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Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm, and Connected

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  618 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
“I trust Susan Stiffelman with my heart, my family, and my community. She knows that what goes on in my home every day is brutal and beautiful and hard and holy. She understands that while we are raising our children, we are still raising ourselves.” —Glennon Doyle Melton, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love Warrior

From a family therapist, parenting expert and res
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Atria Books (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Marci
Sep 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can only do a chapter a day on this. I figure if the suggestions don't work I can always throw the book at them!! :)
Alison
Apr 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
I love to read this book before falling asleep at night. It clears my head. Her parenting style is one of love and kindness and focusing on the emotional needs of kids. That style reminds me of John Gottman's Emotion Coaching.
She has taken ideas from cognitive therapy and put it into other ways of looking at it, some easier and some more complicated than plain old cognitive therapy. I like her "little fear guy" that puts negative thoughts into everyone's head.
I had not heard of the stages of
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Gail
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Susan Stiffelman seems to be a wonderful therapist with a talent for generating specific, feasible strategies for caregivers in need of guidance; her book, however, adds little to the parenting advice genre.

In order to create joyful, resilient kids, Stiffelman urges parents to take a “Captain of the Ship” role which derives unwavering authority from a foundation of empathy-based parenting. Her approach essentially combines “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child” – the empathy bible – and “Par
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Tracy
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good stuff. This book has a lot of the same concepts as the How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk series, which I am also enjoying. I have tried some of the strategies suggested with good success so far. In particular, I have focused on listening when my kids are complaining about something simply with empathy and without judgement or giving advice or trying to dispute their claims. This small change seems to have improved my relationship with each of my 3-kids already. Th ...more
Laura
Jan 23, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-books
OH MAN.
I give this book 4 stars for the parenting advice. Really great metaphors on being captain of the ship, staying calm, and assessing parenting decisions.

I give this book ZERO STARS once it launched into denying ADD as an actual condition. Kids with ADHD are not "ADD-ish" who need diet changes and exercise. I put it down at this point.

Anyone who is a medical professional working with children should not discard DECADES of scientific evidence. Don't get me started on the statistics of issue
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Lindsey
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I admit I was skeptical when I started this book. I am accustomed to books that are stories, with space ships, interesting characters, gun fights, intrigue, and even romance. This book doesn't have a single action scene in the entire thing. But, it has a lot of useful ideas about how to connect with your child in order to teach them independance, emotional health, and thus, how to avoid the path to chronic difficult behavior. Also, she emphasises the importance of parents being emotionally healt ...more
Kate Winsor
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. She even quoted and uses the work of Byron Katie, who I love, so it made it that much better for me. Many parenting books give the same advice but what I loved about this book is that it gave specific examples on how to deal with certain situations and many of the examples were things that I've needed advice about. So it was helpful to see what I should be doing.
Kate Hyde
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
This was just the book I needed at just the right time. I love that the focus is on connecting with your kids, rather than disciplining them. I think all parents would love a quick fix when it comes to our children's tantrums or disobedience, but the truth is, my 5-year-old daughter gives me much less trouble when we are really connected with each other. I've starting planning a mommy/daughter date with her at least once a month (the last two have been McDonald's and then a movie, and Chuck E Ch ...more
Kara
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book if you are struggling with a busy life and an unhappy child. However, the book could be summed up in a few key points: claim your authority as a parent, come alongside your child and help him/her work through difficult emotions, and embrace that children need to learn to accept disappointment and frustrations. It is your job as a parent to guide your child through those disappointments, not fix them or lecture your child on what they could do better. There are a few helpful t ...more
Jalal Almarhoon
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
كتاب الاخصائية في العلاج التربوي سوزان ستيفلمان جيد بشكل عام.

يدعوك لأخذ دورك كقبطان للسفينة، مراقباً لسلوكك، محافظاً على هدوءك، ظابطاً لانفعالاتك، محباً لأبنائك - بذلك تتجنب "الصراع على السلطة" معهم... ما أسهل ذلك!!

لكن ما لايدرك كله، لا يترك جله..

يحاول الكتاب أن يقترح بعض التطبيقات العملية، لكن يعترف أن الأمر ليس بالسهل.

اعتقد أن الكتاب يستحق المراجعة.

