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Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles: Winning for a Lifetime

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  632 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
End Those Power Struggles and Begin Connecting with Your Child

Noted family educator Mary Sheedy Kurcinka struck a national chord with her bestselling Raising Your Spirited Child. Now she hits upon another crucial parenting topic: coping with the everyday challenges of disciplining your child, while understanding the issues behind his or her behavior. In Kids, Parents, and
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 20th 2001 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1999)
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Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting, 2014-reads
Fantastic parenting book. Possibly the best I've read. I think a good tagline would be: Know yourself, know your kids, know success. It covers all sorts of ways to get to the root of the problems that parents and children face every day, through all stages of life. It's easy to think your main task is to get your kids to change, but this book really helps readers as parents see how their own behaviors contribute to the struggles, and most importantly I think, how to work together with your kids ...more
Apr 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I just love this author! All of her books are awesome! (I'm wishing she would write one about "shy" children right now!) She always gives really hands on advice and cushions it with lots of stories from other families. It helps me know I'm not alone--and sparks a lot of good ideas--some of which actually work.

I think my biggest take away from this book was anger management--first for myself and secondly to teach my kids better solutions. Current power struggles have definitely up-ed the ante in
May 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love the concepts in this book. I've always wondered how I could get my kids to trust/confident me once they're teenagers. This book discusses building a lasting relationship with your children by teaching them about how to deal w their emotions and working with them and not against them. It is definitely a challenge to live by it but by just trying it I have seen the differences in how they express themselves and how I am able to help them do this.
Dec 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is likely my favorite AND most useful parenting book of all time. Great tips on how to talk to kids, treat them like people while at the same time raising them with boundaries and expectations of polite behaviour.
Sep 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kim by: BTC - Ann Marie Read
Shelves: parenting
This is one to buy and read and re-read and re-read...
Oct 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
This book was full of practical insight. One I most likely will return to again and again.

Highly recommended.
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
You are not a failure when you find yourself in a tug of war. You are a parent with an opportunity to learn what's important to you and your child.

So, the next time your child acts up or refuses to cooperate, tell yourself that there's a reason. Your child isn't intentionally out to drive you wild, be bad, or act lazy. There's a feeling or need that's fueling this behavior and he doesn't know how to express more appropriately.

Savor your moments of success, your tiny steps of progress.
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This well-written book is a fine, worthy follow up to the very useful Raising Your Spirited Child. The author uses the work of Daniel Goleman on Emotional Intelligence to help parents learn to avoid power struggles with their children. The author advocates the need for parents to both ddevelop their own emotional intelligence and to help their children develop this qualities.

Part one gives a good, if not detailed enough, overview of what emotional intelligence is and why it's important. She cou
Mar 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
I really appreciated this book. I was familiar with temperament types, extroverted and introverted, and knew I was dealing with a spirited child. But, I found great insight when she discussed thinker vs. feeler types. I am an extroverted - feeler, my husband is an introverted - thinker, my youngest daughter is an introverted - feeler and my older daughter is an extroverted - thinker.

Most of the power struggles have come about with my extroverted - thinker. I used to think she was 'cold', and 'me
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Thought I would add this to my bookshelf. I have read this book about a billion times over the course of my parenting. I started reading it when my oldest daughter was two years old. My copy is really worn and the only book that I never pack in boxes when I move (I always make sure it is handy). Not that the information changes, but the kids change all the time. Whenever I need advice, I read it and I find a new way to understand my kiddos. Plus it gives me a script for how to handle a lot of th ...more
Dawn Bates
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those parenting books that you will never stop reading. Why? Because your children never stop growing up and you never stop learning about their development.

For me this book has been one of the best I have ever had the to pleasure to read, and yes it is a pleasure to read.

I have learnt as much about my behaviour and how to adapt it, as well as the behaviours of my husband and children. At some points in the book, it seems as if Mrs Kurcinka studied our family and then wrote the b
Jun 12, 2012 rated it liked it
I have a three and a half year old who is giving me a run for my money. I picked this because I feel like I need to up my parenting game and add some skills to by arsenal. I think this book illuminated a lot of great concepts - choosing to connect with my son rather than trying to intimidate or overpower him during disputes, understanding what my own emotional state and temperament bring to the table and how I can better choose to bring down the intensity level, thinking about how to give my chi ...more
Beth A.
Jun 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, parenting
I enjoyed reading this book. Kurcinka maintains that children are not "out to get" parents. When they misbehave they are trying to get a need met or responding to a stress or problem in their lives.

