons of the book?

In order to fully describe all of the things I feel are wrong about this book, I would have to write another one of equal page length. The entire time I was reading this book, I found myself growing more and more upset with the author. Some of the corrections she suggests are cruel at best, and could almost be considered abusive. For instance, to correct a child who has been caught playing with matches, the author suggests the following: "[...] take a few things that are important to him, like a couple of his baseball cards or some of her Barbie doll clothes, and burn them in a safe place. Remind your child [...] if he accidentally caught the house on fire, it not only would burn all his stuff, but possibly his family as well" [161]. This small paragraph halfway through the book left me completely horrified and disgusted. This author clearly does not understand the mind of a child. While her intended point is clear to herself, and possibly to other adults, a child will interpret her message this way: "I am bigger than you, and you have made me angry. So now I am going to take away something you love." This made me want to write an email to the author with the headline: "If playing with matches is not appropriate behavior, then WHY ARE YOU MODELING IT?!"


You will notice that in my citations, I have PURPOSEFULLY taken out portions where the author uses scripture, or, more often, twisted dogma to justify the "corrections" she suggests. I have done this because I would like for my negative review to be about the parenting information the author offers, not about her moral code. I am NOT in ANY WAY antagonizing this book because of its Christian base.


I would very much recommend any parent (especially the author of this book) to acquire a copy of the textbook I used in my guidance class:

Guidance of Young Children (with MyEducationLab) (8th Edition)

I also reviewed, for this assignment, another excellent book, geared more towards parents than teachers:

How to Behave So Your Children Will, Too!
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43 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2007
I could have written this book myself when I was a young mom, I used many of the same approaches to discipline and they worked great... for awhile. I am now suffering the results of that kind of punitive parenting in my teenaged children who are now rude, uncompassionate, calloused and self-centered. You can't teach your children to be kind, compassionate, loving and gentle by treating them the way this book suggests. You will be sacrificing short-term results for long-term character. It's not worth it!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2007
This is an incredibly wicked book. It amazes me that anyone could advise treating children with such cruelty. The Whelchel has no qualifications at all and it goes without saying that it goes against everything that modern science tells us leads to happy, healthy, obedient children. If you want your children to grow up to be violent misfits with no empathy, go ahead and buy this book.
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73 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2006
In Lisa Whelchel's parenting advice book, "Creative Correction," we get a glimpse of the childhoods of her three children through their mother's eyes. One wonders which of her offspring will write the tell-all book of the 2020's detailing the other side of the story - through the child's eyes?

In the Whelchel household, big people can hit little people (although Whelchel insists on using the euphemism "spanking" rather than admitting the plain fact that she does indeed physically hit her children). She even forces her children to recite little rote memorized prayers thanking God for blessing them a Mommy who spanks (p. 265). But one gets the distinct impression that in the Whelchel household, spankings are designed to meet Mommy's needs and serve Mommy's convenience, not the child's; a good example on page 287 has Whelchel's daughter coming downstairs after her bedtime to complain of pains in her legs. But Lisa Whelchel's immediate response is simply to threaten her with a spanking for being out of bed.

But while big people can hit little people, little people, despite the violent behavior modeled to them by their elders, may not hit each other. When they do, Whelchel recommends forcing the hitter to wear boxing gloves the entire day without taking them off. When the child has difficulty performing routine tasks such as brushing teeth or eating, Whelchel exhorts her readers to further humiliate the child by making a home video of the spectacle (p. 206).

With all the crazy-making mind games which the author plays with her children it comes as no surprise that her children fight with each other a lot. They can't take out their frustrations on Mrs. Whelchel, of course, but they can certainly take them out on each other. However, the author has more ways of dealing with sibling conflict than just the boxing glove video camera approach. She recommends handcuffing quarreling children to each other (p. 203) or binding their legs together as if in preparation for a three-legged race (p. 209) or forcing them to yell "I love you" to each other 20 times, or commanding them to hug one another regardless of how they are actually feeling at that moment (p. 203). These sorts of techniques do nothing to resolve underlying conflicts or addess their causes. They are merely methods for driving conflict further underground where it becomes less noticable and hence less annoying for Lisa Whelchel.

In this book, Whelchel takes control-obsessed, punitive parenting to a whole new level. She warns her readers against allowing children any real autonomy at all:

"When we allow our children to determine the outcome of a situation, even subtly, it weakens their trust in us." (p. 22)

Eventually her children will grow up and will need to function as autonomous adults. When will they obtain practice determining the outcomes of their own life situations, as opposed to practice instantly obeying Mommy, no matter how bizarre and irrational her demands?

