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on November 9, 2008
I am a single mother of 3 kids and the owner of my own business. My life used to be filled with stress and chaos. The tools in this book helped me become the mother I always desired to be. I have not arrived, but for the first time I have the tools that are working for my family. My children and I now have a loving and peaceful home filled with hope, rather than a home filled with destructive behavior and destructive communication. Prior to reading this book my life was an absolute mess, this book has completely changed my life and the destiny of my children's lives.
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on March 14, 2009
I thought I had a great relationship with my daughter so I wasn't in a hurry to dive into all things Danny Silk - until I heard him speak at my church. He rewired my thinking. I slowly began to collect his teaching (you can download his Mp3 teachings). I work with teens in crisis and I see bad parenting all the time, but after reading this series I have a much better understanding. Let me sum up Danny's book like this...

We're afraid our kids will make the wrong choice so we either limit their choices to the right one and the other right one or we manipulate them into making the right decision. Then when something bad happens we step in the way of the consequence and figure out the solution for them and tell them what they're going to do with the mess they created. Danny's method let's them learn how to think... AMAZING! They get to make the choice and then we don't stand in the way of the consequences. They have to figure out solutions to their own messes. It empowers our kids. They have confidence in their decisions because they can mess up in a SAFE environment. How often do Christian families raise "GOOD" kids and then when they go off to college, they suddenly turn "BAD"... it's because the parents never taught their child how to think for themselves and come up with solutions to their problems that make them learn what the best choice is so the next time that same situation arises, they know how to avoid that consequence - DO WHAT'S RIGHT!

If you want to learn how to raise a competent adult, Danny has tools that are so easy to implement. This works for any age child. You can also implement these strategies with employees and students if you teach.
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on July 19, 2012
I'm a Christian Mother who uses mindful, respectful, non punishment parenting with my children. Typically I have not found that type of parenting supported in parenting books from a Christian perspective. So when I saw this recommended by a fellow Christian unschooling Mom I thought it was worth a read.

This book started out wonderfully giving great detail and scripture to back up why the bible does not teach us to demean and control or children. So many great points were covered about how Jesus loves us, how we are to be examples and show that wonderful love to our children.
So bravo to Pastor Silk for saying such wonderful things in support of respectful parenting! If only he had used parenting examples to back up this kind of loving, gentle, respectful parenting.

Where this book fell flat for me was in the parenting examples supplied. It seemed to me as though the how to portion of this book was in direct opposition from the earlier chapters of the book. Almost as if it was written by two different authors from very different view points. He quotes a lot from Love and Logic, which maybe is why it seemed as if the advice was coming from a different source that earlier chapters.
One example was the Fun or Room option given to his toddler. This seemed to me to be forcing a child who is in need of parental understanding and loving guidance to essentially go away because they are not being fun.
He used the similar Fun or room with a toddler who was having trouble with a cup stuck in the top rack of the dishwasher and began to have a meltdown do to the struggle.
It seemed as if a child was not being guided with understanding their feelings but being essentially taught to deny them if they wanted to stick around with the rest of the family.

It seemed to me that the parenting he actually uses is all about controlling the child through various types of manipulations. Be that controlling them through giving choices (choices that only the parent thinks are great options). By forcing bedtime by having them do chores until they are tired. Forcing a child to have a clean room by either doing it themselves or the parent coming in and doing it requiring a payment for this service. Even going so far as to tell the child his or her things will be sold to cover the cost. He goes on to talk about how things like making lunch or dinner or doing laundry can be paid for services. And relates being a parent to being an IRS agent who enforces consequences. Yet these consequences were parent contrived not natural consequences which is what we experience in real life. There was an example of his daughter in fourth grade who the Mom announces she's no longer making lunch for, and the stuff is in there to make your own lunch. And when the daughter forgets her lunch the Mom refuses to bring it up to her at school, saying things like, how are you going to solve this problem. The same type of scene plays out with a child who forgets a back pack with a hamster in it on the bus and the attitude of the parent is, it's your problem, how are you going to solve it. I believe this child in this situation was 8. There is another example about two brothers fighting and the parents sit on the couch and just let it play out with no involvement of protecting either child from harm, and no action to find out what made this evolve to a fight, what happened earlier what caused the fight? He also talks about spanking "the spirit that is rebellion" out of a child. This portion on spanking after having read about not using anger or violence seemed so at odds with the beginning chapters in this book.

