Most helpful critical review
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Someone finally understands!
on September 27, 2010
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.