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107 of 112 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2000
As John Rosemond makes clear, the secret to raising a healthy, happy two-year-old starts long before the child's second birthday. Fortunately, we found the common sense and heart-felt humor in his advice to be a sanity check for most of what we'd already thought was right. Anyone with questions will undoubtedly find much to help with the sometimes difficult and always rewarding responsibility of raising a small child.
In a book so full of useful information -- offered in a firm but loving tone -- it is difficult to identify the most significant piece. We bought the book for a complete description of Rosemond's potty-training method (try it; it works!), but there's much, much more there. "Making the Terrible Twos Terrific!" contains probably the best perspective ever written on the difficult transition that children go through from infancy to toddler-hood. Remember, Rosemond tells us, when your baby was born, he opened his eyes, looked at the world and thought, "Wow! Look what I did!" It's from this completely egocentric outlook that the toddler begins his transition into a social human being. Given that viewpoint, it is easy for parents to learn how to best manage and nurture this wonderful, magic time.
Read the book. Keep it for reference. Enjoy it. Then go and enjoy your little person-to-be.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 28, 2001
This is a great book. Even if you don't 'buy into' everything John Rosemond says, this book is full of great information.
He begins by talking about the nature of two year olds, where they are developmentally, how they think, etc. Then he takes that and begins to help you solve problems based on how a two year old thinks and acts.
I refer to this book when a new problem comes up or when I'm not able to correct a behavior. Invariably I find straight forward advice. The advice is up front and to the point with the information needed to back up why this should work. (And for me, it usually does work).
This is the type of book you want to read when you have an 18 month old baby and again when your child turns two and again at about 2 1/2 to refresh your memory. It's that useful.
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54 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2003
Before I had children of my own, I babysat for at least 15 different families over the course of 15 years. I saw firsthand the kind of parenting that worked and the kind of parenting that did not work. Quite frankly, by the time I was 18 years old, I had enough sense to realize that the best behaved children were the ones with the parents who provided effective discipline. It was maddening to be told to put a child to bed by 8:00, only to have that child have a meltdown before bedtime and top it off..have the parents come home and allow the child to stay up anyway! I saw both major brats who were allowed to run the household and secure, wonderfully behaved children whose parents looked like they were enjoying being parents! For some reason, when my son was born 3 years ago, I allowed myself to read much of the parenting psychobabble books in the stores today. I also listened to my sister in law, who was practicing attachment parenting with her own 2 year old son. Thinking I was going to harm my child if I parented with my own instincts, I practiced the family bed, breastfed on demand (and by the way, I DO advocate breastfeeding) and basically allowed my home to become child-centered--all to the detriment of my own sanity, sleep and most importantly, my marriage. My husband tried to play along but after 21 months of sleepless nights and never spending any alone time with my hubby, I decided to read this book. All I needed was validation that my own experiences and instincts were correct. This book made me realize that and more! It also made me appreciate my own mother and grandmother who sat back for 21 months and allowed me to make my own mistakes but who after I admitted to them that I was wrong, told me to use my good old' noggin' from now on----just like they did. I cannot tell you how happy I am! My son is so happy, so sweet and so well-behaved--and I didn't discipline with an iron fist, like some of the other reviewers would have you believe Rosemond advocates. All I did was set up a secure routine for my son and let him know that Mommy and Daddy were the bosses of the household--not him. The best complements we've received are from babysitters (because now we go out) who tell me that my son is well-behaved, sweet and fun-loving. Also, I cannot tell you how liberating it is to plan nights with my husband after my son is in bed---something we could never do before, as he had no bedtime. Another point of validation is my sister in law's son. He is overtired, cranky and a very misbehaved 5 year old. The school just told them that he is uncontrollable and has no impulse control. Now...maybe attachment parenting works better for children who are more docile or less stubborn, but for my active son, loving structure saved the day!!!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2003
I just finished this book and thought it had many positive insights. A friend gave it to me and I was a bit turned off by the fact it was an 'older' book. But to my surprise it offers a lot of common sense approaches to problems. Just like all parenting books, I take what I think will work for me and use it and massage any other techniques that I think need massaging. I read some of the negative reviews on this book and I can't believe some said he advocates spanking! He actually writes that he is AGAINST spanking in almost all circumstances. He also does not advocate letting your baby cry all night in bed - to the contrary! He suggests that you go in every five minutes to hug and kiss your child to reassure the little one. What is cruel about that? We are talking toddlers here, not infants. I still can't understand how others read the exact opposite of what I read.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 1999
I've been through the "twos" three times and using these techniques has made them very pleasant! I agree with Rosemond that if you start off on the right foot you'll stay there. Powerful ideas. A word of caution - Rosemond can be a bit on the harsh side so weed out those things you don't agree with. Another great book to read: Perfect Parenting - The Dictionary of 1000 Parent Tips by Elizabeth Pantley
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2008
John Rosemond knows first-hand that the terrible twos can be a traumatic and disruptive period in the life of the family. He has also learned that it doesn't have to be this way. The application of a few basic principles can transform the experience of toddler-rearing from one of chaos and frustration to one of confidence and progress. The transition the two-year-old must undergo and his resistance to it show why this can be such a difficult time. He has been the center of the universe for the first eighteen months of his life, and properly so, but now his parents have to lead him away from that egocentrism to an understanding that the parents are now at the center. They have to make him believe in them; by conveying unconditional love and personal strength they have to, in effect, become his heroes.

