My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the first parenting/discipline book I have read, and overall I found it to be really sound advice! I have already began implementing some of the suggestions and have found some success with both my five year old and my two year old.
If you are a parent who wants to find a way to successfully discipline your children, and develop responsible, respectful children, this book is a great fit for you! Although Dr. Leman doesn’t completely rule out the use of spanking as a punishment, he qualifies that it should be used only for the most serious offenses, particularly those actions that could endanger the child.
He calls his discipline technique “reality discipline” which, interpreted in my own words basically means – teach your children to make their own decisions, with the understanding that they will be held accountable for their decision. This discipline is based on love and a healthy parent authority, without being autocratic. He bases his discipline on Ephesians 6:1-4 which says: “Children, obey your parents; this is the right thing to do because God has placed them in authority over you. Honor your father and mother. This is the first of God’s Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: that if you honor your father and mother, yours will be a long life, full of blessing.
And now a word to you parents. Don’t keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather, bring them up with the loving discipline the Lord himself approves, with suggestions and godly advice.”
Dr. Leman explains reality discipline and how to carry it out through seven primary principles, and explains that there is no one set solution, much of it is trial and error depending on what works with you as a parent and with your children, but the key to all of it is to “pull the rug out” and make sure the child understands they will be held accountable for their actions.
Dr. Leman provides different scenarios and possible courses of action. In my house, we have a problem at meal time, which, according to this book is a common problem. He discusses this particular problem area and provides the following advice on page 180: “No bribing, rewarding, cajoling, pleading, threatening, screaming, or spanking. Give the child the right to make his own decision and then hold him accountable.” For example, if the child begins to fuss and carry on about the food on his plate, there is no arguing or debate, but calmly tell the child: “This is what we are having for dinner tonight. You may choose to eat it or not eat it, but if you do not eat it, there will be no more food until breakfast.” Then, if the child chooses not to eat, dump their plate in the garbage, (or put away the leftovers) excuse them from the table, and make sure you FOLLOW through with the consequence you stated… no food until breakfast.
I tried it a couple of times and it has worked.
Dr. Leman offers a lot of good advice and scenarios. But the parent really has to be committed to following through with whatever the follow through action will be. He provides plenty of examples and scenarios to help the parent as they implement this plan.
The keys to reality discipline: immediate actions and a willingness to “pull out the rug.”
He also provides chapters for the non traditional families – single parents and blended families, which I thought was a great inclusion.
The book is by no means a “step by step” magic solution of how to get your children to behave, but I did find it to be a really good technique and a great way to teach children accountability and understanding with each action comes a re-action. I am trying to implement this, sometimes with success, sometimes not so much, but I will say I have seen a reduction in power struggles and screaming matches with my children, and I have not had to resort to or threaten to spank my kids since I started reading the book!
Check it out! You can find it on Amazon.com or any other major bookseller.
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