Parents and experts tend to be divided into two embittered camps: strong discipline and permissiveness. How about another choice? Now comes Smart Love: The Compassionate Alternative to Discipline That Will Make You a Better Parent and Your Child a Better Person
, a book exploring Martha Heineman Pieper and William J. Pieper's alternative approach to raising responsible, smart, loving children. The authors are longtime experts in child and family psychology. She's a psychotherapist who works with both children and adults, and he's a child psychologist and psychoanalyst. Together, they've raised five children while professionally researching the roots and keys to children's inner happiness. Their "Smart Love" approach to child rearing will provide a breath of relief for parents uncomfortable with formal methods of discipline, but deeply concerned with providing their kids with strong, safe limits.
Focusing in turn on babies, toddlers, young children, older children, adolescents, and kids with special circumstances (including adoption and learning disabilities), the Piepers argue effectively that "tough love" doesn't work, and that parents will get more cooperation if they focus on their child's inner happiness and "avoid unnecessary confrontations with children about behavior for which they will eventually assume responsibility." While this approach may initially feel radical to some, the Piepers' clear explanations and force of research and practice will win converts to their gentle, strong approach. The Piepers write, "Time-outs, restrictions, punishments, and other forms of discipline are based on the assumption that being too nice to children who are 'misbehaving' will encourage and reward bad behavior." Instead of discipline (or permissiveness), the authors recommend that parents parent by "loving regulation," an alternative approach to out-of-control behavior that stops the behavior immediately but doesn't deprive the child of parental warmth or admiration. Smart Love will help parents raise confident, resourceful, and compassionate children. --Ericka Lutz
From Publishers Weekly
Though the term "smart love" seems strangely incongruous, some parents may find the theory attractive, especially those who have been unsuccessful or uncomfortable with such popular parenting methods as using negative consequences, rewards or time-out periods. The Piepers (she is a psychotherapist, he is a psychiatrist) focus on the parent's understanding of the child's developmental stage and instruct the parent to react to the child's behavior in a manner that is "compassionate rather than coercive." Punishments and rewards are both unadvised. Though the smart love "guidelines" referred to throughout the text never crystallize in a complete list, the main premise involves preserving the child's "inner happiness" by using "loving regulation" (reacting to the child without making her or him feel unhappy or rejected). The Piepers disagree with such practices as letting a baby "cry it out" and claim that time-outs cause kids to feel angry and self-rejecting. Oddly, however, they suggest weaning the baby at 11 months, rather than letting the child take the lead. While many parents may find the Piepers' advice a bit too demanding of their attention and patience, others may happily grasp the advice to "go the extra mile" for their child. 50,000 print run; $75,000 ad/promo; 14-city author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.