So I am torn on if I would recommend this book to another parent. I couldn't see using any of his methods with my children. We use a no lose conflict resolution which is where we all come up with ideas and solutions when there is a problem, similar to how things are in a healthy marriage, where the couple comes up with solutions which are agreeable to both parties and there are no losers. If after time the solution doesn't work, we meet again and come up with more options. We also use active listening with our kids. We don't send them away because their behavior is not fun.

In closing, on the one hand if you are coming from a traditional Christian parenting mindset, then yes I think this book would be specifically helpful because of the really wonderful beginning chapters. But if you want to put the parenting into practice that he talks about in the earlier chapters I think you'd be best served to find that, how to, in another book. My recommendations would be books like Dr. Thomas Gordon's - Parent Effectiveness Training, or Alfie Kohn's - Unconditional Parenting, and lastly, from a Christian perspective is Parenting Wild things by Jessica Bowman.
Editing to add in book suggestions 2/15: Author LR Knost has a fantasic series, all from a Christian perspective. These had not yet been written at the time of my review.
Also though not from a Christian Perspective, per say, yet still wonderful:
Connection Parenting, by Pam Leo
Winning Parent, Winning Child by Jan Fortune

Any parenting book that encourages manipulation and spanking I just can't in good conscious recommend. And unfortunately those are most of the books out there, which is very sad to see.
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on December 26, 2011
So, I grew up in a traditional Christian home. Both my parents believers and a pretty good thrid child. But my parents main use of disciplin was used to control us, not empower us. Both my older siblings rebelled in their own ways. The eldest was the worst, completely turning his back on God and believing Him to be a dictatorial, controlling Person like our Dad. My sister, the middle child, turned from Him in passivity, having no example of a relational or emotional God, she couldn't relate. She so relational herself that she just couldn't get why she was to love this hard Person- or even really see Him as anything but some guy in the sky who created this crazy world we live in.. I'm pretty sure if I hadn't seen their examples and sworn not to break my parents hearts like them I would have more easily turned away as well. I knew Holy Spirit as ansmall child in a house that didn't even mention Him except when talking about 3in1. As it was I continued to search as an adult for the kind of church/God that I knew in my heart.

Since reading this book I am completely convinced that if my parents knew this information/saw God for who He really is, that my siblings would never have turned from Him. In fact, as I have shared this book with them, they have been launched into a personal journey of discovering that they didn't know what they thought they knew about God. It's been a beautiful experience.

Danny outlines not only how a parent can influence a child, but deeper veins of how God actually responds to us. He is not a God of disciplin and control- but one of Love, Patience, kindness, goodness, etc etc. When he 'disciplines' us it is to keep us from something far worse.

At the same time, Danny in way no negates the use of disciplin for children (or even, dare I say, spanking?), but puts it into proper context as A tool- not the ONLY tool in ones tools chest. When a child is flipping out or what not there are a whole host of reasons why. When we understand our children's hearts (and that none of them are alike and should not be treated so), then we can use the proper tool to reach that child's heart and teach them how to control themselves and be fun relational people.

Our house ran similar to a prison, with mom and dad being the guards. I'm not saying they didn't love us- but we had orders barked at us, which made duty the highest form 'love'. Nothing unconditional about that. Danny shows what unconditional love looks like as a parent, with hilarious stories from his own parenting life. I'm excited to see it transforming the next generation of our family.

This book is an excellent read for anyone looking for a new or better way of parenting. If you rebelled against your parents and haven't gained new tools to parent with... You can't possibly be surprised when you begin to remind yourself of mom or dad... So, do yourself a favor- get this book and get some new tools. This will change generations to come!!!

