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Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World: Seven Building Blocks for Developing Capable Young People
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Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World: Seven Building Blocks for Developing Capable Young People

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  336 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Bestselling authors H. Stephen Glenn and Jane Nelsen have helped hundreds of thousands of parents raise capable, independent children with Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World. On its tenth anniversary, this parenting classic returns with fresh, up-to-date information to offer you inspiring and workable ideas for developing a trusting relationship with ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 15th 2000 by Harmony (first published 1988)
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Sep 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Don't read this while you're falling asleep--it takes brain power and it a bit of a snoozer at times, but oh, what a great parenting book. Wish I had read it 10 years ago. Follows the parenting themes of Love & Logic. Two things that hit me the hardest: page 91 "Why do we always give generic praise and specific criticism?" It's so true! Specific praise can be just as effective--THIS is what you did really well. I have really started to take a look at what I'm offering up in terms of praise a ...more
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great, logical information! Best if you start young, but applicable even if your kids are older. I have to admit, I have a hard time doing some of the things that the book suggests. When my middle-schooler calls me frantic and on the verge of tears because he walked out of the house without his backpack and an assignment is due, I will, 90% of the time, bring it to him. But it's always good to know where I can improve.
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really feel blessed to have come across this book. If you don't have time to go cover to cover, the least to do is read the chapter on Developing Strong Perceptions of Personal Capabilities. This can help beyond parenting to the scope of relationships in its wider range.
Kate McMurry
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I wrote this review in 2001 on Amazon and have currently recommended this classic child-rearing manual to my daughter for rearing her own daughter.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Time-tested, workable ideas!
November 24, 2001
By Kate McMurry

This review is from: Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World: Seven Building Blocks for Developing Capable Young People (Paperback)

I first discovered this book by Dr. Stephen Glenn and Dr. Jane Nelsen just before my son was born in 1988, when my daughter was
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents
Recommended to Jill by: Sherry Veach
Shelves: homeschool
Really wonderful straightforward instruction on exactly how and why to teach children by allowing consequences, how to build bridges from our adultisms (those things we throw at kids that don't make sense to them - "do you want me to spank you!") to true communication and parenting.
Lee Ann
Something else for me to work on and get better in the area of teaching. There are some good ideas and reminders of the right way to build indepent, self reliant kids. I'm working on it.
Dec 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I originally read this book back in college. One of my education professors had recommended it, and I somehow managed to read it in between studying and student teaching. Honestly, I think I was meant to read it, because I normally would not have spent the time to read something not on the required list. That was quite a few years ago, but the lesson I learned from this book has always stayed with me: children will not learn to be capable if we don't give them opportunities to be capable! If we ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the second time I've read this book. The first time my children were young. Stephen Glenn came out to western Kansas where we were living, brought in by the educational co-op. What I like about him, hearing and seeing him in person, were the stories he told that let us know he wasn't a super parent. Just because he had so much wisdom, still things with your kids doesn't always go perfectly. I bought his book, way back then, and used a lot of his wisdom in raising my kids. Now they are ad ...more
Oct 20, 2009 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Becca by: Hilary
Only a bit in but so far I'm amused by the authors' quaint terror about such new and terrifying technologies as Radio, television, and the TELEPHONE. What's next, LASERS??? But that aside, I've been thinking about the point they have made so far: kids have to feel-- and actually BE crucially important to the survival of the family.

But I don't believe in some lost idyllic family life-- the Best Generation was always about 3 generations ago, people. Even Pliny thought the golden age was past and
Liz Dean
Aug 25, 2011 rated it liked it
All of the parents at my son's elementary school were encouraged to read this book over the summer. It was a good reminder of why positive discipline strategies are important & has motivated me to rethink some of my communication w/ Charlie. The advice that resonated most with me was that children need to feel like a necessary component of the family structure, not just objects to keep stimulated. I am going to work on that over the next few months. Things that were not great about the book: ...more
Jan 27, 2009 is currently reading it
This book focuses on equipping our children with perceptions and skills that will help them develop self-esteem and self-reliance. It discusses how we as parents need to be learners, as the world in which we live today is changing at a rapid face, faster than any other generation. The book discusses how things are quite different today than previous generations... when children were needed on the family farm and made major contributions: they knew they were needed in the family. Today, children' ...more
Jennifer Brukiewa
This has some very helpful techniques and insights that can help you teach your kids responsiblity and to make good choices. It does not, however, deal well with heart issues. It is a book focussed on behavior. I am a Christian so I believe there are issues to be addressed in the heart of a child. You can do all the right things and be sucessful and not be motivated by love.

I prefer the book Loving Our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk. It is basically the Love and Logic tools, but it addresses m
Aug 29, 2009 rated it liked it
A lot of what was in this books I learned in my Family Science classes at BYU, but it was a good refresher course. The principles in this book are true. They pinpoint so clearly the things we do to our children to take away their self-respect, responsibility, and self-image. I was horrified to read how many of those bad parenting habits I have developed! (doing too much for our kids, rescuing,etc)

What I appreciated in this book was that it gave real life experiences, testimonies & examples,
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mommy-baby-books
I thought this book had some great theories as to why children, who are now adults since the book was written in 1989, are self-indulgent and had a few good suggestions as to how to intervene in the teen years to help children be more self-reliant and have an inner sense of responsibility rather than being tossed around by the ways of the world.

