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Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child: Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  1,375 Ratings  ·  219 Reviews
In this fully revised and expanded second edition, Setting Limits author Robert MacKenzie is back with even more time-proven methods for dealing with misbehavior and creating positive, respectful, and rewarding relationships with children prone to acting out and disobedience.

Disruptive misbehavior, constant power struggles, manipulative or aggressive behavior--the challeng
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 25th 2001 by Harmony
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kat
Jan 30, 2009 Kat rated it really liked it
Not that I'm a strong-willed person with a strong-willed oldest child (cough)....

I really, really would recommend this book to anyone who has any sort of discipline issues with any child in their life. Seriously, it's very instructive. Jeremy and I were already doing this method with Ben about half of the time, but hadn't realized that it was the magic bullet of discipline happiness until I started reading this book and tried to use it all of the time. It's been wonderful.

Basically, the idea is
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Kristie
Dec 03, 2008 Kristie rated it it was amazing
One of the few books that actually changed my life. For three years I had a "compliant" child and then along came his brother. My husband and I were frustrated with his behavior and we couldn't understand why he just wouldn't listen to us like his brother.

This book clearly explained our son's behavior and helped us to change our expectations, which made all of us happier. It also gave us practical instructions for changing our behavior and our son's.

Within one week, we were a much, much, happier
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Tara
Aug 21, 2008 Tara rated it it was amazing
Perhaps the best parenting book I've read...very clear, precise instructions on how to set limits and stick to them. I identified myself as setting "soft" limits with my kids too often, and now I understand how to be more "firm" but not harsh. I really needed this book, as I have strong-willed children that like to test boundaries.
Nikki Morse
Jan 17, 2013 Nikki Morse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
I highly, highly recommend this book for anyone parenting or working with children who are strong willed. It discusses ineffective parenting styles such as being too permissive or being too harsh, and explores a better model based on clear communication and action follow ups. Let's see how it goes implementing, but I really learned a lot from it!
Laura
Jul 19, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have three strong-willed children, which isn’t too surprising as they have two strong-willed parents. I liked the subtitle of this book which is “eliminating conflict by establishing clear, firm, and respectful boundaries.” I hate conflict so eliminating it sounded great to me.

The book explains the “family dance” which is when your kids discover that you are going to tell them a million times to do something, so they don’t do it, which enrages you, and things quickly go downhill. MacKenzie gav
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Beth
Apr 05, 2014 Beth rated it it was amazing
I found this book utterly amazing. Robert MacKenzie knows exactly what he's talking about when it comes to strong-willed children and how to effectively shape and guide their temperament in the right direction. My oldest son is almost 4 years old. I wouldn't say he is the most stong-willed child there is (half the time he is the sweetest boy in the world) but he has definitely learned -from us, his parents- that he can get away with defiance. We tried every approach we could think of to stop him ...more
Katie Coleman
Jan 04, 2012 Katie Coleman rated it really liked it
I bought this for my toddler who was in the midst of the terrible twos, but as I read through it I realized that all children are strong-willed at times, and it really helped me with all of them. This book, to me, was like a best friend whispering in your ear, reminding you of all the things you *know* you should do as a parent but forget in the midst of conflict. It is PRACTICAL. I have read books that encourage you to talk things out with your child more than this one does, but the older my ...more
Karen Mahtin
May 03, 2014 Karen Mahtin rated it liked it
Shelves: toddler
This book has some good points about getting (older) kids to follow thru on things you want them to do, but... the author seems to think that all strong-willed kids are doing is testing to see at what point the parent will make them stop doing unwanted behaviors. I think that there is a certain amount of impulsivity (lack of impulse control?) that makes kids do things without thinking - it's not always a conscious desire to rebel or "aggressively research" parents' boundaries.

