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

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  724 ratings  ·  165 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...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 25th 2001 by Harmony
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Erica Rhodes
While I do have to admit that this book has it's benefits, I think there are better books on the topic of raising children out there. I did give it a fair shake, and at first I expected to be pleasantly surprised by the content. Unfortunately, some of the examples made me positively twitch.

This book was given to me a few years back by my grandmother. She and I do not see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, so I expected this book to be about handing out harsh punishments and keeping kids strictly in...more
Kat
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...more
Kristie
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...more
Tara
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.
Katie Coleman
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 ki...more
Laura
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...more
Jen Goddeeris
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 fig...more
Karen Mahtin
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...more
Audra
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.
Beth
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
Nikki Morse
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!
Jennifer Manning
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.
Alisa
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.
Jill
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!
Ashima
helpful. Helped me see ways in which I was not communicating effectively. He takes a while to get to the point but this provides some very helpful techniques that i have been using and that work!
Nancy Sharp
This book made a lot of sense to me and I found myself making notes throughout. I recognized myself, my husband, and my strong-willed son in these pages, and came away with pragmatic solutions to try and eliminate the conflict in our home. It was particularly fascinating to turn the spotlight on myself - to determine whether my parenting is permissive, punitive, or both -- and think hard about the reactions those styles produce. Robert MacKenzie argues for a democratic, respectful approach albei...more
Kristen
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
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...more
Tracyesine
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...more
Crystal
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...more
Maria
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...more
Jessica
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...more
Tammy
I struggle with all parenting books because I finish reading them and still feel like I don't know what to do with my child. I am a strong-willed parent of a strong-willed 10-year-old boy. This book gave me a few ideas of things to say and do.

It said that strong-willed children need to experience consequences before learning the lesson. The example was that you can't just say not to kick the soccer ball in the house, a strong-willed child will do it anyway. They need to have the ball taken away...more
Beth A.
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...more
Erika
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,...more
Russell
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 re-wi...more
Angela
I have read parenting book after parenting book, trying to figure out how to communicate boundaries to my strong-willed son. So far, this book is the best that I have found. It's about how to talk with strong-willed children (different than talking with compliant, easy-going children by the way), and how to mitigate those power struggles that sap our energy. It is not full of sticker charts and other behavior modification tools that are difficult to buy into fully or sustain over time. Instead,...more
Elizabeth
Sis-in-law was reading this so I scanned it in one day while at the in-laws.
Good things to keep in mind:
Keep clear limits, let your no mean no not maybe or sometimes, don't be angry to too emotional.
Also good vocab and way to look at things:
strong willed children are aggressive researchers and need lots of hard data to know if a limit is a real limit, therefore its not a bad thing when you have to implement a consequence (which was a big deal, setting clear consequences, that are linked to the b...more
Amberlori
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...more
Meghan
As a child, my sister and I had free reign. Both parents worked, and looking back it almost seems, at times, as though we raised ourselves.

My own married-with-children life is very different. With a child who pushes every rule, I found myself completely at a loss. I had no effective disciplinary style to draw on, and I was constantly worried that I would go to far.

This book was not the best one I picked up, but it does tell the parent that it's ok to hold the line and expect even combative child...more
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Struggling Teen Help 2 5 Feb 16, 2013 03:20PM  
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