هذا الكتاب يكمّل كتابها الآخر
حضور الأبوة :تمارين من أجل تربية أولاد واعين ومهتمين وواثقين
يشرح النقاط المختصرة هناك ويختصر ما تم شرحه في الكتاب
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Megan
Nov 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This might have been more profound if I hadn't recently read the Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids book, which covers a lot of the same material, but goes about it a little differently. I did get some helpful tips about making kids more cooperative, and I find that reading any decent parenting book helps me refocus my energy. The captain of the ship analogy works well up to the point when she says the kids are the passengers--more like crew members whom I need to keep from mutinying! She undermines he ...more
Valerie Butera
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was unsure whether this book would be right for me with my daughter still being so young (3), but oh my goodness was is useful. I highly recommend this to parents with children of any age. I don't exactly know how to describe it, but Susan provides so much advice, so many tools, and thinks about the whole child and how to help him or her find happiness in life. That's all I want for my daughter and I believe this book provided tremendous guidance for helping me get her there.
Alicia
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pleasant surprise that I found while looking for a different parenting book. Usually parenting books have to drill into the reader that theirs is the best technique and why you must read this book (I'm already reading your book, just get on with it!). I didn't feel that with this book and most of her philosophies are in harmony with my own. I felt like I got some good, concrete tools from this book, although its mostly targeted for children older than mine.
Linden
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
I didn't love this book, but I did get a lot out of it. The writing style is a bit repetitive and even condescending, but the message resonated with me. In the weeks since I started this book, I have found myself using some of the strategies and suggestions, with surprisingly good results. It's just a different way to think about the parent/child relationship.
Dani
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book felt targeted towards the tween stage. She teaches strategies on being the captain of the ship, reclaiming power in relationship with children. I'll reread in 5-8 years. Takeaways: Getting to know our kids through conversations without judging or offering advice. A mother cannot fulfill all of her child's needs. Kids need to learn frustration in order to adapt - let kids express tears, frustration. Child needs to fully feel sadness before they can move on. Act 1: sympathy noises, aww honey, ...more
Amy Griffin
Aug 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I like the concepts in this book but there are many many books with similar ideas that I prefer. I'm not sure people with one child should write parenting books. By her own admission, her son vastly changed her outlook on parenting. Another child with a different personality may have given her a less rigid and know it all attitude.
Vgathright
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of two go to parenting books for me. I listened to a conference hosted by Susan Stiffelman on raising teens and I love her approach. It's a very loving, understanding, connecting approach. Trying to understand the behavior and needs of our kids rather than just getting them to conform. Especially helpful for raising teens.
Jason Röhde
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Solid 4 stars. Some sage advice that should be helpful with my kids. I like her approach, it's very mindful and tries to picture things from a child's perspective. The analogy about school can feel to children as if we are forced to go do taxes day in and day out resonated with me and will help with my approach to dealing with school related issues that arise.

Kacie
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I selected this book with one child in mind,but I gained insights for all of my children and myself. didn't care for some of the syrupy sweet example dialogue because that just feels unnatural to me. didn't agree with all points, but as with any self help book, take what works and leave the rest.
Rebecca
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great parenting book, I'm left with a lot of great ideas to think about and try.
Crystal
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has extremely useful tools for relating with your child. I found it very helpful (I listened to it on Hoopla) and will now buy it in order to keep it as a reference.
Ashley Katsuyama
Solid, middle of the road, parenting approach. I liked how the author gave a lot of examples on how to implement her strategies. I feel like I got a few really strong takeaways from this, but it lacked any information on how to handle your kids outside of the home, so it's not a total win for me.
Erin
Really liked her way of explaining who is in charge (parent or child) with example scenarios. Looking forward to trying out some of her suggestions.
Kierstin
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is by far the best parenting book that I have read and I have read a lot. I loved her ideas and her presentation, explanations, and examples. After just a couple of days I started noticing how small changes in myself were making a big difference and applying her ideas feels very natural. I am having my spouse read it now. Raising seven kids is still challenging and I am sure I will still make plenty of mistakes and even have power struggles, but maybe a little less often.
Marcia
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
I loved, loved, loved this book. I've had it on my phone for over a year and finally got around to listening. Loved it about a million times more than I thought I would.

Things I loved:

you're the captain of the ship. The captain just is; they don't fight to be the captain.
stages of attachment for behaviour issues
and many others I forget right now but are in my car notebook
Heather
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually read this book quite a while ago, so my review is based only on memory.

Some of the ideas in this book I've heard before, but the new ones all seemed very useful. The author emphasizes helping children learn to recognize and manage their emotions, not on "discipline" and punishment, but make no mistake - this is not "soft" or permissive parenting by any stretch of the imagination. You will see the most impact from her methods in children who are more strong-willed or in chaotic environ
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Rebecca
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful resource for parenting. Her advice to focus on Act I parenting, i.e., to empathize with our children when they are mad or angry about our parenting decisions, was SO helpful to me when my son began throwing his massive temper tantrums around age 2 and beyond. She states we too often skip to Act II parenting, which is when we explain why XYZ is not allowed or dangerous or will happen a different day, etc. Our children might eventually need or want that explanation, but first they need t ...more
Zacaro Caro
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think what I wish I read was a more specifically age grouped book for my son. He's 5 and we recently moved from his friends, changed our schedule, and have been very busy and stressed. He's been having a lot of tantrums and fighting his mother and I on a lot of issues. I've noticed that we are often talking at him, not to him, and we don't empathize so much. When he starts acting up we've been just trying to power over him instead of helping him figure out why he's acting up.

He won't eat break
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Woollythinker
Hm. Some good thinking in here, but it's hard to get past the sometimes deeply annoying tone, and the anecdotes are full of huge (il)logical leaps. I was hoping to find some useful tips for my husband, who tends to get stuck in fights with our stubborn 7yo because he thinks she "should" just do what he says. The book is clear that "should" doesn't get you anywhere but unfortunately the way Stiffelman suggests getting past that is rooted in psychobabble and those very unconvincing anecdotes. So b ...more
AJ
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Audiobook.

This one was alright. I felt like the good tips and tricks have been covered in other books I've read - and in a better way. This one was a little too new age and touchy feely for me, though it did have some interesting and good tips for parenting. Though I think my biggest problem with this book was the audio version - the author read it and I really did not like listening to her. Her voice cut in and out in tone and pitch and she swallowed a lot of word endings. I kept thinking to my
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