This can be achieved when parents become what Rosemond calls "benevolent dictators." To describe this concept in summary and without clarification almost certainly runs the risk of misrepresenting the idea as one of authoritarian parents. All I can say here is that we have to keep separate the idea of authoritarian parents from that of authoritative parents. The two are not at all the same. The former, from a posture of insecurity, "demand" the attention of a child, while the latter project self-confidence and "command" the child's attention. Authoritative parents certainly listen to the opinions of their little ones, but they do not try to reason with them or convince them, as that is a lost cause when two year olds are involved. As such, the child is free to disagree but not free to disobey. Rosemond would have three understandings communicated from parent to child. First, "I am the center of attention in your life, but you are no longer the center of attention in mine." Second, "You will do what I, your parent, tell you to do." And third, "You will do what I tell you, bottom line, because I say so." These can sound so heavy handed until we realize that school teachers, if they are good ones, communicate these same understandings to their students.

The chapter on "creative discipline" I found particularly interesting. According to Rosemond, "one of the most unfortunate and prevailing attitudes toward disciplining children is the emphasis placed on punishment" (p.83). He is convinced that the key to effective discipline is not punishment, which is reactive, but management, which is proactive. (There is a time and a place for punishment but it is not to be the primary disciplinary approach). This means that the most effective time for dealing with misbehaviour is before it occurs. You have accepted that a certain problem is likely to occur in a certain situation, so you plan ahead how you are going to deal with it, and communicate that to the child. Then when the problem occurs, you are not flustered or thrown off balance. Instead, you know exactly what you are going to do and you do it, and that confidence and control in itself communicates a valuable lesson to the child.

A good example he gives is of the child who throws tantrums in the store whenever a parent takes him shopping. A proactive approach would have the parent communicate clearly to the child exactly what will happen if he misbehaves in that manner - they will leave the store, go home, and then, say, the child has to stay inside the rest of the day - and then follow through when it happens. No second chances, no negotiations, the parent takes the child home and follows through on the planned consequences, and over the next few weeks a dramatic change should happen in the child's in-store behavior. It is unavoidable that in the short term there will be wasted shopping trips, but in order to minimize their number, he recommends a few "dry runs" when nothing is really needed from the store.

Trying to discipline a two year old can very easily degenerate into power struggles that fluster and frustrate the parent more than the toddler. One key to preventing this is by ensuring that when the child misbehaves, it's the child, not the parent, who feels bad. The parents make the rules and enforce them "dispassionately, without any great to-do." Patience and some ingenuity are needed by the parent, as two year olds are very persistent little people and can hold out a long time. So if, for example, a child refuses to pick up his toys, it's useless to tell him he won't be able to go outside later because he has no concept of "later." He only knows about "now." The parent would be better off to just shrug, walk away, and wait for a strategic moment. This moment will arrive when the child wants to go outside and is told that he can go outside only after he has picked up his toys. He may pitch a fit but inevitably will give in and pick them up. This is a "nonpunitive way of asserting your authority that is emotionally cost-effective and keeps you out of power struggles."

Rosemond also discusses bedtime problems, potty training, and day care issues in this very helpful, easy to read book that sheds much light on an important precedent-setting stage. It need not be terrible if, equipped with knowledge, understanding, and patience, we parents lovingly and confidently take charge and do our best to lead the way.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2003
I picked this book up when my first child was about two years old. It really did wonders just for my sanity. It taught me not only how to discipline my child but how to be patient and understanding of why the child behaves the way he does. The book helps one to realize that it's normal for a child to test his boundaries, and it helps you learn how to respond. Coming from an extremely lenient upbringing, I decided that that way of parenting was not effective and actually detrimental to a childs development and future. I wanted to learn a different way. Using this book, I have developed an effective yet loving way of discipling and raising my children. I get compliments on their behavior quite often, but yet I allow them to just "be kids" at the appropriate times as well. I also learned what are reasonable expectations for a toddler. The book suggests a balanced approach to discipline where the parents is understanding yet consistent and firm. The writer does not advise one to spank, he simply states that one only use spanking "as a final resort." In fact, he says that "the key to effective discipline is not punishment, but management." He says "spankings are not an effective consequence and should not be used as such." In this book, he is not recommending that people spank their children. He does acknowledge that some parents use this technique and he sets up guidelines for it so that it does not become beating, but he stresses much more positive and proactive ways of discipline. In this book the
author suggests that a parent make time to play, talk and read with their child, but he also suggests that a parent needs to have time to do his/her thing too. If you are looking for a promotion for the family bed and attatchment parenting, this book is not for you. If you are looking for a no-nonsense way to raise your children, with the parents being the head of the house and not the other way around, then this book is for you.
The quotes in this summary are from Making the Terrible Two's Terrific by John Rosemond.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2003
Simply put...this book has advice that WORKS. I can't say enough about it. I've read tons of books on this subject, all of which were missing the key ingredient: STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS!!! Finally, a book that tells you HOW! THANK YOU!
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2001
I have used John Rosemond's methods to raise four children. "Making the Terrible Twos Terrific" was the first Rosemond book I read. It began me on a journey of sensible "like I was raised" parenting. John recommends a healthy midpoint between permissiveness and authoritarianism and he gives humorous advice on how to achieve that. My kids are polite, well-behaved and happy. I tell them to do something one time, and they do it. That is success!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2000
When my child entered the "terrible twos" at 18 months I was caught off guard. I began to appease her and she quickly established control. This book helped me gain control by detailing how to set and maintain limits. I am now calm and consistent with discipline. I realize that I am not being mean when I do not give her chance after chance after chance. The book has helped me understand her behavior, be proactive, and establish clear and consistent boundries. I now welcome her "testing" and know how to react.
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