Top critical review
69 people found this helpful
Helpful, but anxiety-producing
on August 21, 2011
I did get some helpful tips from this book (especially Act, Don't Talk). However, I feel like it is not a good match for my personality. I tend to be the type of person who parents largely by instinct and reason, and I also feel like if your children know that they are loved and that you're there for them, things will turn out okay. If you are like me, then this may not be the book for you.
As a mother of a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old, I was looking for some help in curbing emerging sibling issues, and preventing some of the defiance my 5-year-old is starting to display. I recently read How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk, and I loved it but wanted more practical tips. I was hoping this book would consist of tips in the same vein as that book. While there are a lot of similarities, the overall positive and reassuring tone of How to Talk was MUCH more appealing to me. This book felt very preachy to me, and seemed to make all parenting issues black and white. If there's one thing about parenting that I'm fairly sure of, it's that there is no one right way to do anything, as all parents and all children are different. After reading this book, I felt very stressed that I will say the wrong thing (as a lot of it is apparently down to semantics). I felt that so much of the book is telling you that if you say this instead of that, your child will do fill-in-the-blank-horrible-thing. Basically, any little quirk or problem your child has or will have as an adult is a direct result of something you did or did not do, or something you said incorrectly. Maybe that's not what the author intended, but that's how it came across to me. I'm all for taking responsibility as a parent, but I don't care for scare tactics. I also didn't care for the inflexible directives on handling bedtime, nor did I appreciate the first sentence of the bedwetting section: "If your 4 or 5 year old is wetting the bed, it is cause for concern." Really? Not according to my pediatrician and other medical professionals. I don't need a book to give me more things to worry about; there are enough issues that come about naturally through parenting!
I will stick with How to Talk, and I also like the Pocket Parent for quick tips. I am giving this three stars because I did find some of it useful. I just can't get past the judgmental, almost dictatorial tone.