Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Your Competent Child: Toward New Basic Values For The Family” as Want to Read:
Your Competent Child: Toward New Basic Values For The Family
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Your Competent Child: Toward New Basic Values For The Family

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,424 ratings  ·  113 reviews
In this important book, Jesper Juul argues that today's families are at an exciting crossroads. The destructive values that governed traditional hierarchical, authoritarian families are being transformed.Instead we can choose to embrace a new set of values based on the assumption that families must be built not on authoritarian force or democratic tyranny but on dignity an ...more
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published April 23rd 2001 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 1995)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Your Competent Child, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Your Competent Child

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,424 ratings  ·  113 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Your Competent Child: Toward New Basic Values For The Family
Pontus Liljeblad
Aug 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having recently (two years ago) become a first time parent and being an academic and theoretician by birth and unimpeded habit I "read up" on how to parent by reading mostly everything without (much) prejudice.

I would like to recommend parents to avoid this. I would also like to recommend parents to avoid recommendations. Read if you must, but vary the sources of your advice, draw your own and as few conclusions as possible and apply what feels natural in your new parental role toward your typic
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What I love about this book is that is not written as a practical guide, like the most family/parenting books. It doesn’t tell us how to raise our children, but how to see them, get to know them and understand them. It gives us the choice to embrace the great new values and helps the growth of not just the child but the whole family.
Aug 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is sometimes simplistic or maybe you struggle a bit to get what the Danish author is saying. But somewhere along the line it grabbed me and drew me into its premise -- seeing the damage wrought by parental control over children, at the expense of good relationship. I found myself really interested in understanding and trying to put into use the better ways Juuls suggests of being in relationship with children. "Children Cooperate" is one of this book's main points, ...more
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish this was compulsory reading for any person that are involved with children, but it is really a good read for anyone in an authoritative position. Communicating well and learning to understand and respect other people can only help you become a better person.
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must for every child and parent. This book explains how we screw up with good intentions. Then the book gives clear advice on how to be a better person to yourself, to your children, to partners and parents. The feelings do not hurt, the words and actions do.
Elly (Schrody)
Recommend every parent, kindergarden (pre-school)teacher, and teacher in general. This book was an eye opener for me.
John J. Camilleri
I'm a bit sceptical of psychology in general and as such this book did nothing to change that. Defining the different kinds of "integrity" and "responsibility" as if our personalities can be so easily dissected does not really convince me. There are numerous example dialogues where we are told that changing a few words will make all the difference between good parenting and bad parenting.

That being said, I did appreciate the overall message of the book, which is that we need to respect the integ
Siniša Hajnal
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parents of all ages
Recommended to Siniša by: A friend
After only two weeks of using some of the advice from the books, my kids and I work more easily together. Highly recommended for all parents even those have everything under control. You might be surprised and recognize yourself in one of the chapters.
Apr 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a parent, or going to be, or a brother/sister, or a teacher, you should read this.
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read it in German: Dein kompetentes Kind. It was an interesting journey to read all his thoughts and gave me personally a lot of new ideas how to raise my children. But not only for my family life.
I work in a crèche and many of his ideas also work there - especially all about how you talk to a child and how you interact with it.
I really like many of his ideas and what I like best: you can use them in your daily life, it is not just a theory. I will now go for his new book I guess...
What does it mean to be a parent? This book summarizes the Scandinavian way of raising children (or at least what is supposed to be Scandinavian correct way of raising children). It is a punch in the face of "command and control" way of raising kids that most of the people of my generation are raised under. Children are not stupid, and they are not mini versions of grown-ups neither. ...more
This books reaches far beyond relationship with children. It has definitely helped me understand myself much better and improve my relationship with the loved ones. Jesper Juul breaks it down for you using situations from everyday family life that you can't but recognize yourself. This book helped me become more authentic and made my family much happier. ...more
Sally Tsang
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really opened my eyes to a different way of thinking about parenting. Not that revolutionary in some ways perhaps, but a subtle shift in attitude and perspective, that has already changed the way I parent. Of course like all parenting books, don't agree with 100% - but what I have gotten out of it has been extremely valuable. Highly recommended. ...more
Val Mullally
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Juul's book articulates the paradigm shift that occurred in my own understanding of what it means to be a Parent. At times the English translation doesn't make for easy reading, however I still give this book 5 stars because it brings a message I wish every parent (and every person concerned about creating happy, healthy society) would reflect upon. ...more
Frank Calberg
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Takeaways from reading the book:

What can children do themselves?
- Page 96: As children continuously challenge beliefs, boundaries, values and emotions of people, they help everyone around them grow.
- Page 107: A child is responsible herself / himself for what she or he senses. For example, a child is reponsible for what she or he thinks tastes / smells / sounds / looks good or bad.
- Page 107: A child is responsible for emotions, which he or she feels.
- Page 107: When children grow older, they
Karsten W.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1) Childrens cooperate, even when they cra or when they are aggressive.
2) There is an inner quality "self-esteem", which is nutured by being seen and by being experienced/witnessed as precious the way we are, and there is an outer, acquired quality "self-confidence", which is nutured by praise and critique. The difference between both is the difference between existence and performance.
3) Successfully setting limits typically requires a passive part, where we describe the situation and our feeli
Maciek Wilczyński
If you're a parent, future parent, plan to become a parent in some time - read it. Full stop.