Thanks Danny! Exceptional work!!!
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on May 5, 2015
I've really struggled with this book because I wanted to like it so much!!!! It has kept me up at night thinking about it and I constantly think about it during the day trying to figure out where do I go from here. I received great insight from this book and I truly enjoyed it. It made a lot of sense to me because I strongly believe the only thing we can control in this world is ourself and I do struggle with that!!!! This book could be very helpful to a parent of a child who is a little bit older. I am struggling right now with my strong willed two year old and unfortunately trying to give him choices and so forth is still leaving me with temper tantrums and breakdowns. I have calmed down a lot in dealing with them, but they have not improved (or I have not been able to figure out how to improve them using his methods) I like his insights and I look forward to using them in the future with my children but I feel like where I am right now I may need a little something more. My two year old doesn't even clearly understand me sometimes when I do give him the choices. This book made me feel guilty because I have spanked my kids but in all honesty some of my childrens spankings have turned them around to have a much better day afterwards (but now I just feel guilty about it)

And I am confused because I took in a lot that shows our kids responsibility and so forth and I agree with all of it, but then what about "Children Obey your parents in the Lord for this right?" If we let them make every single decision on their on (because we can only control ourselves and they control themselves) then where do we follow that scripture.

Honestly it was a good book....I read it through, highlighted the entire time I read it...and I know I will go back and read over the highlighted stuff in the years to come. I think in every book you read you won't fully agree whole heartedly....you take what works for you and move on from there. But I guess just be sitting back thinking about it constantly is driving me nuts!!! I, just like most people, want to be the best parent I can be for my children...so its a struggle trying to figure out whats gonna work for us!!
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on August 25, 2009
I didn't choose this book. It was sent to us by a friend of my mother-in-law, so my wife and I approached it with some trepidation. Our children are not 'normal': One (6yo) has high functioning Autism and the other (3yo) has PDD-NOS. Neither of them self calm; that wiring is missing. So mostly when they lose it, they go until they run down and become irrationally Oppositional/Defiant during their extended and violent tantrums. (The tantrums are purposeful however; they don't just throw themselves to the ground and flop around like fish. They find something heavy to throw, or find someone to hit, not always the person who offended them. It is rage, but rage with intelligence fueling it. And it is as frightening to watch and manage as it is to imagine.)

So understand what I mean when I say that this book has 'limited application' for children with developmental disorders that affect their Amygdala. (The part of the brain that governs 'fight-or-flight' and is hyperactive in children with these kinds of developmental disorders.) If you child can't remain rational long enough to weigh simple choices between outcomes of their behavior, this book won't do your kid any good. And fundamentally, the book isn't about training your kids. Its about training you, the parent, to act in ways that are beneficial for your child in the long term, not reacting as we would do naturally in the moment.

This may seem awfully 'touchy-feely.' It isn't. The concept is hardheaded and practical and revolutionary for Christian Parenting books, most of which toe the line of Respect for Parent, elder or authority, and What-You-Get-If-You-Don't. Instead of a strap across the seat, Silk's book is predicated on a crazy idea: Freedom.

Freedom...to what? Of What? Obviously, for a child, freedom cannot be absolute. It is 'freedom within their ability to manage it.' But the idea is essentially 'Rational Anarchy.' That is, the individual is free to make their choices. The choice is theirs and no others, and the consequences (all of them) are theirs, too.

The author's assertion is that the human mind, even in immature form, is essentially an engine for computing consequences. Trial and Error. Action and Reaction. If what you want for your child is 'Freedom' (That is, a person who fully owns and accepts responsible for *every one* of his or her actions and doesn't expect anyone else to come riding to the rescue to fix their foul-ups) then this book is absolutely for you. If what you want is a compliant little door mat who knows how to say 'yessir' and does what he's told (and will still be blindly 'doing what he's told' long after he leaves home and is still geeking for what ever bully is pushing him around long after you're in your grave) then DEFINITELY, this book isn't for you.

