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Children: The Challenge

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  757 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Children: The Challenge gives the key to parents who seek to build trust and love in their families, and raise happier, healthier, and better behaved children.

Based on a lifetime of experience with children--their problems, their delights, their challenges--Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs, one of America's foremost child psychiatrists presents an easy-to-follow program that teaches p
Paperback, 335 pages
Published December 26th 1991 by Plume Books (first published January 1st 1964)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  757 ratings  ·  122 reviews

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Christine Shuck
Oct 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone, not just parents
Recommended to Christine by: a parenting class
I became a mother at the age of 18. When I first attended a parenting class (when my daughter was two) they recommended this book and I bought it and read it.

Between the class and the book I found myself catapulted on a journey that, 19 years later, I am still enjoying every minute of.

I raised my firstborn by teaching those parenting classes and referring often to the book, reading it over and over again.

My daughter is now 21 and my second child is three years old. I cannot say enough good thing
The best book on parenting ever. When things go poorly, it's simply because I haven't re-read this book recently enough.

october 2011 - rereading this, it is as good as helpful as ever.
Talia Carner
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Be loving but firm.
Parents talk too much. Replace talk with action.
The freedom to wave one's hand stops a few inches from where another's nose begins.

Those are some of the lessons I had learned when rearing my children to be civilized, considerate and compassionate. The world came to their doors, breaking the boundaries which my protective arms wanted to hold fast. I learned from Deirkurs to let that world enter my children's world naturally, without me jumping in to change its rules. I learn
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: peruse-regularly
What I learned from this book - how to be a sane parent!

Recently my husband and I were pulling our hair out when our son was being COMPLETELY unconcerned about his school work and we had done everything we knew short of violence to get him back on track. Jon pulled this off the shelf - as we have several times since we took a Driekurs parenting class through our kids montessori pre-school.

It was miraculous - I realized I personally had gotten way too all up in my son's business. I walked in his
May 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book was given to me by my mother because it helped her when my sister and I were little girls. I was hesitant at first, because I don't agree with everything in the book. But, it has a lot of very logical ideas for parenting that make sense to me. I have started to put some of them into practice and it is working for me so far. My only criticism is that it is outdated in the situational examples. For instance, it says that if Timmy is not behaving in the grocery store, you should simply re ...more
Arlene Lauper
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
A mother of 11 recommended this book to me. Her children, all grown now, seem to be well adjusted, happy and successful. I asked her what book helped her the most to navigate the stressful "mommy years" and to develop strong problem solving techniques while raising her children. This was the one book she suggested immediately. Although written in 1964, and realizing that some of the scenarios are clearly dated (quite comical actually) , it is a very helpful read. I found that as I applied these ...more
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any parent
Recommended to Myrtis-eirene by: Samantha Coleman
This is by far the BEST book on parenting that I have ever read, both as a parent and as someone who has done graduate studies in psychology.

This book is clear and easy to understand, the advice is easy to implement, and, while this book is very firmly rooted in psychology, it is written plainly and is NOT patronizing or anxiety-provoking for the parent who is at his/her wits-end.