Written in 1995 (sic!) and still so little things have changed: beating and drilling children, undermining their self-esteem, ensuring they do everything to please others and not themselves. In general, book describes what you should do and shouldn't do as a parent. It is also very mind-bending when it comes to thinking about children. Loved the real-life examples from the author's practice.

One of the
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Learning points for each leading (instead of controlling) parent:
* " don't be worry when children are doing bad, be scared that they are observing (and learning from) you"
* evolution of bringing-up the children (now I know how it comes to a lot of millennials in our society, why a child can gain depression, etc)
* what's necessary to bring-up a life-prepared-adult
* respectful, loving, positive parenting - why and how to do it

Thank you Jesper Juul for this so many handful lessons!
Jul 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a precedent. It's the first time I give up on a book and put it down before finishing it. As well as first time I ever reward a single star.

I've read some poor works before, but at least they had enough value to finish them, while ignoring an undercurrent of disappointment.

Maybe it was just the translation in Bulgarian that sucked.
Eva Ziaka
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book that for sure I will read again and see things from a different point of view while my child grows up. Very interesting, to the point and written in a very simple way. I wasn't lost at all in theories. Reading this book really makes you understand some things, unnoticed since then, for your children. ...more
Monica Sheldon
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lots of really good advice for moving towards a respectful way of relating to children: communicating, setting and enforcing limits, gaining respect and cooperation without violating their personal integrity. Especially helpful if you were raised in an externally controlled, authoritarian environment where you weren't able to develop these attitudes and skills. ...more
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author's thesis is that children, contrary to adults' conviction, are naturally collaborative and competent. After reading this book, as a mother I feel that being truly respectful to children shall permit us to assume a less stressfull and opressive parenthood. ...more
Balint Erdi
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a good book that I'd recommend to other parents, too. I'm happy I've read it because it did contain great pieces of advice. Some highlights were the concept of "equal dignity" within the family, why giving everything to the child is bad for them and the concept of assigning personal responsibility to the child (areas where he can make decisions on his own but should also bear the consequences) as a way to grow. I only gave it three stars because the first half of the book wasn't really tell ...more
Eriyna Losphona
Interesting ideas, and very simple fast reading. made me think about simple and basic parenting in new ways.
horrible editing though. way too many typos. strange repetitions. examples were often simplistic and condescending.
Iva Pirincheva
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would much prefer if a book would state an idea once instead of tedious repetition. Other than that I find the book very helpful for my interaction with children and adults. As a matter of fact it helped me realize reasons for my behavior as well.
Ieva Andersone
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read many parenting books. This probably is one is the best. It does not teach, does not preach, just invites to be true and open to yourself and your child. To take your child as equally competent and valuable human being. Very inspiring and encouraging approach.
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit, this book is one of the best I read in this context. It helped me to re-think my parenting style a lot and improved my awareness to respect the integrity of my kids.
This book reflected patterns I got from my parents as well.
Mia Gutkovas
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I really like and agree about Juuls ideas about parenting, and the message of the book is really good. However, I found the examples a bit simplistic and random. Also, it annoyed me quite a bit that there were typos on basically every single page.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baby-books
I'm sure this is basically a really good and worthy book, but to me, I just couldn't get into it, and I would be lying if I said I found it interesting, sorry ... ...more
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may be the most important book I have ever read!
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Tears and Tantrums: What to Do When Babies and Children Cry
  • No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame
  • Il n'y a pas de parents parfaits
  • Med känsla för barns självkänsla
  • O să te țin în brațe cât vrei tu și încă o secundă
  • Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children
  • Copilul invizibil
  • My Child Won't Eat: How to Prevent and Solve the Problem
  • Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage with Life
  • Pokora
  • Playful Parenting
  • Föda utan rädsla
  • Powrót z Bambuko
  • Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
  • Cele 3 nevoi psihologice de baza ale copiilor si 18 tehnici antidot care reduc stresul parintilor
  • A ja żem jej powiedziała...
  • Au coeur des émotions de l'enfant , Comprendre son langage, ses rires et ses pleurs
  • The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids
See similar books…
Jesper Juul (1948 - 2019) was a Danish family therapist and author and a renowned international authority on the family. In his book Your Competent Child (1995, in English 2001) he argued that today's families are at an exciting crossroads because the destructive values — obedience, physical and emotional violence, and conformity — that governed traditional hierarchical families are being transfor ...more

Related Articles

  Luvvie Ajayi Jones—author, cultural critic, digital entrepreneur—might be best described as a professional truthteller. Her crazily popular...
50 likes · 0 comments
“Integrity and self-esteem are related. The more successfully parents look after a child’s integrity, the greater the possibility that the child will develop healthy self-esteem.” 7 likes
“We often imagine that we’ll develop more quickly if conflicts reach a conclusion, but this is rarely the case. Often the quest for resolution” 1 likes
More quotes…