Silk gives some priceless examples of not giving in to emotional manipulation, offering constant, constant, constant choices and allowing consequences to be either the pearl of great price (for good choices) or the harsh taskmaster (for poor choices.) You, the parent, may be the engine of the consequences ("You may stop making that noise, or you may go sit in time out. Your choice. Take your time.") And always be ready to help, but not to step in to solve a problem FOR your child.

Silk's best illustration of offering choices involve an anecdote where his son has unwisely (and without parental permission) taken his hamster to school in his back pack....and then left the backpack on the bus on the way home. And its Friday evening.

Silk re-tells the conversation, and it makes for laugh out loud reading. At the end of it, the hamster is recovered. But every decision about how to solve the problem between informing his father and the recovery of his pet is forced on to the boy by his father, who is content to be used as a sounding board for any ideas the child has about how to recover his pet, but isn't riding in to fix the blunder FOR his son. It is both sobering reading, and a brilliant example of judo parenting.

If I were to offer a single illustration, that sums up the Rational Anarchy concept, it is this:

"Boys! If you want to fight where you are going to draw blood, you'd better do it away from Mom's new couch. And to make sure no bones are broken, you have to have a referee. It so happens that I'm available. I charge $10 a-piece. DING! Go to it."

The boys looked at him like he was crazy and just walked away from each other, and Dad. Priceless.

Not that every parenting event can be so glibly met. I kept waiting for something that applied to my household, where a lost temper usually means considerable property damage (my son will respond to a reprimand by striking the screen on the TV. When he was three and that TV was glass, it hurt him more than it did the TV. Now that it is an HDTV with a fragile surface...let's say that a $1500 HDTV is an awfully high price to pay every time someone has a tantrum.)

I digress. Silk's book doesn't make any serious attempt to tackle parenting an emotionally or cognitively disturbed child. So it's use is limited for me. But Silk's purpose is great, to wit: A parent's job is to so thoroughly equip a child to be free and independent through full awareness and acceptance of responsibilities and their consequences that the child stops needing the parent and becomes wholly self-directed and self-reliant. I would assert that a parent who does NOT want that for their child is actively working to create yet another juvenile delinquent, no matter how helpful mummy or daddy want to be in the moment.

Silk's advice to me, the parent, doesn't fall on deaf ears. I've adapted some of his ideas, so I tend to stop out of control behavior first, and then offer choices. Instead of the event being over in 5 minutes with my son crying and holding his seat, usually it is over in 2 hours and he is crying in his bedroom and not holding anything. And I am numb and exhausted from having held my temper below the boiling point by sheer willpower for 120 minutes. In my house, I'm not sure which is the long term strategy that will work. But unless you have violent and developmentally delayed children in your house, Danny Silk's book is a great place to start 'Training Up a Child In the Way He Should Go...'
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on August 10, 2015
My husband and I bought his book for use in a small group discussion with other parents. We like most of the Love and Logic principles presented by the author, but we have major concerns about the book.

First, the book spends so much time referring to Love and Logic that we wish we had simply gone to the source and studied that book instead. We feel like we are reading a paraphrase of that book, filtered through the author's personal experiences and examples.

Second, while the principles of this book are sound, the examples are sometimes bizarre. For example, one of the principles is that family members (particularly children) should have pleasant attitudes when they are around other people. I certainly agree with that. However, the author describes this as being "fun." When children have bad attitudes, they are given the choice between "fun" or "room." I can't stand the use of the word "fun" to describe this principle. It seems to communicate to children that they can't be their authentic selves around their family. They can't show genuine sadness, concern, or frustration. Instead, the word "fun" has the connotation that they must be happy, or even the life of the party. They must constantly be fun to be around. I do not want to live in a family with those values, and I don't want to place that expectation on my children.