The book is written
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Jen Goddeeris
Mar 02, 2012 Jen Goddeeris rated it really liked it
Knowing what to do as a parent of a "strong-willed" and being able to do are two VERY different things. I read this book on my almost 4 year old son's pediatrician's recommendation. It helps give parents the tools to be able to do what we know we should doing and more importantly how to not get wrapped up in the "dance"we do with our strong-willed children. It involves realizing what kind a person you are, strong-willed or compliant and how to relate to your strong-willed child. It helps you ...more
Mary
Dec 23, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing
This is a great resource for simple discipline methods, many of which we probably already know, but, if you're like me, fail to implement much of the time. This, along with "You Can't Make Me, But I Can Be Persuaded", I intend to buy and reread on a regular basis as reminders. There were a few little things about this book that bugged me, namely the pointless drawings and text boxes that only re-state a sentence that was already on the page to begin with. But I can overlook those and I still got ...more
Audra
Aug 20, 2010 Audra rated it really liked it
This book is very much like Love and Logic, except that it goes even further where L&L left off.
The first half of the book was a lot of regurgitated fluff, but had occasional "AHA!" statements that rang very true. The second half was most helpful, giving practical and sensible guidelines for how to live by and enforce the limits you set for your strong willed children. I would definitely recommend this along with L&L, both "must reads" for your parenting library collection.
Jennifer Manning
Jul 24, 2009 Jennifer Manning rated it really liked it
I really really liked this parenting book. It is probably one of my favorites. I don't know if I agree with everything he says but having a very strong-willed child myself it really helped me appreciate Caleb more and not get into so many battles with him. I feel like a better parent and feel like I understand Caleb better.
Jill
Feb 21, 2008 Jill rated it it was amazing
This is such a great book for effectively communicating with strong-willed children. It taught me how to use more effective words and teaching methods. There has definitely been less frustration around my house since I have read this book!
Alisa
May 23, 2010 Alisa rated it really liked it
This has been one of my favorite parenting books. It has helped me get right to the point and not drag the drama on and on without having to get angry or lecture. It helped me find my parenting style. I need a re-read now that my children are a few years older.
Crystal
Nov 08, 2013 Crystal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read James Dobson's The New Strong Willed Child and wrote about it here.
I felt like that book didn't offer me any great suggestions or tips, so I was a bit apprehensive of what I would learn from another type of book like this.
BUT I am so happy that I picked this one up next because it was the EXACT OPPOSITE.
This book is a real winner.
I learned SO much.
I HIGHLY recommend reading this book, and not necessarily just for strong willed kids.
This book has some WONDERFUL tips and guidelines for rais
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Adam
Nov 23, 2016 Adam rated it really liked it
This is a brilliant book for this age, and it appears to apply to dealing with badly behaved adults in the workplace as much as with difficult children!

There are a few things that bothered me about the book - the patronizing tone, the imagined children's responses and the illustrations that often push the boundaries of credulity - but the message is clear and it makes perfect sense. Even though my child hasn't yet produced his first word, he's already proving to be a boundary tester and the book
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Andrea
I realized partway through reading this it has been a long time since I read any parenting books, probably because it has been a long time since I've read much at all.
I liked reading about the concept of hard way learners and data collecting because I think that helps me understand some of what my kids are doing. It also makes me think that some of the things that seem like failing are actually success.
It made me feel good about the things I already do and gave me ideas for how to have a more c
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Erika
Jul 02, 2010 Erika rated it it was amazing
I thought this was an excellent book full of solid, practical advice to effectively and positively disciplining children. It is targeted for ages 3 to 12. My toddler is almost three and likes to push the limits and test me and this book gave me great suggestions on how to set limits with him.

Outline of main points below that I quickly typed up as notes, so I can refer back. Feel free to read if you are interested.
Ways parents teach rules:

Punitive approach – based on fear, excessive punishment,
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Beth A.
Jul 18, 2009 Beth A. rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, parenting
This book was a quick, entertaining read with lots of descriptive examples that keep it interesting and help you see how MacKenzie’s method works. It goes well with my favorite parenting book, Taking Charge Caring Discipline That Works at Home and at School.

This book says that some children are strong willed due to temperament differences. Others may be compliant and obey your rules just because they want to please you, but strong willed children need to be shown that you mean what you say thro
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Kristen
Jun 10, 2014 Kristen rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing parenting resource for families with strong-willed children. Though just about every principle set forth in the book is common-sense, the compilation of all the methods all together, in one place is refreshing for any parent who is at wit's end! I love the idea of my strong-willed child being a aggressive researcher ... not naughty! Strong willed children are not trying to be difficult, they are simply collecting data. As parents, we are responsible for providing this data by ...more
Shirley
Aug 12, 2016 Shirley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
My son had been driving me and my husband to the brink of insanity with his temper and misbehavior when I found this book and thought what perfect timing! We have tried different methods of disciplining him: positive reinforcement, time-outs, taking away his toys, etc. but he is still such a stubborn child who loves to push our buttons! We are now trying out the methods described in this book and although it has been a slow process, we are doing our best to work with our "strong-willed" son!