Whelchel advises readers to give their children ridiculous commands in public which they must instantly obey without asking any questions, while refusing them permission when they make requests which Whelchel herself admits are perfectly legitimate. She writes: "As we walk along together shopping, I will suddenly give them silly commands that they must obey without arguing, such as 'Walk backward,' or 'Stop and touch your toes,' or 'Give me a kiss.' Occasionally I'll throw in a real command, like 'Don't touch that,' or `No, you may not have an Icee.' My favorite curve, however, is to say no to some reasonable request, like 'May I go to the bathroom?'" (p. 138)

Whelchel's "favorite curve?!?" Her baseball metaphor evokes a 'curve ball,' thrown by the pitcher in an attempt to make the batter fail to hit the ball. This is an excellent technique if you wish the person to whom you threw your curve ball to 'strike out,' i.e. to fail, to lose. But why would any sane parent wish to throw repeated metaphorical curve balls at her own children, especially out of the blue, in public places, for no reason in particular?

The answer is quite simple. Whelchel wrote this book for parents who view their children as an opposing team to be defeated. Such parents will likely deem this book a fount of wisdom and may even rush to to write glowing reviews of it.

But childrearing does not require a series of contests, each concluding with a winner and a loser. It is possible, and preferable, to have a family in which everybody "wins."

For more on win/win approaches to child discipline, read "Parent Effectiveness Training" by Thomas Gordon. Leave Whelchel's book alone, except perhaps as a preface to the as-yet-unwritten "Mommy Dearest II" memoir which one or more of her grown children may eventually write once they have safely grown up and escaped her reach. Hopefully writing it will assist in their long, difficult journey of recovery from having been raised with the methods outlined in this book.

Chris Dugan, M.A.
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49 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2005
Lisa says it all when she writes that she and her husband do not use corporal punishment when they have guests or service people in their home, because as she writes on pages 184 and 185, these guests may think that it is their duty to inform the authorities.

This is a red flag for me. This indicates to me as a reader that she feels the need to be secretive about hitting her children.

I would love to be a fly on the wall and see what really goes on in this home. If this writer is advocating secrecy to her readers, she must have something to hide.

This book deserves no stars. Punishing a child for not flushing the toilet? Some people have no tolerance for imperfection. They should not have children. Life is messy. Deal with it. Don't take it out on your children, and write books telling the world how to deal with minor life issues that do not warrant any form of punishment. Pick your battles wisely.

As a mother of four children, I think that consistancy and fairness are key to discipline. This writer changes the rules as she goes along, just because she can. She is on a power trip. Even when the children are not doing anything wrong, she throws out commands to walk backward, or obey without question, or denial of bathroom use. Why? It is an abuse of power. It is like a game to her, and the children are the losers.

This book is not about effective discipline, it is about complete and utter control. I feel sorry for Lisa, internally I suspect a chaotic woman exists. Controlling the children will not solve her issues, and it will not help others. Don't waste your time on this book.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2007
I can not believe someone would spray water in a childs face. This has been used as torture. Putting hot sauce on a childs tongue and pulling hair. I think child protective services needs to be called. I very much question the state of mind of someone who does this to children. Oh, and then tries to make money off of it.
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59 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2006
I'm 47 and feel the sting in my heart when I see these methods are still being advocated and used to bring up children as I was: humiliation, control, confusion, mind games, disrespect. Yes, it crushed my spirit! It really screws you up when one or another of your parents is constantly ragging on everything you do as if their main pleasure in life is watching you be miserable, all in the name of correction and discipline. You doubt everything about yourself, is anything real? And then using the Lord as your justification...

I've managed to raise two lovely, upright, intelligent and productive daughters to adulthood by willingly breaking the cycle of emotional, physical, mental and spiritual abuse in my family that Welchel describes so vividly. You don't need Welchel's or anyone else's opinions; go straight to the source and read the Bible for yourself.
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59 of 78 people found the following review helpful
As a mom that's just getting into my daughter's toddlerhood, I am appalled that a book like this is getting the attention it is. The suggestions she makes for keeping your kids in line are not only mean they are abusive. The point of disipline is to teach your child right from wrong - not to humiliate them. All that will do is kill their spirit and make them insecure and unable to cope. Ms. Welchel comes across as sadistic in that she suggests getting out a video camera to record the fun results of one of her more severe punishments. It all kind of reminds me of EST that thing from the 70's where they would tear down your personality by not letting you have water or go to the bathroom. That group was outlawed and I think this book should be too.
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