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Kids Are Worth It!: Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline
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Kids Are Worth It!: Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,512 ratings  ·  174 reviews
The parenting classic, now revised with new chapters, checklists, and information about today's most pressing issues regarding our children

This bestselling guide rejects "quick-fix" solutions and focuses on helping kids develop their own self-discipline by owning up to their mistakes, thinking through solutions, and correcting their misdeeds while leaving their dignity int
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 20th 2002 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1994)
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Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, 2 stars might seem to be a bit harsh, but i'll leave it at that.
The book is not that bad, it is OK, it;s written in rather simple, lively manner, which is easy to digest and relate to.
However my problem with this book is that it simplifies things too much. obvious statements, the likes of "gentle guidance", "respect",etc, etc..
i agree with all that, no doubt, but it's like stating the facts of grass being green and the sky being blue...
Moreover, reactions of different children to the same
Kressel Housman
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents, even of little kids and babies
To me, the measure of a good parenting or psychology book is if it changes my life, and by that standard, this book was EXCELLENT. It divides parenting styles into three basic types: 1) brickwall = "My way OR ELSE"; 2) jellyfish = house rules are rarely and inconsistently applied; and 3) backbone = the right approach, flexible yet firm.

It was unpleasant to see what a jellyfish I've been, but while I was reading the book, I really felt myself developing backbone. The author gives specific ways yo
Nov 03, 2011 rated it did not like it
Can't say I got much out of this book. Its premise is a good one, and I appreciate the general advice about treating kids with dignity and respect even when correcting them - especially when correcting them.
But for a book on positive parenting, its tone is quite judgmental. The author classifies parenting styles into 3 types - two are horrid and the third is ideal. The problem with this approach, as I see it, is that not many people are going to want to identify with the exaggeratedly awful par
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone, but especially parents & people who have friends with kids
Recommended to Dory by: Stumbled across it
Shelves: parenting
Our job as parents is not to control our children, but to teach & guide them. To teach them how to think, not what to think, so that they learn how to be functional, respectful, thinking adults.

I just finished reading this book for the 3rd time - I read it first several years ago before I had any kids, and now have read it twice since the birth of my own child. I have read (& continue to read) a lot of parenting books, and books of the science of brain growth. I keep coming back to this book
Emily Madill
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
‘Kids are worth it!” is an informative and functional parenting book. The main initiative of the book is to raise children to be confident self-disciplined and comfortable thinking for themselves. Through examples and stories, Coloroso gives suggestions and tools that offer children opportunities to make decisions and feel empowered. In her book Coloroso describes three different parenting philosophies and the importance in becoming ‘aware’ of the tools that lead to destruction, and tools that l ...more
Susan Bazzett-Griffith
Meh. This book is basically the same as Love and Logic (also meh). I didn't learn much about specific tools to hone "inner discipline" in my son, as the title implies. And though I understand the sentiment behind the constant theme of "treat the child in a way so that they can retain their dignity", I often found myself thinking about scenes from my son's childhood where he would do things like run through the house naked with half a turd hanging from his ass because he didn't want to poop on th ...more
Robin Penney
Jan 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I learned so much from this book. It has changed the way I treat my children. I give them ownership for the mistakes they make, and help them to feel okay about making those mistakes in the first place. I no longer believe that punishment has to include an element of "feeling bad" about what you did. Instead, I help them to fix the problem. But I don't rescue them, or clean up for them, like I did before.

Also, no more rewards! Threw out the sticker charts! Teaching them that they do things beca
Marissa Morrison
May 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I could tell right away that I was going to like this book, because Coloroso includes quotes from wonderful authors like Alfi Kohn and Gavin De Becker. She advocates not treating children in a way that you yourself wouldn't want to be treated, and to only discipline using techniques that leave a kid's dignity in tact.

Some tips from this book:

When you have to criticize, criticize the problem, not the kid. An effective way to do this is to say, "That's not right" rather than "that's wrong." "That
Courtney Lotzer
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book defines three types of families, which really put life with children in perspective. It is amazing the influence your own parents have on the way you do things...

I thought it was a great read. It made me feel really good about my parenting philosophy and the relationships I have with the kids. I am happy to say I am 90% "Backbone" parent. It also really defined my childhood (jellyfish).

