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Children: The Challenge

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  534 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
Children:The Challenge gives the key to parents who seek to build trust and love in their families, and raise happier, healthier, and better behaved children. Based on a lifetime of experience with children--their problems, their delights, their challenges--Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs, one of America's foremost child psychiatrists presents an easy to follow program that teaches pa ...more
Paperback, 335 pages
Published December 26th 1991 by Penguin USA (first published January 1st 1964)
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Christine Shuck
Oct 30, 2009 Christine Shuck rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone, not just parents
Recommended to Christine by: a parenting class
I became a mother at the age of 18. When I first attended a parenting class (when my daughter was two) they recommended this book and I bought it and read it.

Between the class and the book I found myself catapulted on a journey that, 19 years later, I am still enjoying every minute of.

I raised my firstborn by teaching those parenting classes and referring often to the book, reading it over and over again.

My daughter is now 21 and my second child is three years old. I cannot say enough good thing
The best book on parenting ever. When things go poorly, it's simply because I haven't re-read this book recently enough.

october 2011 - rereading this, it is as good as helpful as ever.
Talia Carner
Oct 06, 2011 Talia Carner rated it it was amazing
Be loving but firm.
Parents talk too much. Replace talk with action.
The freedom to wave one's hand stops a few inches from where another's nose begins.

Those are some of the lessons I had learned when rearing my children to be civilized, considerate and compassionate. The world came to their doors, breaking the boundaries which my protective arms wanted to hold fast. I learned from Deirkurs to let that world enter my children's world naturally, without me jumping in to change its rules. I learn
Apr 11, 2008 Shelly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: peruse-regularly
What I learned from this book - how to be a sane parent!

Recently my husband and I were pulling our hair out when our son was being COMPLETELY unconcerned about his school work and we had done everything we knew short of violence to get him back on track. Jon pulled this off the shelf - as we have several times since we took a Driekurs parenting class through our kids montessori pre-school.

It was miraculous - I realized I personally had gotten way too all up in my son's business. I walked in his
May 02, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it
This book was given to me by my mother because it helped her when my sister and I were little girls. I was hesitant at first, because I don't agree with everything in the book. But, it has a lot of very logical ideas for parenting that make sense to me. I have started to put some of them into practice and it is working for me so far. My only criticism is that it is outdated in the situational examples. For instance, it says that if Timmy is not behaving in the grocery store, you should simply re ...more
Arlene Lauper
Jun 09, 2013 Arlene Lauper rated it really liked it
A mother of 11 recommended this book to me. Her children, all grown now, seem to be well adjusted, happy and successful. I asked her what book helped her the most to navigate the stressful "mommy years" and to develop strong problem solving techniques while raising her children. This was the one book she suggested immediately. Although written in 1964, and realizing that some of the scenarios are clearly dated (quite comical actually) , it is a very helpful read. I found that as I applied these ...more
Jan 10, 2011 Mychael-Ann rated it it was amazing
Didn't just read this one, I studied it (even took notes!). Just what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. The old-school style had me laughing in a few places (written in the 60s) but the advice is just as applicable today. Guidance instead of dominance, encouragement instead of criticism, action instead of nagging lectures, natural consequences instead of arbitrary punishments & rewards, kids who settle their own disputes, etc... Lots of changes for the Pelo kids lately and a much mo ...more
Dec 01, 2007 Cathy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
I took a class along with this book and it is life-changing! :) It is a little old fashioned at points and sexist, but look beyond that and the whole concept really works amazingly well. Truely helps you to understand yourself, other adults and your children better. Couldn't be more highly recommended.
Aug 19, 2013 Debra rated it really liked it
While some of the clearly dated scenarios in this book cracked me up, such as the idea that Daddy might scold Mother if he comes home from work to an untidy house and unruly children, it is, overall, progressive in its ideas about creating a loving, respectful family environment. The author's primary premises include the idea that children must learn respect for self, respect for others, and respect for situation. The role of parents is to guide while avoiding power struggles, to provide logical ...more
Feb 19, 2008 Myrtis-eirene rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any parent
Recommended to Myrtis-eirene by: Samantha Coleman
This is by far the BEST book on parenting that I have ever read, both as a parent and as someone who has done graduate studies in psychology.

