Never preachy and always practical, Right from Wrong
is an important and inspiring book about raising children with a conscience. Educators Michael Riera and Joseph Di Prisco focus on integrity rather than morality in their provocative and persuasive thesis: "The most direct way for children to take lessons of integrity to heart is by being out of integrity," they explain.
Targeted for preschoolers through preteens, each chapter is organized around evocative vignettes about finding integrity. Among them: a kindergartner stealing a candy bar, the death of a family pet, a dustup on the soccer field, an 11-year-old who gives her phone number to a teenage boy at the movies. The authors imaginatively explore how parents can leverage kids' everyday experiences--homework, competition, tattling, awakening sexuality, or surfing the Internet--into teachable moments of integrity.
Overall, don't take your child's behavior personally, the book cautions. Avoid the trap of being so disappointed or panicked by children's behavior that you lose an opportunity for them to unpack conflicting emotions and learn to value integrity. Sound advice is underlined with sample parent-child dialogues, asking, for example, "What stopped you from listening to the part of you that knew the right thing to do?" This book is simply a gem--and a must-read for parents and teachers of young children alike. --Barbara Mackoff
From Publishers Weekly
Almost a sequel to the authors' Field Guide to the American Teenager, this book is aimed at helping parents instill a moral sense in children ages five to 12. The authors briefly introduce the concept of integrity, defining it as "the compass within each of us... only with integrity do our journeys achieve meaning." Each of the chapters begins with a specific case study and dialogue between parent and child illustrating a specific point from lying to dealing with illness to believing in Santa Claus to handling bullies. The authors show how the parents handle the particular situation and then offer some suggestions for how to deal with variations of the basic situation. While many parents, especially first-timers, will find the authors' tone reassuring and the advice somewhat helpful, the book is less penetrating than readers might have hoped. The authors don't offer enough suggestions for parents; instead, they're more concerned with explaining how the parents might feel rather than offering prescriptive advice on how parents should handle some difficult conversations. Parenting presents many challenges and there are few absolute right or wrong ways to handle situations, but given the stresses of today's working parent, a more hard-hitting approach would have made for a more useful book.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.