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Your Competent Child: Toward A New Paradigm In Parenting And Education Paperback – September 29, 2011
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About the Author
Jesper Juul (1948) is a family therapist, husband, father and a grandfather. He is the author of numerous books and a renowned international public speaker for and has founded Familylab International - an organization committed to inspire parents to find new and healthier ways to become a succesful family and professionals to create more profound relationships with children and youth in their care. Jesper Juul now lives in Denmark and Croatia and works in three continents as curriculum manager as well as trainer, educator and public speaker.
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it seems that this 2011 edition is just a revised edition of the 2001 printing (2000 translation from danish), with the same content structure. The publishers also changed, from "Farrar, Straus and Giroux" to current "Balboa Press." 2001 printing had 260 pages, current 2011 printing 236 pages, due to a shorter introduction.
Okay, I am barely a new parent (expecting our first child) and have not read many books in this genre (child development and upbringing). I have seen this book on a local community college bookstore shelves but the subtitle "Toward New Basic Values for the Family" sent the wrong message to a conservative like me. (In the new 2011 printing, the subtitle is changed to "Toward a new paradigm in parenting and education"). The amount of wisdom, introspective reflection the reader has to do, and examples provided compell me to give this a 5 star and to write the review title given. Here in Denmark, I have even met Danes that read the book no less than five times (due to content being so rich and thought-provoking).
"Jesper Juul, born in Denmark in 1948, is a family therapist. He is the director of the Kempler Institute of Scandinavia, a center for family therapy, and Family Counseling International in Croatia." What I liked about Jesper is that he has a lot of experience with families from different continents and cultures, and is also humble enough to recognize that he had also made mistakes while raising his son.
From the Introduction, Jesper Juul sounds like a good friend with a mild tone that wants to challenge our way of thinking about raising children. The author is proposing that parents and families adopt a Scandinavian system to raising kids, a 3rd way between the old-fashioned authoritarian model and the modern democratic model.
The Chapters are as follows (with specific quotes):
Chapter 1. FAMILY VALUES
Chapter 2. CHILDREN COOPERATE!
Chapter 3. SELF-ESTEEM AND SELF-CONFIDENCE
A great chapter on the difference between these 2 concepts and which is healthy and which is not, and how to understand them thru ample examples.
Chapter 4. RESPONSIBILITY, BEING RESPONSIBLE, AND POWER
This 3rd way of raising kids, means "to create relationships within the family that are based on treating one another with equal dignity, relationships that inhance everyone's integrity and self-esteem, and promote reciprocal good feelings".
The most valuable information I took from this book was that "these concepts - integrity, self-esteem, and responsibility - are inseperable" and "respecting children's self-esteem and personal responsibility". "Children know what they want, but sometimes they do not know what they need".
Chapter 5. CHILDREN'S SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Chapter 6. LIMITS
"The belief that there is one 'right' way of raising children. There is none. What does exist is a mutual learning process based on who you are as a parent and who your child is. Parents need to learn to be as true to themselves as posible, and as direct and personal in their expression as they can be. By doing so, they will learn about the true nature and personality of each child, and thanks to the child's competent feedback, parents will be able to fine-tune their reactions to the child. ... The real question is 'What is good for my relationship with my child ?' That is, what makes both of us - and the relationship between us - develop in a healthy way ?" "To create families in which all members thrive and develop in healthy ways, the focus needs to be on dialogue, not on 'permission'".
Chapter 7. FAMILIES WITH TEENAGERS
"The way in which the family decision-making process unfolds is more important than the actual decisions that are reached. It is better to take plenty of time to reach decisions than to forge hurried compromises in order to establish domestic peace. Also it is better to ensure that both parties are taken seriously than to cut off discussion by proposing a 'fair' solution".
Chapter 8. PARENTS
While the English translation is sometimes forceful (my Danish wife owns the original edition of "Det kompetente barn" but I am not at a level good enough to read and understand Danish yet),
a) the amount of FOOD FOR THOUGHT,
b) excellent relevant life EXAMPLES, and
c) open-minded nonsense no-cookie-cutter approach
makes this book a TOP REFERENCE in our family library, and will be read a couple more times throught the next decade.
(¤Thank you for reading this review and your votes - either way!¤)
While I can usually skip over a goof here or there, the number of errors here seriously affected my reading experience - so much so that I will be returning the book. After looking at the preview of the earlier edition by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, I realized that these editorial issues were all missing, so I will be ordering a used copy of that edition instead. Your Competent Child: Toward New Basic Values for the Family
I am a mother of two boys (2 and 4) and though they are easygoing, well adjusted children with which I had no major problems I still felt that I do not understand some things and that I am doing something wrong.
This book has helped me tremendously in understanding my children. I have succeeded in overcoming some difficulties that used to make me go crazy and feel like a failed parent at times. It has not simply solved all the situations I have to deal with as a parent but it has made me drastically change my view of parenthood and what my relationship with my children is supposed to look like. I treat my children with more respect now and I find easier solutions for our conflicts. Even when I do not find solutions my understanding of my children's reactions and behavior is better. Read it. Slowly, carefully. If you do not understand it read it again. Go back to it from time to time when you recognize a situation that at the moment you were reading it did not seem relatable to you.
This book has been of enormous importance for my family and I believe it should be on the reading list of any parent or parent to be.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a must for competent parents.
This is the type of book that should be in the mainstream,
advocating for...Read more