I have read loads and loads of books on the matter from technical texts to practical books written by ordinary peopl
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Didn't just read this one, I studied it (even took notes!). Just what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. The old-school style had me laughing in a few places (written in the 60s) but the advice is just as applicable today. Guidance instead of dominance, encouragement instead of criticism, action instead of nagging lectures, natural consequences instead of arbitrary punishments & rewards, kids who settle their own disputes, etc... Lots of changes for the Pelo kids lately and a much more r ...more
Dec 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
I took a class along with this book and it is life-changing! :) It is a little old fashioned at points and sexist, but look beyond that and the whole concept really works amazingly well. Truely helps you to understand yourself, other adults and your children better. Couldn't be more highly recommended. ...more
RH Walters
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I finished this a year ago and have been waiting to give it the review that it deserves for persuasively and coolly changing all my ideas about parenting. The gist: kids are needy flowers that need constant talking and praising and misbehavior is nothing personal but an experimental method to get more attention. There is some outdated language in here, but if you can get past that there is some truly level-headed and practical thinking in here which was utterly soothing and extremely useful to m ...more
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, parenting, hard-copy
Read for a workshop. The examples in this book are woefully out of date (hello, physical abuse and mothers doing all the parenting) but there are lots of good concepts here. It's helped us foster more independence in our children. ...more
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This parenting book was written in the 60's. It's a little old fashioned but I think most of the principles still hold true today. In years past, the typical relationship between parents and children was more of a dictatorship. If parents said to do something you did it or you were in big trouble. But as the relationship between parents and children is becoming more democratic, parents aren't quite sure what to do. This book teaches how to improve parent-child relationships and how to win your k ...more
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
While some of the clearly dated scenarios in this book cracked me up, such as the idea that Daddy might scold Mother if he comes home from work to an untidy house and unruly children, it is, overall, progressive in its ideas about creating a loving, respectful family environment. The author's primary premises include the idea that children must learn respect for self, respect for others, and respect for situation. The role of parents is to guide while avoiding power struggles, to provide logical ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Yes, this book is outdated to a cringe-inducing degree (nuclear family, women's role, heteronormative, ethnocentric)... but it proposed new (to me) and brilliant ideas about parenting. ...more
Maureen Flatley
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In my adventures as a parent this was an invaluable tool.
Ellie Sorota
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting, nonfiction
A parenting life raft! I’d give this book 10 stars and will certainly reread it. In addition, I’ve bought about five extra copies this month for friends. Published in ‘64, the examples provide insight while also giving a little chuckle at the difference in the times.

Dreikurs encourages the parent to focus on winning cooperation instead of initiating a battle of wills. We’ve seen the magic in our home as recently as last night. When facing a huge mess of costumes, hockey sticks, balls, snack dis
Feb 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You really have to be clear about how you raise your kids, then, mature enough, you can take from the book things, which will help you to better understand your kid's behavior and try things, which you know, want let them down. All the tips about kids under 3 were for me unacceptable not only due to my point of view, but overall known things about social and psychical development of kids. ...more
Christine Fitzgerald
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is my second time reading this book. I really liked the end section with scenarios and references back to the chapter that addressed that topic. Some of the examples are dated and kinda funny but I think this is really a gem of a parenting book.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every parent should read this book.

This is the only parenting book I’ve encountered explaining the why, in a scientific and logical way, instead of just the what.

Reading the book opens a new world of kids which is otherwise shut.
Nov 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, parenting
I picked this one up because it came highly recommended. I found myself disagreeing with many of the authors' overarching premises about parenting, but I found some of their practical advice about de-escalating conflict to be valuable. ...more
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
It will be a while until I'm able to use any of this, but lots of seemingly good tips for how to create a better environment for kids and adults alike. ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Parent Encouragement Program for having us read this book.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book made me unafraid to have children. I reread it annually.
Basanth Roy
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book. Many counter intuitive behaviors explained well
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This got me started on my career.
Oct 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: MOMS
Recommended to Alisha by: my mother
Shelves: self-education
So, firstly I think I should mention that I read the 1964 edition. I think there are a LOT of things in there that he has probably changed with subsequent editions. There were some principle that I definitely agree with (and are predecessors of MANY of the parenting books that are out there NOW), and others... well, not so much. I think some of the methods cannot and should not be applied until a child is older, definitely don't need to apply the one he uses a 3-week old as an example for. NO WA ...more
Tanya W
Mar 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book taught me something that made it a very worthwhile read for me, which was an understanding of why the children of this generation are so much different than we were (as a parent how many times have you lamented to your friends something like... "When I was a child I wouldn't think of disobeying my parents... when they asked me to do something, I did it."). It has to do with the way the world has changed... moving from a once acceptable autocratic family structure to an understanding th ...more
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
This is a mixed review. I would give this book 5 stars for the material about avoiding punishment and rewards, respectful and self-confident (not helpless or strict) parenting, encouraging your child's self-concept and independence and responsibility and internal discipline, ending nagging and power struggles, replacing talking/lectures with action, changing the family dynamic, and more.

This book is actually life-changing in that regard--just a few weeks after I started reading it, and the endl
Kendra Lee
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Our family therapist kept cautioning me against getting involved in "power struggles" with my 5 year old. I understood what she meant, but I couldn't envision a way around our struggles. We were in a rut, so she suggested this book. She was spot on in her recommendation; the book completely reshaped the way I think about parenting.

Short synopsis: the home can't be run like a dictatorship. We live in a democratic society. Kids know it. They will rebel if they feel like they are being treated like
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