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Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child's Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days Hardcover – March 1, 2008
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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I purchased Have A New Kid by Friday because it had some great reviews, and because it's written by a Psychologist. What I was expecting was a book with clear cut examples, a lot of science and research (here's why this doesn't work, or here's how a two year old's brain works) and facts to back up Dr. Leman's book.
That's not what I got. Dr Leman is a psychologist, but this book is purely his opinion on what makes good parenting.There is absolutely no research, statistics, or facts in here. I tried to get through the book with an open mind, but the further I got, the further I hated it. When I reached the "Remember, an unhappy child is a healthy child" I decided maybe this book really isn't for me. I kept going, and later came across his internal thoughts "I couldn't help but think, How dumb is that dad anyway?". Dr Leman, if you're going to write a book about teaching your kids respect and manners, maybe you shouldn't put down other parents in your book?
Book Content: it's pretty outdated. In example, he describes "your son coming home wearing all black" and "your daughter sporting a new belly button right and nose piercing" as his worst case scenarios. His internet talk has to do with Myspace and IM'ing. I was honestly surprised when I saw this was published in 2012 because the mentality of his writing is way back in the 90 and very early 2000's.
I should also point out something I COMPLETELY missed in the reviews, and that is he as VERY CONSERVATIVE Christian man. Now I have nothing, absolutely nothing, against that and to each their own. But his religious views in this book are VERY heavy handed and a lot of his discipline and "fixes" are based on Fear of God. There's even a chapter about how to make your kids go to church with you, and his answer to that is to tell your kid "okay, you don't have to go" and then purposely spend an entire day out on the town after church, doing fun activities and going out to dinner and then coming home and telling your kid you're not fixing him dinner and "well, this is what happens when you choose to not join us". This comes off as shaming to me, and almost bribing (if you go to church we'll do fun stuff afterwards). I'm not a psychologist, but that kind of parenting seems to do more damage than help.
As for the rest of the book, it's mainly aimed at older children. But there is no clear cut "example, answer" in the book...it's more of a "If your kid does this, tell them this and THATLL get 'em!"attitude. He's snarky, he's rude, and frankly I feel really, really bad for his kids.
Let me do the work for you. I read almost this entire book in hopes of finding gems of parenting knowledge and here's the only worthwhile information I found:
- Be firm. If you say no, don't change your mind later. This gives your kids mixed signals and they'll never truly know if you're being serious or going to cave later.
- Let there be natural, realistic consequences. IE, if your kid is constantly getting up late and missing the bus, so you have to drive him to school, STOP INTERVENING. Let him learn the hard way (he missed the bus and has to walk, now he's going to get a tardy slip from school, etc etc). This also goes for the kid that constantly forgets their homework at home, or gym clothes, or whatever. Don't rush to fix every little thing for your kid - let them experience the consequences of their actions.
That's basically all the valuable information I got from this book.
Even though they are rambunctious and rowdy boys, the principles in this book have helped us treat them with respect instead of bullying (i.e. "I'm bigger than you so you have to do what I say") or authoritarian-style parenting (i.e. "because I said so"). It has helped us create a family environment where there is no guesswork, the boys always know what the consequences are, and we don't waste time or energy with threats, bribes, or worse yet, counting to three! Our kids don't need three seconds to disobey us -- they behave from the get-go because we have used the principles in this book to create a consistent disciplinary tactics based on mutual respect. And when they make a mistake (which is bound to happen as you rear young children!), they understand the related consequences and learn a valuable lesson -- not just some temporary pain (i.e. taking toys away) that doesn't make any sense.
I highly recommend this book! And of course, Dr. Leman's "Have a New Husband by Friday" is also an AMAZING read!! Has saved many of my friends' marriages that were in dire trouble.