But I think the real problem lies in the way we raise our children from birth through infancy. For a fabulous book on teaching kids real values from the
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
This was not the best written parenting book I've ever read - the authors write in a very dry academic style, even though the book is filled with parenting anecdotes. I didn't take too much away, except for a reminder to consciously encourage my child to be a contributor to the family. I also find their ideas consistent with a habit I try to follow, praising effort rather than character - e.g. "You worked really hard at this, so that is why you got an A+" instead of "You are really smart, so tha ...more
Kristie J.
Mar 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book has excellent concepts about the most successful way to talk to and deal with kids, and how to discipline kids with respect and dignity. Many of the techniques will be awkward at first but with practice can be valuable tools. For example, the EIAG process (Experience, Identification, Analysis, Generalization or the What? Why? How? process) teaches parents to ask kids questions to lead them to figure out the answers themselves instead of just lecturing them.

Some places in the text read
Aug 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
this is one of my favorite books. it has some great anecdoctal stories, but its message has really shaped my outlook on a lot of different aspects of life. it really helped shaped my belief that entrusting people with responsibilities is the best way to get people to do things. i've always wished that more business leaders would read this book. you can't give people petty jobs and expect them to be passionate about the work. the same is true for volunteer management. you can't ask people to do b ...more
Jun 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I'm so glad I read this book pretty early on in my children's lives. There are so many real-life parenting strategies in this book and it made me want to change many of the the ways I parent. While I was reading this I saw how I fall into so many of the parenting traps and create barriers. In addition, I always want to protect my boys from everything and this book helped remind me why this is so detrimental to my kids growth, within reason, of course. My only complaint is that the research was o ...more
May 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
I liked this book much more than I thought I would, for when I started reading it, I found myself so distracted by the cheesy dialogue and slightly outdated aspects that I wasn't seeing it for all the amazing info. Anywho, when I put aside the piddly things that bugged me, I discovered a great book with a lot of fabulous insight. Definitely recommended (just be forewarned about some of the cheesy bits).
Sep 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a better than average parenting book. The first chapter is stupid because it basically says: "everything was great in the old days, we should go back to that". But, after that, the book has good philosophy and specific advice about respecting children, keeping your expectations reasonable, and running the house as a family rather than a dictatorship.

I'd recommend it over Alfie Kohn's book.
Patrick Stackpoole
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Yes, the title is enticing and it has some good points, but the rest felt like a bunch of pointless junk text. Best take away is this - kids are born ready to help and to create but in many cases they are being taught to let mom & dad do all the work and consume TV, video games, computers. Let them participate and do stuff. That kind of message is very important, but it could have easily been summarized in less than a page.
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Like others have said, this book is slow-going in order to process the concepts. As a mother of preschoolers, I think the ideas in this book will be helpful now and for years to come. Although some of the ideas about TV seem dated or unpopular, I personally think the authors are thoughtful and make good points, and their views apply now to other media in our lives, too. Overall, I recommend this book.
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this in college and decided to re-read it as it applies to my parenting currently. It is a good book with some helpful insights that I plan to apply, but it is a text book snoozer as far as the way it is written and outlined. The things I liked best were the "builders" and " barriers" it focused on.
Liz Hedgpeth
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
LOVE this book. My husband and I both took classes based on this book and program. I thought it was GREAT for child raising, and my husband (who works in management) felt like a lot of it aplied not only to kids, but in management and work too. I would HIGHLY recommend this book to any parent of any kid of any age. LOVED it.
Jan 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I got this book when my oldest was two. It was one of the most helpful, informative books in helping my husband and I define our philosophy about how to raise our kids. We use the concepts in this book daily and will continue to use them until our kids are out of the house. My husband also found the concepts helpful in dealing with difficult people at work and and church as well.
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Started with the drivel that bugs me about "well back in the olden days..." but the how-to content is simple and good. Really appreciated a couple of paragraphs on expressing anger and how to appropriately model it and teach it.
Oct 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
I wish this book were better written because the ideas in it are very good -- more about how to tread the middle ground between permissiveness and strictness, and especially how to raise children to exercise good judgment.
Sep 18, 2008 marked it as to-read
A book rec.from the director at Austin's pre-school. She names this one the best books parents could read for kids in this area. There will be a book discussion about this book later in the year t the I thought I get started on it now. :)
Aug 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved the author's focus on kids perceptions of themselves and it's effect on their self esteem. I also liked the author's comparisons between what we as a society did right 50years ago vs. what we are doing wrong now; the importance of a support structure, community involvement, etc.
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
In a conversation with Angie I remembered how much I liked this book when I read it many years ago. It is one of the best parenting books I've ever come across and I'm now inspired to read it again (but have to buy a new copy because I lent it out to a friend).
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Dr. Jane Nelsen is a licensed Marriage, Family and Child Counselor in South Jordan, UT and Carlsbad, CA.

She is the author and/or coauthor of the Positive Discipline Series.
More about Jane Nelsen...