Elizabeth's Reviews > Honey, I Wrecked the Kids: When Yelling, Screaming, Threats, Bribes, Timeouts, Sticker Charts and Removing Privileges All Don't Work

Honey, I Wrecked the Kids by Alyson Schafer
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Sep 07, 12

bookshelves: _parenting-and-learning-theory

Ah, parenting books. I think these are hard to rate and review. Mostly because, as with everything in parenting, you have to find what works for your family. That being said I liked this book. Alyson Schafer lays out her democratic parenting style in which parents release tasks and freedoms to their children with the expectation that children will handle them with responsibility. As soon as children do not manage their lives with responsibility parents step in and help. Families are encouraged to use family meetings to create limits, rules, and routines that work for them. The idea behind all this being that by including your children in family decisions and limit-setting they will have buy-in and be more likely to follow the rules and respect the boundaries. Ms. Schafer identifies four different types of behaviors that children engage in (attention seeking, power struggles, revenge, and avoidance) and helps you identify them and then gives you strategies for dealing with them, both in the short- and long-term.
This type of parenting works really well with my own values and personality. I am comfortable with more autonomy in my household than some people may be. That is something you would have to decide for yourself, but if you do agree, or find yourself agreeing with the basic ideas here, I would highly recommend the book. I think the other important point to make is you can take ideas from the book that work for you/your family and use them and discard the rest. I would guess that it works better as a whole, but not necessarily, especially if other aspects of your parenting work really well. I think that is the approach I will be taking.
I never felt that Ms. Schafer advocated letting children make all the rules and decisions in a family (she actually says this will create power struggles of a certain kind), but I can see how someone may read it that way and if implemented incorrectly, it could easily turn into that. You may also find this book lacking in strategies for dealing with specific behaviors (it's more of an over-arching method book). If you like her parenting style I would refer you to her next book Ain't Misbehavin' which does deal with specific problems.
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