Top critical review
41 people found this helpful
It was good, but I didn't love it.
on January 22, 2011
Based on the great reviews here, I bought and read this book. It was good. It taught me some useful things, but there were some parts that I disagreed with. I took it with a grain of salt, and I used the things I found to be valuable and ignored the others.
The best thing that I took away from this book:
The author explains that it's important for children (well, anybody, really) to feel heard. So if a child wants something that you're going to deny, you should not just say "No." First, you should tell the child that you empathize and understand what they're wishing for. And then tell them that the answer is still no. It has helped calm my children down when I have showed them that I understand what they want, before I tell them why they still can't have it. For example, your kid wants to stay on a ride at the amusement park. You say "I understand that you're having fun and that you want to stay on the ride. But there are many kids in the line behind you waiting for their turn. It's not fair if you stay on this ride all day."
The thing I disagreed with the most:
The author says that the way you shouldn't tell a child "You're bad" you should also not tell a child "You're good" or "You're beautiful" or give them a label. Even if it's positive. His reasoning is that if you give them a label, then they don't learn to have pride in themselves and they look outside, to others, for validation and praise all their lives. That part, by itself, might be true, but I don't think their solution is better. All I know is that as a child, my parents would tell me positive things about myself and I was confident. However, at school, my teachers must have read this book or subscribed to this book's theories. They never said to me or the other students "You're smart" or "You're good." If they praised me, they would do what this book suggests which is to say "You must be proud of yourself" or "Tell me about your accomplishment." The author argues that this instills self-confidence in the child. However, I remember most of the time when someone said to me "You must be proud of yourself" that I would wonder "Why aren't they saying 'Good job. You are smart?'" And then I over analyzed the situation and assumed that the educator didn't think I was smart but was trying to be polite and not hurt my feelings. So the lack of telling me that I was smart, made me think that they thought that I was *not* smart. And so I assumed that they were being polite instead of just saying "Big deal. Any moron could have accomplished that goal." It had the reverse effect.