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131 of 137 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2001
For a long time I thought that I must be doing something wrong in my parenting style to make my child so disobedient and mean. This book helped me realize that I was right. My style of parenting worked wonderfully for my older son, but trying those same harsh, disciplinary actions with my three year old, strong-willed son, have been disasterous. This book did a fantastic job of helping me realize that my child is unique and my ways of dealing with him must adjust to fit his needs. Especially helpful was the chapter on "the line between right and wrong". I could not see, until reading this book, that it is not a sin to be strong-willed, or determined, or even stubborn. God has created us each in a specific way with certain desires for us to searve him individually. God made my strong-willed child that way for a purpose. My job in parenting is to help my son find that purpose through love and understanding. This book was wonderful, and I would recommend it to anyone who needs good Christian advice on raising a strong-willed child. The elderly ladies at my church, one in particular, often comment on how they can see the evil in my son's eyes. I find this incredibly sad, for where they see evil, I see a determination to not walk the straight line, and a potential to change the world.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2002
My daughter is more of an independent child than a strong willed child, but this book was very insiteful on HOW to talk to your children. Get them to do what you want by letting them think it's their idea. . . Wonderful book, some of the ideas even work on husbands ;)
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 1999
All of Cynthia's books are well-written and easy to read. She packs them full of interesting anecdotes which bring home her point while amusing and entertaining the reader. This book may be the most valuable yet in terms of saving parents sanity and preserving a great relationship with ALL your children--including the difficult ones! Give this book to someone who struggles with a defiant or strong-willed child, or read it yourself. The child you save may be your own!
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
My younger daughter has had me at a complete loss since she learned to walk and talk. Other parents have communicated that if I would just try harder, or be more consistent, then everything would be fine. Frustrated and discouraged, I knew that what we were doing was just not working. What works for most other children simply does not work for this one. (We have an older child, and have worked with numerous other children, so this is not just talk. We have had reasonable success in the past - just not with this particular child.)

Reading You Can't Make Me... was like a breath of fresh air. Finally, somebody "gets it"! Somebody, somewhere, actually understands what it is like to live with this child. Nothing seems to motivate her, she's willing to just "accept" any consequence we can dish out, and EVERYTHING turns into World War III, no matter how minor it was to start with. The truly scary thing? This child is barely three!

Therein lies the biggest complaint I have with the book, and my reason for rating it as only three stars. Most of the concrete suggestions don't really seem to be applicable to small children. I feel like I could derive a lot more benefit from the book if we were willing to put it on the shelf and pretend we don't have this child for at least another two years. Obviously, that is not an option.

I also felt that there was some inconsistency, at times, between what certain illustrations seemed to illustrate and what the author's stated intent was. This makes the author sound a bit wishy-washy about truth and standards and authority, when I believe this is largely a matter of poorly-chosen illustrations. To quote from the book,

"Contrary to what some popular theories propose, I believe...that there are absolutes. I do not ascribe to the idea of right and wrong being relative. It's especially difficult for SWC's, however, to get along with people who think they are the only ones able to discern what qualifies as right and wrong."

Unfortunately, some of the illustrations are pretty vague on this point.

The primary point I gleaned from this book was that (in my words) you can't make a child obey, you have to make him want to obey. (This is true whether he's strong-willed or not, it is just easier to make him want to obey if he isn't strong-willed. And isn't it really what Christian parents are all aiming for, anyway - heart obedience?) If, however, the book had given me some more practical methods for making my strong-willed child want to obey, I would have found it more useful.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 1999
This is very valuable information. A purely authoritarian approach to parenting a strong-willed child may win you some battles, but you will lose your child. It's not worth it--Read this book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2003
Ok, so I listened to the audiobook. It actually was better to listen to the audiobook because I could hear the author reading her book with her emotion and specific points accentuating specific things, like how something should be said, or a tone you could try with your kids.
I have to say that this book has given me more ideas than anything I've read so far in any book about strong willed kids. Basically I need to find what motivates my child and never, ever, give orders. It just doesn't work. The author places a lot of focus on incentive, rather than punishment. She doesn't advocate that kids should be able to run wild, or use being "strong-willed" as either a character defect OR an excuse for "bad" behavior.
There is some focus on being Christian, just an FYI. This may be good for some people, but not others.
In all, fantastic book!!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2005
As a parent of a very strong willed child (SWC), and a former SWC myself, I grabbed up this book as soon as I heard about it. It is the best book on the SWC temperament that I have read. The author is also a former SWC (and a current strong willed woman), and the parent of one. She provides great insight into how the SWC thinks, and how they are motivated. She gives some great ideas on how to work with, instead of against, the strong willed temperament. It's like swimming down river instead of up. Even if her specific ideas don't work for an individual, it is a great starting place for changing how one relates to the SWC. The one caveat is that this book is written by a Christian author for a Christian audience with belief in scripture permeating the text. However, even a non-Christian could benefit from some of the ideas contained in it.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2006
I finally finished reading a parenting book and didn't have one single urge to throw it across the room in frustration when I was finished! Cynthia Tobias really knows how a SWC thinks and talks. I laughed out loud because so much of what she wrote sounds just like things my son says, or things I remember thinking as a child.

Reading this book left me with the feeling you get from talking to a good friend. It isn't that I haven't read these strategies before, but I haven't had them presented in a way that makes me feel like "I can do this. We're going to be fine". If you haven't read a lot of parenting books, this one may be a little light on the "how-to". If you have read LOTS of them, then this one may be the last one you need to read.

I am going to gleefully go donate a few of my old parenting books now....
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2007
Tape format makes it easy to get the information and strategy tips. A good product for a parent on the go--and perhaps in the car alot!!

As a strong-willed impassioned parent who is parenting a strong willed impassioned child, I appreciate that Ms Tobias offered some insights and strategies to defuse the combat. I have a better understanding of ME and my child! On day one after I had listened to her tapes (while running errands) My child comes in the kitchen in the morning, only to be disappointed by his scrambled egg breakfast. Instead of my being upset and saying.."you will eat it or else.." I tried Ms Tobias' tactic. I said, "OK, well we have a problem and I need your help. You have had A, B, C, and D for all different breakfasts this week...which was alot of variety. I need your help then in coming up with some new breakfast ideas." What happened next? Dear child felt "heard" and sat down to eat his breakfast, and we have had no complaints for a week! No suggestions yet either.... BUT as any parent of an SWC (strong willed child) knows We parents have to pick our battles. Also these kids were created by God to be this way for a purpose. We have to help guide them to use their strong convictions and passions properly.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2010
I found this book helpful and frustrating at the same time. It was helpful in understanding the character of the strong willed child, but I wanted more specific strategies -- particularly in how to negotiate with them.

This could be to do with my own temperament and learning style rather than any fault with the book, and I certainly enjoy Cynthia Tobias' writing style. I guess I would have liked some more examples or 'Step 1, 2, 3' in how to communicate.
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