Customer Reviews: Family First: Your Step-by-Step Plan for Creating a Phenomenal Family
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on August 24, 2006
I checked out a copy of "Family First" from the public library. By the time I read a few chapters I returned the library's copy and bought my own. The chapter on "Parenting Style" is worth the price of the book, especially for the little test to determine if your style is authoritarian, equalitarian or permissive. Also helpful is the test to determine if your child is rebellious, cooperative or passive. It is important to know something of your own personality and your child's to determine how you (and your spouse) are going to teach and discipline. I teach "Marriage and Family" for a college and I will be incorporating these two tests in my curriculum.

Also, I really enjoyed the stories he told about family. One particularly moving story is when his dad would not let him drive one night because of bad weather. Even though Phil argued his case and lost, he says he is glad his dad didn't relent. His parents loved him enough to set up boundaries. They valued Phil's life more than they did his agreement on their decisions. His dad was decisive and strong and Phil respected that. Phil apologized to his friend for ruining the plans. His friend looked at him with tear filled eyes and said, "I wish my parents cared enough about me to tell me I couldn't go. They wouldn't care if I drove straight off a cliff."

Phil writes, "It struck me that though John had asked his parents for permission to go to the game, what he had really needed was for them to provide some boundaries and leadership." (Pp.157-58). Parents, even though discipline is sometimes difficult, it does communicate to our children that we care.

I like to use Dr. Phil's book in conjunction with Dr. James Dobson's "The New Strong-Willed Child" and "Parenting Isn't for Cowards" in parenting classes and situations that I teach. (See my reviews on the Dobson books). I recommend all three books.
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on September 20, 2004
I find Dr. Phil's newest book just super. I have been stuggling with a way for my family to really spend some quality time together.In chapter 3 he gives some great ideas about how to spend time with your family and how to make your kids want to spend more time with you. Although I am not done with the whole book I am really looking forward to reading more words of wisdom from an incredible family man.
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on September 15, 2004
If there's anyone who can tell it like it is, it's Dr. Phil. My wife has turned to him for support in these past years, and has bought each of his books hot off the presses. Her enthusiasm used to baffle me, but then I retired and settle down with her on the couch for what is like a good home-therapy session. We've been looking forward to the family first series on the show, and now that the book - the handbook, the guidebook, is out we read it and are buying copies of it for our children so that our grandkids grow up happier and healthier. Not to say my kids don't know what they're doing, but everyone can use a little bit of help and guidance along the way. This guy's a real honest-to-goodness expert and he knows what he's saying. Having raised three children, I just wish he was around then, telling me what my parenting style is so I could have related better to my kids. My kids struggle with disciplining their kids in these days of no-spanking. I think Dr Phil has some solutions for them. Go out and buy this one, study it, and pass it along! It's for a good cause - there's nothing more important than family.
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on April 21, 2006
I became the legal guardian of a teenager a year ago and in preparation for her arrival read loads of parenting books. I also work in youth violence prevention and routinely research risk factors for teen delinquency. This book was the best book out of the bunch I read, which was surprising to me because I sometimes don't like the advice Dr. Phil gives. However, this book was inspiring, it posed great questions and activities, and offered sound advice. I particularly liked the focus on defining your goals for your child and parenting with purpose, as well as the chapter on modifying behavior. It also addresses teen behavior/discipline better than any of the books I encountered, which are typically better for younger kids. Very comprehensive book! I recommend it to all parents.
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on August 17, 2005
Heard the cassette version of FAMILY FIRST, written and read

by Dr. Phil McGraw . . . even if you're not a parent or grandparent,

methinks you'll find useful advice here about improving any

family . . . and it would be a good book for present or prospective

teachers to read, in that it contains suggestions as to how

to both better understand and relate to children of all ages.

In listening, I got the same feeling that I do when seeing

Dr. Phil on television--only better, if that's possible . . . it was

like having him in front of me, telling me what can and has

worked . . . however, I also liked how he gave examples (many

from his own life) of times when things didn't work--and what

could have been done differently.