Rea
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Frank Becker
Dec 01, 2014 Frank Becker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Das Buch hat mir geholfen, "Fehler" in meinem Erzeihungsverhalten zu sehen. Das ist vielleicht auch einer der wichtigsten Punkte; nämlich eben nicht funktionierendes Verhalten bei sich selbst zu erkennen - um dann eben effektiver reagieren und agieren zu können.
Weiterhin bietet das Buch eine Reihe von Werzeugen, besser mit seinem Kind klarzukommen bzw. dem Kind seine Regeln deutlich zu machen und eine Einhaltung für das Kind schmackhafter zu machen (ohne zu bestechen oder zu drohen...). Nichts d
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Izabelle
Jul 19, 2016 Izabelle rated it really liked it
At the time I came across this book I was unaware that there was such a thing as a strong willed child who learned and reacted differently to everyday rules than the average compliant child. I just thought my oldest daughter was a well behaved child and my son was just a difficult child.
Now I have a better understanding of him and the way he learns. I have put a few of Mackenzie's techniques into practice and I know we have a long way to go, but we are going in the right direction.
This book is
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Tracyesine
Feb 12, 2016 Tracyesine rated it it was amazing
This is the best book about child-rearing I've ever read. It should not be reserved for parents who believe their children are unusually strong-willed; the techniques are useful for all parents. The chapter about "family dances" is especially useful. The gist is, if parents would simply cut out the weak and emotional speeches (nagging, bargaining, reminding, etc.) they make between instruction and consequence, compliance would come more quickly and they would be 1,000 times happier.

The only thi
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Russell
Mar 26, 2013 Russell rated it it was amazing
This book was a huge answer to prayer, research and an anchor to re-establishing a major relationship with one of my pre-teen children. In my experience I found the content to be quite solid, and even though the writing has just a slight amount of fluff, the value far exceeds those light-y segments. It took a lot of introspection on my part to realize that I was contributing to the repeated issues we were experiencing, but with the help of the book I was able to analyze my approach(es) and ...more
Jessica
Apr 07, 2013 Jessica rated it it was amazing
I'm still not sure if Jackson is definitely 'strong willed' or if we just haven't been consistent enough, but I found this book helpful.

The info. in it is similar to that found in other parenting books...the basic plan for parenting is stop your child when they are misbehaving, have them/help them come up with alternative correct behaviors they could do, give them the chance to make the choice to do the correct thing, and use consequences (natural, logical, or time out) if they still don't. And
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Tammy
Aug 06, 2014 Tammy rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting, self-help
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maria
Jan 23, 2012 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
It may just be a case of getting my hands on the right book at the right time, but this is the most useful parenting book I have ever read.

Mackenzie explains that strong-willed children are aggressive researchers, collecting data on which limits they need to observe. Being inconsistent about the limits you set sends the children out to collect more data (i.e., test your limits further). His explanation made something click with me and I find myself trying harder than ever to be consistent. I am
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Amberlori
Nov 09, 2012 Amberlori rated it liked it
This book offered some interesting insights into the "dance" that we, as parents, do with our kids when trying to get them to cooperate with us. Whether it's getting dressed, eating dinner, stopping a bad behaviour, we all have been guilty of talking too much and doing too little. So, in that aspect, this book opened my eyes and made me more aware of how much talking I was doing and how little response I was getting as a result.

However, I felt the book didn't offer enough concrete suggestions. H
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Kathie
Feb 02, 2011 Kathie rated it really liked it
I knew my parenting was inconsistent and obviously not working. She has only really been showing her "strong will" to an impossible degree within the past three months and I was at a loss. My daughter is a lot like I was as a child, so I knew I was in for quite a ride if I didn't get it under control at an early age.

This book felt like it was written for us. We were totally using "mixed discipline" and this was an eye-opener. She is not a "bad" kid, in fact she is delightful most of the time. B
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