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Smart Love Paperback – May 1, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Parents and experts tend to be divided into two embittered camps: strong discipline and permissiveness. How about another choice? Now comes Smart Love: The Compassionate Alternative to Discipline That Will Make You a Better Parent and Your Child a Better Person, a book exploring Martha Heineman Pieper and William J. Pieper's alternative approach to raising responsible, smart, loving children. The authors are longtime experts in child and family psychology. She's a psychotherapist who works with both children and adults, and he's a child psychologist and psychoanalyst. Together, they've raised five children while professionally researching the roots and keys to children's inner happiness. Their "Smart Love" approach to child rearing will provide a breath of relief for parents uncomfortable with formal methods of discipline, but deeply concerned with providing their kids with strong, safe limits.

Focusing in turn on babies, toddlers, young children, older children, adolescents, and kids with special circumstances (including adoption and learning disabilities), the Piepers argue effectively that "tough love" doesn't work, and that parents will get more cooperation if they focus on their child's inner happiness and "avoid unnecessary confrontations with children about behavior for which they will eventually assume responsibility." While this approach may initially feel radical to some, the Piepers' clear explanations and force of research and practice will win converts to their gentle, strong approach. The Piepers write, "Time-outs, restrictions, punishments, and other forms of discipline are based on the assumption that being too nice to children who are 'misbehaving' will encourage and reward bad behavior." Instead of discipline (or permissiveness), the authors recommend that parents parent by "loving regulation," an alternative approach to out-of-control behavior that stops the behavior immediately but doesn't deprive the child of parental warmth or admiration. Smart Love will help parents raise confident, resourceful, and compassionate children. --Ericka Lutz --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Though the term "smart love" seems strangely incongruous, some parents may find the theory attractive, especially those who have been unsuccessful or uncomfortable with such popular parenting methods as using negative consequences, rewards or time-out periods. The Piepers (she is a psychotherapist, he is a psychiatrist) focus on the parent's understanding of the child's developmental stage and instruct the parent to react to the child's behavior in a manner that is "compassionate rather than coercive." Punishments and rewards are both unadvised. Though the smart love "guidelines" referred to throughout the text never crystallize in a complete list, the main premise involves preserving the child's "inner happiness" by using "loving regulation" (reacting to the child without making her or him feel unhappy or rejected). The Piepers disagree with such practices as letting a baby "cry it out" and claim that time-outs cause kids to feel angry and self-rejecting. Oddly, however, they suggest weaning the baby at 11 months, rather than letting the child take the lead. While many parents may find the Piepers' advice a bit too demanding of their attention and patience, others may happily grasp the advice to "go the extra mile" for their child. 50,000 print run; $75,000 ad/promo; 14-city author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Common Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558321829
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558321823
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #986,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I LOVED this book. I am so tired of books that tell me how to control my kids' behavior as though they were supposed to respond like trained dogs. THis book shows you how to raise children who will be caring adults who can take their place in a democratic society, not trained puppets who slavishly follow authority. Yet the authors are not permissive. They showed me parenting techniques that work in the short run and that unlike all the other books are also good for the long run. Buy this book -- it is crucial for every parent and for our society!
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Format: Hardcover
I have three children, and my shelves were filling up with parenting books. They told me "how to" but none of them told me "why." Now comes Smart Love, which tells me Why, When, What AND how to. I now know how to respond to my children today and also where they have been and where they are going developmentally. For the first time, I really understand the meaning of behavior that has puzzled me with each child, for example, why they start clinging to my leg at about a year of age and don't let go for months. Wise and warm hearted and knowledgable, Smart Love is the best book out there. No wonder Ann Landers recommends it.
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Format: Hardcover
No question this is a super parenting book -- and one of the few truly different and original ones I have ever read (and I have a shelf of them). The authors gave me so much to think about, in fact a whole new way of seeing my kids that warmed my heart and snapped me out of feeling like a hasseled traffic cop. They put me back in touch with the everyday joy that can be part of parenting if you take their smart love persepective. See for yourself!
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Format: Hardcover
My five children range from 8 months to 13 years of age and I often feel the need for expert advice but don't want to buy a book for every child! Not only that, but I have not found the books I have read very helpful because they are either too harsh or too utopian and they are so narrowly applicable. Smart Love offers a coherent understanding of what parenting is all about and what growing up is all about. Smart Love is smart because it offers a game plan for parenting your child from birth through adolescence. The principles and guidelines make sense and carry forward. At the same time the book makes clear how my children's minds are changing and growing and what is reasonable to expect at every age. I have relied on this book for dilemmas I have had with each of my children and each time the advice has been terrific and the problem I was having was completely resolved. If you have children of any age, this is the book for you!
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By Sam Peters on September 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Finally, a child development book that understands development from a child's point of view! I have been an early childhood education teacher for over 20 years and this book is remarkably profound and accurate in regard to how children develop at each age and stage. This knowledge has helped me to fully understand how to create positive relationships with children in the classroom while simultaneously meeting each child's learning potential.

I found "Loving Regulation," to be the most effective way to positively guide children's out-of-control or unwanted behavior while preserving their sense of self-esteem and confidence. I was thrilled to find out how much more motivated, enthusiastic and happy the children were without the use of disciplinary measures such as rewards, punishments, or consequences. I learned that these disciplinary measures were undermining the children's sense of confidence as well as inhibiting their learning in the long run. I also realized that when children were treated with disciplinary measures the very behaviors I was trying to regulate would actually worsen over time.

When I applied the principles of Smart Love, children gained an inner sense of self-regulation through our positive relationship together; I could regulate challenging behaviors without compromising a child's positive self-regard. Smart Love principles are effective ways to bring pleasure to teaching as well as inspire children to view teachers as a bridge to their own competence. These practical and effective principles are visionary; they set a positive foundation for relationships, later learning years and foster life-long learners. I highly recommend this book to anyone who cares for children and is interested in fostering happy, well-adjusted, successful individuals in and out of the classroom.
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By A Customer on August 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book has really helped me stop and get into my child's mind and be concerned about his long term happiness not whether he is embarrassing me at the moment or making me late. Although time out seems to be universally accepted as a discipline tool I felt like it was abandoning my toddler when he was already distressed. This book validated that feeling and many others. The basic idea of the book (which is repeated often) is that children see their parents as perfect during the first few years and so if your discipine methods involve some form of punishment to make them unhappy - yell, time out, spank etc. they will think that is the right way to feel and will seek unhappiness later in life. This doesn't mean that you cannot correct behaviours and they demonstrate how to do so in a more loving, cooperative manner. This book has helped me be more patient and understanding when I keep in mind my child's point of view and my goals for his long term happiness and self esteem. I have read many parenting books and this one is my favorite!! I think the world would be a happier and more peaceful place if we all took Smart Love to heart.
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