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Positive Pushing: How to Raise a Successful and Happy Child Hardcover – April 10, 2002
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Pushy parents have gotten a bad rap, says psychologist and achievement coach Jim Taylor. In Positive Pushing, Taylor contrasts the old-style pushing of parents overinvested in their kid's report cards and soccer scores with the positive pushing of parents who invite children to gain joy from and mastery in their accomplishments. "Success without happiness is not success at all," he explains.
In building a model of successful achievers, Taylor skewers the self-esteem movement for protecting kids from disappointment and mistakes--the very experiences that build sturdy self-regard. He urges parents to separate their needs from their children's. His marching orders are clear and compelling: guide kids to discover a passion; express love apart from achievement; create a human being, not a "human doing"; use boundaries to construct a safe harbor; and demand accountability. Most important, put kids in charge by teaching them that the results they produce depend on their efforts and actions. Taylor describes red-flag warnings to keep parents on course and offers smart questions for helping kids command their achievements, asking, for example, "Why do you want to do this?" and "What would make this a really great experience for you?"
At times, Taylor's unique approach is undercut by a tendency to quote other sources. Still, his own fresh and insightful words will inspire every parent who reads this book. --Barbara Mackoff
From Publishers Weekly
Taylor, a psychologist who has worked with young achievers in sports, education and the performing arts for 17 years, helps parents determine how to give their child encouragement and the emotional resources not only to succeed but to deal with success in a healthy way. Arguing that pushing is necessary for children to take risks and discover their strengths, he advises parents how to push while focusing on self-esteem, ownership and emotional mastery what he calls the three pillars of successful achievers. Taylor stresses the importance of parental involvement, but warns that many parents go overboard, getting too involved in their child's achievements and denying the child "ownership" of their own experiences. Instead, Taylor suggests parents help their child focus on the process rather than a winning outcome, and keep a balance in their life. To wit, he provides useful guidelines for how much time should be spent on achievement activities, and recommends not more than two such activities per child to ensure that they don't infringe on playtime and family time. In each chapter, he lists "red flags" warning signs in children's behavior that indicate parents are pushing too much or too little. Taylor's thoughtful, clear-eyed approach to a controversial subject will be appreciated by parents raising kids in a competitive world.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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I would caution readers that the author's skewering of the self esteem movement is simplistic, at best. He does seem to be moralizing here, and I found myself tuning out at times. I would also disagree with his statements on unconditional love. The problem is he is actually mislabelling 'approval' as love. Parents should love their children no matter what. Love is not a weapon to be used to ensure certain behaviour from a child. I always love my niece, which she knows. She also knows, however, that I don't always approve of her behaviour and/or choices, and what the consequences are if she crosses certain boundaries. The author sends really mixed messages, because for all his talk about the 'dangers of unconditional love', at other times he does seem to understand the need to separate one's feelings about a child's behavior and choices from one's feelings about the person as a whole.
Lastly, I confess to finding some of the chapters to be a bit long. I found I took breaks from the book because it felt like overload at times. But the author uses alot of subheadings, so there are numerous logical spots to 'take a break', so this this problem wasn't as annoying as some other books with long chapters.
This book has many useful ideas, and the subject is very worthwhile. Highly reccommended to all!