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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles: Winning for a Lifetime Paperback – February 20, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Kids, parents, and power struggles--the inseparable triad of family life. What if you could avoid Machiavellian peacekeeping maneuverings and instead turn difficult situations with your child into jumping-off points to having a better and more productive relationship? Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's new book gives a concise, practical, and often humorous account of how to achieve this turnaround. Kurcinka doesn't promise miracle cures or overnight success, but by building on Daniel Goleman's groundbreaking work in Emotional Intelligence, she offers creative techniques for using power struggles as pathways to better understanding within any family. Drawing on her clinical experience with numerous real-life families, Kurcinka builds up an image of the parent as an "emotion coach," whose role is to build a strong, connected "team" by understanding the players' strengths and weaknesses and showing by instruction and example how best to play the game. The techniques she outlines are useful for children of any age--in fact, the younger, the better--and are based on firm guidelines and mutual respect. In sections such as "Bringing Down the Intensity," "Enforcing Your Standards," and "Teaching Life's Essential Skills," Kurcinka addresses the causes of power struggles rather than just the symptoms, so that families can reduce the pain of repeated conflict. By the end of the book, any parent should feel confident in applying the principles. --Katherine Ferguson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles is a helpful addition to the parenting literature and a delight to read. Kurcinka's vivid descriptions bring to light common conflicts, but her primary lesson is that power struggles give parents an opportunity to teach their children better ways of expressing frustration, anger, jealousy, and other emotions. Kurcinka also helps us recognize the role that temperament, both our own and out child's, plays in family life--and that continued success depends on respecting our differences."

-- Stella Chess, M.D., professor of child psychiatry, New York University Medical School, author of Goodness of Fit

"Mary Sheedy Kurcinka has written another excellent book for parents, this one about the seemingly inevitable power struggles between parents and their children. She provides wise, practical, and clear suggestions on how to avoid these conflicts and manage them better, chiefly by understanding the emotions that are fueling them. If only we all had this book a generation ago!" -- William B. Carey, M.D., director of behavioral pediatrics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, author of Understandng Your Child's Temperament --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Quill ed. edition (February 20, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060930438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060930431
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Reading parenting books is practically a secret addiction of mine -- I read about one a month, sometimes more, and have read dozens since my son was born. Barbara Coloroso's Kids Are Worth It!(a great book) has held first place on my favorites list for the last three years, but Mary Kurcinka just knocked her off with Kids, Parents and Power Struggles. This is the best parenting book I've ever read and I highly, highly recommend it. I think the title was a little misleading -- the book wasn't as much about power struggles as it was about learning how to help your kids handle their emotions appropriately. It's also heavily oriented (not surprisingly, from the author of Raising Your Spirited Child) toward understanding your individual child -- his or her needs, temperament,and personality and how those factors affect behavior. The content is great. And the delivery is also wonderful. Kurcinka's writing style is clear, informative, thoughtful -- and fun!

I first reviewed this book nine years ago. I said at the time that I was addicted to parenting books. After this book, my addiction ended. I think it was because I felt like I had the tools I needed. I haven't read a parenting book in years.

So my son is a teenager now. He's not an adult, so I can't really say that I'm done raising him--who knows what the next few years might bring? But as I look around me at the other teenagers we know and at their relationships with their parents and their behaviors, and then look at my son, I am beyond grateful for Ms. Kurcinka and what she taught me about being a parent.

My teenager is--a teenager. He has his moments when the hormones take control and he's rude or hostile. But then he apologizes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has more descriptions, information and tips that "resonate" with me than any other book I've read. You'll find yourself thinking "Yes! That's EXACTLY what MY child says (or does)!" Then Mary helps you see the reaction you're likely to get with each potential response... based on your child's temperament (most books overlook the fact that a statement or action that calms one child can enrage one with a different temperament).
My favorite sections are the tips about temperaments (especially teaching children and parents how to say or do things differently to avoid upsetting others) and helping children change their "bulldozing statements" (often button-pushing ones for parents, such as "You're not my boss!" or "Shut up!") into statements that persuade others to listen ("I'd like a choice" or "I didn't like what you said").
Have you read a lot of books and wonder if you'll really learn something new in this one? Absolutely. With two spirited children of my own, I've enjoyed the following (plus many others), but now recommend "Kids, Parents, & Power Struggles" instead: Parenting with Love & Logic; Raising your Spirited Child (an excellent supplement); How to Behave so Your Children Will Too; Magic 1-2-3; Setting Limits; How to talk so kids will listen... (and others in their series- great supplements, though); Children are from Heaven; Children the Challenge; plus others from Dr. Sears, Leach, & Brazelton.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Based on Daniel Goleman's book, Emotional Intelligence, and the author's own research in her practice, this book's basic premise is that conflicts in families can be resolved by understanding, recongnizing, and dealing with emotions effectively. Since these are skills wanting in many of us, the author suggests we teach our children and ourselves at the same time. Good advice.
Carefully, patiently, she leads us through the basics: empathy, self calming, recongnizing feelings, listening, recognizing different temperaments and personality styles. Then she gives us the tools for coaching our children to become more effective in handling their feelings: to recognize them, name them, express them and seek a satisfactory resolution without being destructive to others.
Nothing here is so revolutionary, but the approach of thinking about your child's difficult behavior as a cry for help in dealing with underlying emotions is incredibly helpful. Once you have tuned into this idea, it short-circuits your tendency to react to such behavior with knee-jerk, authoritarian stuff you are reading these books to avoid. You end up working with your child, not against him, and isn't that the point?
Different parenting books work for different people. This might be the one for you. One caveat: the paper on this not inexpensive hardcover edition is cheap, cheap, and the type small and gray. You'd expect more from HarperCollins.
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By A Customer on April 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I learned more in the first two chapters than my six years (so far) of experience parenting. It is that incredibly eye-opening and insightful. I read real life situations and solutions. I learned how to better communicate with my child in a matter of days and the stress level around my home has drastically been reduced. I can even appreciate my children in a new light. Where was this book before? I wish they'd hand this out at the hospital as you leave with your baby because it's the best advice I've ever read. I know how to diffuse a situation, stay in charge and no one feels like the "loser".
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