This book is clear and easy to understand, the advice is easy to implement, and, while this book is very firmly rooted in psychology, it is written plainly and is NOT patronizing or anxiety-provoking for the parent who is at his/her wits-end.

I have read loads and loads of books on the matter from technical texts to practical books written by ordinary peopl
Sep 04, 2012 Jordan rated it liked it
Yes, this book is outdated to a cringe-inducing degree (nuclear family, women's role, heteronormative, ethnocentric)... but it proposed new (to me) and brilliant ideas about parenting.
Jan 04, 2017 Ana rated it it was amazing
I am not a parent, but an educator. This helps me to see some of my students in a whole new light & gave many strategies to how to "deal" with behavior. I love the set up of situations & what was done & what should have been done.
Oct 22, 2009 Alisha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: MOMS
Recommended to Alisha by: my mother
Shelves: self-education
So, firstly I think I should mention that I read the 1964 edition. I think there are a LOT of things in there that he has probably changed with subsequent editions. There were some principle that I definitely agree with (and are predecessors of MANY of the parenting books that are out there NOW), and others... well, not so much. I think some of the methods cannot and should not be applied until a child is older, definitely don't need to apply the one he uses a 3-week old as an example for. NO WA ...more
Ryan Dejonghe
Feb 04, 2014 Ryan Dejonghe rated it it was amazing
This book is about old school parenting that works. I’ve read a number of other parenting books that quote CHILDREN: THE CHALLENGE. Being an older book, it is a bit longer than its more modern counterparts, as well as outdated in parts—but it’s still practical in its use today. If you want a faster summary of this book that feels fresh and easy to remember, then try IF I HAVE TO TELL YOU ONE MORE TIME.

One of the biggest quotes from this book’s over 300 pages is, “never do for children what they
Jul 14, 2011 Kendra rated it it was amazing
This parenting book was written in the 60's. It's a little old fashioned but I think most of the principles still hold true today. In years past, the typical relationship between parents and children was more of a dictatorship. If parents said to do something you did it or you were in big trouble. But as the relationship between parents and children is becoming more democratic, parents aren't quite sure what to do. This book teaches how to improve parent-child relationships and how to win your k ...more
Tanya W
Mar 07, 2010 Tanya W rated it really liked it
This book taught me something that made it a very worthwhile read for me, which was an understanding of why the children of this generation are so much different than we were (as a parent how many times have you lamented to your friends something like... "When I was a child I wouldn't think of disobeying my parents... when they asked me to do something, I did it."). It has to do with the way the world has changed... moving from a once acceptable autocratic family structure to an understanding th ...more
Apr 05, 2016 Mikhaela rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
This is a mixed review. I would give this book 5 stars for the material about avoiding punishment and rewards, respectful and self-confident (not helpless or strict) parenting, encouraging your child's self-concept and independence and responsibility and internal discipline, ending nagging and power struggles, replacing talking/lectures with action, changing the family dynamic, and more.

This book is actually life-changing in that regard--just a few weeks after I started reading it, and the endl
Kendra Lee
Feb 04, 2016 Kendra Lee rated it really liked it
Our family therapist kept cautioning me against getting involved in "power struggles" with my 5 year old. I understood what she meant, but I couldn't envision a way around our struggles. We were in a rut, so she suggested this book. She was spot on in her recommendation; the book completely reshaped the way I think about parenting.

Short synopsis: the home can't be run like a dictatorship. We live in a democratic society. Kids know it. They will rebel if they feel like they are being treated like
Jul 20, 2013 Sinda1 rated it really liked it
Even though this book was written in the 70s I think.( I know it's an older book because of the language being used). Anyway, it was very thorough. The book has different topics for each chapter. Within the chapter they have examples/scenario of the situation. Following the scenarios whether it was good or bad were the solutions. This is probably one of the best parenting book I have read by far. I really like that they stated how we live in a democratic society vs. autocratic. That being said, ...more
The Challenge in parenting, as presented by Rudolf Dreikurs, is democracy. Whereas previous societies were built on hierarchies the current (American) society is founded on egalitarian ideals. This has created problems in the family because children know-at least subconsciously-that they are "equal" with adults; so why should they comply with an adult's wishes. After identifying the challenge Dreikurs presents 34 principles & practices to "win a child's cooperation" each with a chapter prese ...more
Mary Ellen
Nov 29, 2014 Mary Ellen rated it really liked it
This is a great book for understanding why children behave as they do. The discussions on children seeking their roles in families was excellent. The vignettes are a great way to illustrate behaviors and parenting errors. I liked the emphasis on respecting children and the guidance on having Socratic discussions instead of lectures or preaching. For me, the most important concept in the book was, "Take It Easy." The book, published in 1964, was probably considered quite progressive at that time, ...more
Mar 09, 2009 Mom rated it it was amazing
This was a book that I turned to as a reference to help when things were rocky with the children. I'd go to bed, pray about the day and then look up a topic in this book and ponder it. Talk it over with Hubs sleep on it, wake up refreshed and be ready with new hope and resolve to do better the next day.