I also related to one of the negative family types (brickwall), which explained the harm you can do
Sep 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be an interesting look at how both parents and teachers can treat their children and students with respect. However, I think that parents could misinterpret when they begin to put Coloroso's parenting theories into practice. I could definitely see how some parents could use her ideas and feel that they are granting their child independence, when in reality they are being "jellyfish" parents by letting their child do whatever he or she wants in order to exert this "independence". ...more
Feb 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
Within a few chapters of starting this book, I was already changing the way I parent. While we don't often need to punish our kids (luckily), we were resorting to a lot of bribing and negotiating to get things to happen. Coloroso explains why this isn't helping kids think for themselves or behave for the right reasons. It's actually not that hard to rephrase and change how I communicate, now that I'm aware of it. I also want to get my kids helping with chores more consistently now that I read th ...more
Apr 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with kids.
Recommended to Maggie by: Suzuki book club
Shelves: suzuki-book-club
I haven't finished yet, but this book is by far the best parenting book I've ever read! It guides you how to teach your kids to make good decisions. It's not about controlling your kids. You need to teach them that they can handle anything life throws at them. This book shows you how to give them the tools from a very early age. FANTASTIC! I can't wait to read the chapter on sibling rivalry. ...more
Aug 03, 2011 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
I like some of her advice but definately didn't agree with all of it. Example: she suggests that when your teenage daughter asks you if she can go to a party where drinking will be involved and you don't want her to, she says to use the phrase "convince me"...doesn't that just mean, "come on, argue with me"? I don't know, I don't find her to be very realistic. ...more
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an insightful book! Barbara gives many specific examples how being either a brick wall, jellyfish or backbone parent affects our children in profound ways. So much to learn with our children. Amazing resource for all parents or for anyone who has children in their life.
Moshe Mikanovsky
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
If you have kids, you owe it to yourself and to them to read this book. Its never too late!
If you are an author, you got to read this book, and understand the different types of families out there and how they interact with each other.
Sep 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Plan to re-read this book over time, too. She helped me understand respectful parenting in a broad, longterm perspective, from tot to teens.
Jul 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Didn't quite finish this one before it was due back at the library. Definitely want to revisit this book. ...more
Aug 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfic
One of my very favorite parenting books, along with How to Talk so Kids Will Listen. I read it every year or so it seems. Fantastic book with great suggestions. Get a copy. DO IT.
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite parenting books. Good advice for young children as well as teens. A good one to add to home library as I will be returning to it over the years.
Christine Fonseca
By FAR one of the best parenting books on the market. And this revised edition - even better than the first!!!
Delia Huitema
Love her and loved the book! It made me a better parent.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best parenting books I've read! ...more
Sarah Whitney
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Good book. Pretty much the same core idea behind it as Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, but probably a better main-stream pick for the harder-to-convince parents, especially those who came from and swear by a brickwall kind of family. Brickwall? You know: 'Our way or the highway' parents who gave out spankings and groundings freely. It actually describes the three common types of families: Brickwall (just mentioned), Jellyfish (there are two sub-types), and Backbone (the one you should s ...more
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the balanced perspective in this book. Her whole book is built around illustrating how 3 types of parents (2 poles [jellyfish and brick wall] and the middle ground [backbone]) respond and parents through different circumstances.

I first heard her interviewed on the Farnum Street podcast so if you want the hour long spark notes, listen to that podcast. I found her so engaging that I decided to read her book and I’m glad I did. It helped me verbalize some of our approach to parent
Charlene Voss
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This will always be one of my favourite parenting books. It outlines very simply the pattern of parenting, the types of families, and a very simplistic way of teaching your child to take responsibility for their own actions.
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with all good books on raising children, which are meant to be reread at different stages of your child's growth, this is one of those books. Being my 2nd reading of the book, some chapters (money, chores, alternatives to no) stood out more than others during my read of it a year ago.

While the brick-wall, jellyfish and backbone examples are a useful writing mechanism to show contrast and ultimately prove the author's point, it is hard to imagine today's parents going to either extreme these d
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Though a lot of the book is dealing with older kids and teens, there was still plenty of good perspective for myself, being a first-time parent with a toddler. Coloroso uses a spectrum of strictness-laxity to show how being either too strict (the brick-wall parent) or too lax (the jellyfish parent) will hinder your kids' ability to develop the self-discipline they need to become "resilient, responsible, compassionate kids", as the sub-title puts it. Her theory is that parenting on either of thes ...more
Anand Mandapati
Good Philosophy Marred By Scaremongering

This book boils down to treat your kids with dignity and respect, set a structure that is flexible, and let your kids fail unless it's life-threatening. A very good philosophy that I want to follow with my kids. But, she also says if you don't do exactly that, they will end up doing drugs, having sex, and committing suicide. And I'm really only exaggerating a bit here. I could complain that the book is repetitive, that many of her examples of good parentin
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I probably would have rated this more highly if I had read it earlier. The author quotes heavily from several other works I have read, so a lot of it sounded familiar. Her main go-to metaphor of the "brick wall, jellyfish, or backbone" types of parent seemed like cariacatures and didn't resonate hugely with me. Her principles seem like they might be more useful to me as my children grow older--not a lot here that applies specifically for the toddler era.

But all in all, a fine book about how to r
Nirbhay Pundir
Jan 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Atleast 50% of the book comprises of quotations. then there are multiple repetitions of author's core concepts. Hence, the book could have been much more concise. Then, naming of the chapters could have been more soothing rather than chapter#1/2/3 & so on (trivial, but could have helped me refer back to the relevant section as the kid grows up).

I liked the approaches suggested, and the notions recommended for the upbringing. Hope to put them to action. Would recommend to all parents of toddlers.
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Barbara Coloroso is the author of the international bestseller Kids Are Worth It! and Parenting Through Crisis and is an acclaimed speaker on parenting, teaching, conflict, resolution, and grieving. Featured in Time, the New York Times, and on many radio and television shows, she lives with her husband in Littleton, Colorado.

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