Perhaps most significantly, I took away this one idea that

can be applied to virtually any situation: Don't say you can't contain

your anger. That's not true. What is true is that you don't control

your temper, as you do when at church, work or at a restaurant

with friends.

In addition, if you want to create the "phenomenal family" that the

author frequently mentions, you'll find the following thoughts helpful:

* If there are any problems with a child, the family has to be looked

at too.

* Continually ask yourself: What can I do today to make my family


* Best time to get a divorce: When you are past the hurt feelings.

* If you want your children to be able to handle anger, then you

have to be able to handle it yourself.

* The things in life you wont' regret will be the things you don't do.

* Provide family members with at least one supportive statement

each day.

* Don't tell a child what NOT to do.
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on July 25, 2005
Dr. Phil brings his twenty-five years of experience of helping families deal with tough issues between the pages of this book.

There are a good variety of concerns addressed that are common to many families, not only from coast to coast in our country but for families all around the world.

In Family First, Phil offers proven plans of action to help parents determine the strengths and weaknesses of their parenting style and set realistic goals towards positve change.

His 7 Tools for Purposeful Parenting make great sense. All the information in this book focuses on how to be a cohesive unit as a family and raise cooperative, caring, and competent children that become healthy, happy competent adults.

Phil offers thoughtful exercises, scripts, assessments, and clear step by step plans for parents to help themselves acheive success.

...Sure to become a classic.

...Much more compassion from Phil in this book than on his TV show.

Thanks, Dr Phil.
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on October 24, 2004
I think poor Dr. Phil might be getting a bad rap here. Any book that helps someone even a little to prioritize and cherish tier family has just may not have credibility. If you are looking for a light read with some good ideas this book is worth a look. However, there are many credible, researched based books by real experts that would certainly be in front of the line. I recommend Dr. Michele Borba's books for anyone interested in real solutions to modern parenting problems. Otherwise, Dr. Phil is entertaining and Family First has the right idea, if not the best implementation.
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on September 17, 2004
The title says it all. If your family is dysfunctional, how can your children be successful? I like the no-nonsense approach Dr. Phil brings to all issues regarding family, and I like that he urges us to take responsibility for our own behavior and actions. It is up to us as parents. I also like that he has step-by-step instructions of how to take charge of your family and turn it around.
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on September 17, 2004
Another great Dr. Phil book! I was so excited that he decided to tackle parenting in a book! I just started reading, but I love the way this book is set up. I like to go back and forth in a book like this, and the 7 tools are clear and easy to follow in the back while the first part of the book helps parents get ready, prepared to make changes. All of his books are about making changes in ones life whether it means that you have to change how you see yourself or how you treat others-especially your family in this one.

It is hard to look beyond your own frustration and all the things pulling at your attention and focus on your family. I can't even focus on a single book which is one of the reasons I usually have to flip back and forth in every book I read. Dr. Phil makes it easy for people who have so much to do. His message is clear and he really makes you think about what he says. Try it and I know that you will think the same.
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on January 15, 2005
Dr. Phil's central messsage in his new book FAMILY FIRST is that nurturing our children and strengthening our families is the most important work to be done in the world today. If parents took this to heart, there will be many more happy children and well-adjusted adults. I agree with other reviewers that this book was refreshing in its relative lack of judging and demeaning language that often turns me off to Dr. Phil's television show. FAMILY FIRST offers some workable strategies to nurture your children and guide them to reach their full potential. As a parent of four, ages 14 to 24, I would have liked to see a broader awareness of the complexities of raising children in a violent world filled with injustice and duplicity. It would be refreshing to hear Dr. Phil admit that even if parents do their very best following his advice or the tenets of their religion or parenting philosophy, there are no guarantees and all parents make mistakes. Still, Dr. Phil's statement that family should come first is an important one for our time and FAMILY FIRST is worth a read.
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