In addition, some of the examples seem to be set up to trick children. In one example, a child is supposed to clean his room. When he doesn't want to, the parent offers the "choice" that the child may clean his room or pay the parent $50 to do it. First of all, the book is obsessed with offering authentic choices, but there is nothing authentic about this choice. As the parent, I don't want to do all of my children's chores but charge them money for it. I don't have time for that. Also, $50 is an outrageous price to clean a bedroom. As the example continues, the child decides not to clean the room, but also does not want to pay the $50. So the parent cleans the room. Then, AFTER the cleaning, the parent informs the child that they will be selling his XBox to meet the $50 payment. No warning at all about selling a valuable personal belonging. There are many examples like this where the parent lulls the child into thinking that a poor choice is "no problem" (meaning no problem for the PARENT), but then gives an extremely harsh consequence after the choice has been made.
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on October 16, 2014
If I had written this review while reading the first part of this book, it would have received 5 stars hands-down. We are a Christian attachment parenting/peaceful parenting home, and there are only a handful of good resources for that market. Unfortunately, this is not one of them.

Danny Silk is a master at metaphorically and scripturally proving why punishment does only harm, connection is what your kids need, why you can't control another human being and it only fosters rebellion to do so, why our role is to guide not control, etc. I already believed these things before reading the book, but those parts took my understanding to a whole other level. Then after all that, he goes on to talk about how spanking is "empowering your child to rid themselves of the spirit of rebellion"???? I have NO words for this. It came out of left field, and I am extremely disappointed that, after essentially proving why spanking and punishment are not effective, grace-based discipline methods, he then says hitting your child "empowers" them?

If you are a Christian who is committed to peaceful parenting and loving your child as Christ would, I cannot recommend this book. I give it 2 stars only because the first part was so fantastic. But he lost me at spanking. I will never hit my child to show them I love them. That is faulty logic and a complete disregard and misinterpretation of what the Bible teaches.

I recommend reading any of L.R. Knost's books. She is a wonderful advocate for the Christian peaceful parent. I have also heard that Clay Clarkson's book, Heartfelt Discipline, sticks with true peaceful parenting for Christians, but I don't know enough about that particular book to say one way or the other.

If you don't mind a secular book, read Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids, by Dr. Laura Markham. It is EXCELLENT and will help so much to understand how to apply these principles in real life.
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on July 31, 2013
I have worked with many different children of many different ages in an atmosphere where redirection is the only game changer allowed for bad behavior. So applying the principles in this book really helped in diminishing the intensity involved in future moments where stressful peaks were inevitable. By nature the children and tweens were all looking for my limits to know the stability of their world.
This tool is the sanity maintainer, especially in an institutional setting and also working with children who are displaying issues that are challenging for themselves and for those around them.
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on April 2, 2014
I have to give this book 1 star. There are a few good things. You should show your child unconditional love, give them opportunities to make choices and avoid power struggles by using phrases such as "I know", "probably so", and " could be". However, most of these strategies can be found by the love and logic books and website.
Please don't read this as seeing me as angry but in a genteel rational person.
Negatives: spiritualizibg secular strategies and giving children equal playing field with adults. I believe all scripture is God breathed and inspired by God. I believe the Old Testament is relevant and useful for teaching and training. I also believe that God made my husband and myself the authority over the lives of our children. Maybe the author did not intend for these things to come across in that way. Either I don't agree or I did not understand what the author was saying about the old covenant. Also, either I didn't agree or maybe I didn't understand what was meant by big and little truck. I think it's okay to ask for first time obediance and for my child to do something because I ask him or her too. Life will not always give you choices. Sometimes you just have to do something even if you don't want to.
I feel there was not enough info on working with preschoolers. Sometimes "room time" as the author suggests is not an option such as when we are getting ready to go. Also, I need to make choices for my child at times. Developmentally the problem solving part of the brain in not fully developed until we reach our mid 20's. I agree give them lots of choices and teach them to solve problems. I have a strong willed child and I did my best to give him choices all day long as suggested. However, I was left feeling frustrated and going to choice " C" ( discipline ) almost every time. I'm reading "shepherding a child's heart" and the "strong willed child" and hope these two books will help fill in the gaps. Blessings and I did my best not to be hurtful in my review or too harsh. Please if you read the book make up your own mind about it. Just because something doesn't work for my family doesn't mean it won't work for yours.
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