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Parents Under Siege: Why You Are the Solution, Not the Problem in Your Child's Life Paperback – September 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Whether it's shocking TV coverage of a violent teen's lethal rampage or an encounter with a screaming toddler at the supermarket, most onlookers naturally wonder, "What kind of parents raised this kid?" Parents Under Siege politely volleys that question right back over the net with a community-wide call for compassion and accountability. In bold defense of the accused, child psychologist James Garbarino and child advocate Claire Bedard declare that parents are responsible--but not to blame--for the actions and behaviors of their offspring. They demonstrate that the road to empowered parenting begins with a critical look at each child's temperament and surrounding social environment. Garbarino and Bedard equip readers for this important task with a "conceptual toolbox": 10 fundamental strategies to analyze, jimmy, prop, or repair an array of developmental leaks, squeaks, sags, and clogs. With clear, real-life examples, they demonstrate each tool's role in bolstering the parent's abilities to understand deeply, cultivate mindfulness, and adjust their own behaviors as needed. This compassionate work--grounded in a strong religious foundation--blends research studies, parental testimony, and insights from spiritual leaders including the Dalai Lama. It stands out as a practical and empathic guide to parenting responsibly. --Liane Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Stories about violence perpetrated by children and adolescents make the front pages with disturbing regularity. What is less well known is that 10 percent of young people who commit homicides come from sound homes with functioning families. Garbarino and Bedard (coauthors, Lost Boys) probe the so-called "impossible" children those who go awry despite loving, supportive parents ranging from those who make daily life difficult to those who tragically commit murder. The authors combine research and interviews (including interviews with the parents of Dylan Klebold, the Columbine school shooter perhaps the most famous and tragic example of a "difficult" child from a stable home) with statistical analysis to present a startling picture of the changing culture of parenting in America. They offer the consolation that parents are not to blame when things go wrong, and provide some advice on how to intervene early enough to make a difference. Reaching no easy answers, the authors show how the interplay of personal temperament, family involvement and social pressures can create a recipe for children to become unhinged, secretive, disengaged and possibly violent. Though repetitive, dense and hard to follow at points, this book offers a sound theoretical starting point for parents grappling with a difficult child. It also lists many helpful resources, Web sites and groups, along with suggested further reading.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743223837
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743223836
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,513,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The authors also wrote the acclaimed book, The Lost Boys. That book came out the day that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold created the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Later meeting with Dylan�s family after Mr. and Mrs. Klebold contacted them, the authors became convinced that Dylan had had good parents. ...
�Anything can happen� is the candid warning of this book. ...
In the 10 percent of the cases where abuse and neglect are not involved in youth crime, the root causes are found in fragile kids (who are susceptible to negative influences), excess reliance on secret lives not perceived by parents and friends, and a peer who has taken the same path (youth violence almost always occurs in at least pairs). Certainly, part of the problem is the �toxic culture� that encourages youth violence.
The book provides a toolkit of 10 things to employ with your children.
(1) �You can never do just one thing� to make the situation better.
(2) �See the world through their eyes.�
(3) �Spiritual parenting� helps.
(4) Evaluate the cumulative risk your children are subject to.
(5) Understand that resilience varies by child.
(6) Create a map of your child�s perceptions of the world.
(7) Detect and measure how much social poisons are influencing your child�s perception of the future.
(8) Provide a social compass of character.
(9) Provide social support.
(10) Learn from other cultures. The book has a marvelous example of how Buddhists carefully extracted earthworms before building a new structure so that they would not be harmed.
Perhaps the most brilliant part of the book is the section on how to deal with an �impossible� child.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Karl on April 6, 2005
Format: Paperback

I was STUNNED by how badly written this book was. ESPECIALLY as one of the authors is supposedly a department chairman at Cornell University! The same unimportant items are repeated over and over and over throughout this short (large type, few words on page) book. Paragraphs or sections start out describing something, get a third or halfway through the thought, then stop abruptly with the authors apparently forgetting to include the needed information to finish the paragraph or section.

The Columbine school shootings are mentioned repeatedly, for no particularly useful reason that I can see, other than to "cash in" on the incident. A single mention of this incident would have been far more than enough to make the few points they wanted to make about it.

A totally useless 8 page or so section, goes on to describe special needs of RICH(!) parents to deal with their children! Special care was taken to describe how wonderful the rich were who could save wealth (I would imagine that this is how the authors view themselves. WHAT was this doing in this book in the first place???). No such special section on child advice was included for either middle class, or poor parents. I found this section to be particularly insulting to just about everyone.

The authors in several places in the book say directly or indirectly how wonderful they are, or how wonderful their book is. This was galling and completely unneccessary.

While touting the book as offering detailed advice on child rearing, this is in essence an outright lie. The little advice they offer is so vague as to be virtually useless.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kimberley Clayton Blaine, MA, MFT on November 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My biggest question is why is this book not a best seller? If there is any information out there that parents need most, this is it. Garbarino and Bedard are amazing and eloquent writers, considering how tough it is to write indepth and researched data, they sure did a lovely job. I was highly impressed by reading the preface. Powerful, meaningful and jolt to the soul. As a mother of two boys and as a licensed child therapist, I hold this book out to be one of the best educational pieces with regards to how we save and support the positive social climate that all children deserve.

Kimberley Clayton Blaine, MA, MFT
Licensed Child Therapist
Author: Mommy Confidence: 8 Easy Steps to Reclaiming Balance, Motivation, and Your Inner Diva
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24 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Helen Smith on September 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
James Garbarino is one of the leading experts in this area, and he has written a book that is in many ways very useful. Unfortunately, his embrace of politically correct formulas limits both the usefulness and the appeal of this book.
For example, Garbarino suggests that parents show their "strength" by getting their children involved in lobbying efforts on behalf of gun control. This recommendation is unlikely to go over well with the more-than-half of all American households who own guns, and don't appreciate Garbarino's labelling them as aberrant. Many Americans are also unlikely to feel that abandoning the means of protecting their families constitutes a persuasive demonstration of "strength." Garbarino's position on guns flies in the face of a great deal of research, by scholars such as John Lott of Yale and Gary Kleck of Florida State, but he does not even attempt to engage that research, much less refute it.
Similarly, Garbarino apears to have taken Warren Farrell's sardonic advice to authors (pander to women at all costs) thoroughly to heart. He repeatedly gives mothers all possible benefit of the doubt, while coming down hard on fathers. Garbarino also fails to pay sufficient attention to the role that public schools' pathologies play in causing problems among children.
Having said that, this is a useful book with many important insights. What is unfortunate is that Garbarino's embrace of PC culture-war slogans will alienate many people who might benefit from other parts of his work.
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