This is where I learned about the importance of Family Council.

Tom Graff a family psychologist gave a talk at a fireside and recommended it to those in attendance. He said it was important for eac
Feb 04, 2011 Kate rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting-books
I loved this book. I haven't read a ton of parenting books yet, but this is my favorite one so far. As many others mentioned, it has a lot of outdated examples that aren't really applicable today, and there's a lot of mention of whipping or hitting children (though those are generally the "what not to do" examples). However, the philosophy of the book is so prevalent on each page that I was able to see other ways to deal with problems in a way that works today. I loved the idea of creating confi ...more
Jun 21, 2011 Carol rated it really liked it
good parenting book--based on the precedence that children are treated as equals not "below" adults in modern society as opposed to the "old days." We do often reflect in society how children used to mind the adults and were polite and well behaved and now the opposite is true. We are no longer an inclusive trusting society. We have to teach our children to be scared of other adults in many situations not to be mindful and polite for fear of kidnapping and abuse. Overall, compelling and useful f ...more
Nov 12, 2011 Kristin rated it liked it
I checked this book out from the library to get help with potty training. It was an interesting read. I can understand the author's viewpoint in theory, but doubt he was a full-time, stay at home care giver. Also, it was also written back in the 50's when you could leave your kids in the car while you grocery shopped or let them walk home alone. That being said, reading the book did help me to take a step back and look at some things I could do differently. Overall, I think I'm a better parent f ...more
Marika Alexander
Sep 26, 2012 Marika Alexander rated it it was amazing
This book was published in 1964 so a lot of terms and ideas are quite archane. Yet, I consider this to be a groundbreaking book and very helpful in explaining that rewards and punishments do not work as the best way to teach a child. This book teaches a way to help teach a child about natural consequences and Reality, while striving to maintain the dignity of both parent and child. Any fans of parenting such as Supernanny will see many of those ideas explored here. Highly recommended read for an ...more
Mar 27, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
My mother in law had this laying around and I took it to read, it clearly is an old book. Lots of the examples are very outdated for example "the child is misbehaving in the grocery store so leave them in the car". A few things I disagreed with like "mother died, I don't feel sorry for you, don't feel sorry for yourself, go ahead with chores today" but it is a pretty good read and i agree with most of it. Lots of good examples of what to do in situations. Makes you see and re think things you no ...more
Nov 24, 2013 stacy rated it it was amazing
Other reviewers have explained this one in detail. Recommended to me by our montessori parent educator.

Some brief notes...
-As close to a users manual as I have come. Wish I had read it much sooner.
-MUST overlook the outdated 1960s-era examples and reimagine using situations from your own life.
-Subjects including natural consequences, supporting independence, and reducing / eliminating power struggles are in keeping with a montessori-inspired lifestyle.
Jan 11, 2009 Kristin rated it liked it
This is a good parenting book, but probably not the best one I have read (Parenting with Love and Logic is still at the top of the list.) It had great things to work on as a parent and things I need reminders of to do and not to do. I just wish the book offered more specific ideas on how and what to do in certain situations. It talked a lot about not what to do, but I needed more of what would be the correct solution in the problem. Still, I got a lot out of it.
Nov 28, 2014 alwz rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating read. Definitely a glimpse into a different era, but full of practical, no nonsense parenting advice. I was occasionally taken aback by some of the outdated advice on infant feeding, etc, but thought it was a great insight into parenting mindfully and with consideration for children as autonomous human beings with thoughts, emotions and the ability to be responsible for their actions.
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