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I'm Okay, You're a Brat!: Setting the Priorities Straight and Freeing You From the Guilt and Mad Myths of Parenthood Paperback – July 13, 2001

3.5 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Whether you are already a parent or just suspect you will be one someday, I'm Okay, You're a Brat is sure to change your perceptions about the responsibility. With individual chapters devoted to topics such as full-time parenting, breastfeeding, custody in case of divorce, and remaining childfree, the realism presented will shatter any remaining illusions you may be harboring. Determined to explode the myth of continually joyous parenting, author Susan Jeffers replaces it with a more realistic view of the life changes and emotional difficulties associated with such a long term and essentially thankless task. Jeffers accomplishes this by emphasizing the difference between loving your children and actually enjoying parenting them, a difference that is rarely examined in this age of guilty, overworked parents.

Peppered with quotes from parents, researchers, and her earlier works (Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and End the Struggle and Dance with Life), the first chapters may come as a bit of a shock to parents not able to freely admit to the daily struggle of parenting--while there are most definitely rewards, who among us enjoys being spit up on? Where's the fun in attending soccer matches when soccer bores you to tears? Who loves parenting when the child just dented the new car and broke curfew? Jeffers insists it's time to openly talk about the downside of parenting--the loss of privacy, lack of sleep, financial struggles, and the instantaneous guilt felt by the majority of parents whenever they attempt to express these downer feelings. Often funny, and always thought provoking, you'll feel quickly reassured that you are not a bad parent for feeling this way--in fact, by freeing yourself from the good/bad parent complex, you may ultimately find greater personal fulfillment both as an individual and as a parent. --Jill Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Brilliant! A brave and revolutionary book that dares to confront many of our long-cherished beliefs about parenthood and parenting.” ―Susan Forward, Ph.D., author of Emotional Blackmail

“An excellent investment! If you read it before you have children, it may change your life. If you read it after you have children, it may save you years of therapy.” ―Warren Farrell, Ph.D., author of Why Men Are the Way They Are and Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say

“Many welcome suprises await the reader of this marvelously honest book! I heatily recommend it! It will remove any guilt and confusion you may be having about so many aspects of parenthood...whether you are a parent or not.” ―Barbara DeAngelis, Ph.D., author of Secrets About Life Every Woman Should Know

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Renaissance Books; 1st edition (July 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580632025
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580632027
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,041,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is controversial and will strike at the emotions of most who read it. It seems most things to do with parenting fall into this category! I felt its main attempt was to bring parents together in a "lets not lay blame or guilt, lets tell the truth about kids and parenting and try and help one another". As a mother, I mourn my freedom, my privacy and my hard-earned dollars. But I mostly regret that everyone told me how amazingly fulfilling and fun mothering is. For years I wondered what was wrong with ME if everyone else enjoyed this unique experience 24/7! I asked my partner how he would feel if he had to be at work 24/7, no pay, no holidays, loads of guilt, no pats on the back and constantly dealing with people who argue, make a mess and have no respect for privacy. His answer: "I'd quit". My answer: "I can't". For anyone considering this 'job', read the book and don't say I didn't tell you!!
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By A Customer on August 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
For those of us who have struggled and felt incredible guilt for our negative feelings about parenthood, at last, we realize that we are not alone, nor are we bad, we are just human. Yes, this book tells the downside about parenting. As Dr. Jeffers states at the beginning of the book, that was its purpose. There is already too much out there telling us that becoming a parent is the most "fulfilling" thing we can do in life. For some of us, this is true. But for some of us, this simply is not true.
The author describes what changes occur in your life once a child is born. She is absolutely right on that score. And for some of us, it isn't a pretty sight. For would-be parents, this is a God-send, and for those of us already in the fray it is reassuring to know that we aren't crazy for wondering where our adult life went.
What I was most impressed with was her talking about the "mad myths of parenthood" and the guilt-gurus who do their best to make us feel guilty. It all makes so much sense. By the way, this book should definitely be read by men as the author points out how sexist the world is when it comes to men and their children. It also reaffirms how important men are to the lives of their children.
I closed the book realizing how much we are brainwashed about the ideas of parenthood and how important it is to think for ourselves. I also came away feeling that my children have their own course, their own calling, and that, while it was important for me to do my best to give them loving care (whatever that means for each of us), I must let go of the outcome. There are so many factors that affect them body, mind and soul.
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By A Customer on January 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Thank you Dr.Jeffers for this book. I have been childfree (not childless) but I constantly get asked "When are you going to have children". My husband and I just haven't felt the desire strong enough to actually intentionally have children. But, since I am the woman, I am the one burden with the questions, mostly by mothers wondering when I will be joining their "elite" society of motherhood. And why would I not want to join their wonderful world of no sleep, changing diapers, breastfeeding, and never again have a moment to myself to enjoy my life, let alone pee? I am not ready to make those sacrifices and I may never be. According to Dr. Jeffers, that's okay. Some people are just not cut out to be parents and the reasons to have kids aren't any better than the reasons not to. It is your decision because your the one who has to make the sacrifices, not your parents or anyone else. This book reaffirmed that I am not ready and I am entitled to make my own decision.
Additional note: For those who think someone else's reproductive agenda is your business, you are incorrect. It is very rude to ask the wife or the husband when they plan to have children. It is none of your business and they would appreciate you not inquiring.
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Format: Hardcover
A bit of background about me is that I am a "stay-at-home" mother of two children, aged three and one. I struggled with infertility for nearly nine years before (finally) successfully becoming pregnant and having my children. In a way, wanting them so badly and trying so hard has made it nearly impossible for me to admit how terribly difficult it can be. A voice inside seems to be constantly telling me, "Don't complain! You got what you wanted!"
I did get what I wanted, and more. If I had read Susan's book before having my kids, I would have really hated it. I wouldn't have believed most of it. I would have said to myself, "these are problems that other people face with their kids, but because I will do everything right, these issues won't affect me." And that would have been incredibly naive.
What has happened to me is that when I got my kids, I REALLY got my kids. It is me who takes care of them "24/7." It is unreleived by any job, or very much help from my spouse (although some). Our financial situation makes babysitting help a rare luxury and we are not in a tight community.
Now I know why I am going a little crazy, and also a few things to provide myself with some relief. This book helped me to see that although my children do need to have high quality care at all times, it does not need to be provided by me exclusively. Also, taking care of myself in terms of doing some things that are important to me will ultimately help my children more than my constant availability.
The section about the "guilt gurus" was also especially helpful. This is the part that made me want to give the book to everyone I know. Because society has drummed it into us that it is all up to the parents, especially the mother.
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