She covers personality characteristics, stresses, and medical problems, and how they can affect children's behavior.

She has tips to help you teach children to recognize and communicate their emotions and needs so they do not have to struggle against their parents. Rather they can work together to find
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
There was a lot of really helpful, timely stuff in this book for me. Also some head smacking, DUH moments that made me feel dumb for not having thought of/realized before. One of the things I really liked about the book was that it recognized that there's not just one kind of power struggle/one kind of personality for kids or adults, not just one kind of solution.
Like pretty much every parenting book out there, not everything applied to us, but what did? Man it was helpful. There were things I
Mar 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I got this from the library and didn't completely finish it before I had to return it, but it was FULL of great ideas for helping me with my son. I read her first book- about Spirited Kids. I liked that book to help me understand my kid a little better, but this book really gave me practical advice about how to parent, and help him with his powerful emotions, instead of just trying to "discipline" him. I feel like it's helping, but I still want to buy the book to go back to as a resource when we ...more
Nov 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Not a book with easy quick fixes for behavior problems, but a good read. For me however, this book didn't contain too much new info since I always seem to read parenting books with similar philosophies. This book uses emotional coaching and understanding your child's and your own temperaments as the way to have an easier time parenting. I believe in the premise, but find it hard to put into practice with the day to day tasks to accomplish and myself being so tired and emotionally drained most of ...more
Oct 06, 2014 rated it liked it
This book had a lot of helpful ideas on making your days easier as a parent. It's worth the listen.
This book also touches on different areas on how you and your child behaves, why they do what they do to some extent and how you can help not only yourself but your child to become better people. You have to teach them the way even though you are still learning. No one said parenting was easy.

The only thing that I didn't like about this book was the author going back and forth between he and she.
Oct 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
I finished this book and then read several sections again. The title is misleading. This book encourages parents to understand their emotional styles and their children's emotional styles and to work with those to resolve conflicts. Kurcinka balances practical advice with general perspective on the ways in which we learn, for better or worse, to manage emotions. This is one parenting book I will return to read as my boys get older.
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All parents!
Shelves: parenting
The wisdom in Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's books is nothing short of miraculous. I love her RAISING YOUR SPIRITED CHILD, and this book is equally excellent. Face it—regardless of upbringing in either generation, every parent and every child are going to have power struggles of some kind, so look no further: Here's the instruction manual you've been looking for. Read it, and be amazed at the results. It's that good. Thank you, Dr. Mary.
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. Not only for parenting but also for all my interactions. I agreed with lots that was said and maybe that's why I gave it 4 stars. I enjoyed figuring out what temperament my kids are and although we don't have many power struggles I feel prepared for when they do come up. I even took notes and just got done talking about them with my husband so we can hopefully start to implement things in our home!
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Her book Raising Your Spirited Child is better. I liked the theory and background that this book shares, but it is very short on practical techniques, what exactly to say or do in the moment. You can be as sensitive as possible to your child's needs and temperament, and yet still times will arise when you just need to get something done and be the authority figure. This book isn't very helpful in accomplishing that.
Heidi Poelman
Jan 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
What a great book for learning to deal with toddlers who are testing limits and wanting independence. I love the way the author writes about teaching your child to work with you respectfully, the importance of teaching negotiation skills, dealing with different temperaments, and what it means to be an emotion coach as a parent. Great, great book for parents with kids of any age, in my opinion.
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents
Recommended to Michelle by: moms mailing list
This book, along with "Parent Effectiveness Training," are my two very favorite books on 'discipline' and parenting. My daughter and I have an extremely good relationship, even when it comes to difficult behaviors, because of the practices in this book. I also feel confident in my ability to carry on a good relationship throughout her childhood and teenage years.
Kateri Limmer
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is very enlightening. My 3 year old son has started responding positively and I can literally see him thinking things through. I can also say that this book helps a parent discover themselves as well as their child. I know my personality better, and I see the similarities with my son. The references at the end are definitely on my reading list!
Kate Hyde
Jun 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
This book starts out slow, but once I got to the part about comparing your child's temperament with your own, I was hooked. I also really liked the chapter about how kids deal with stress. This was an eye opener of a book. Not only does it explain why your kid may be acting up, but it gives you techniques to diffuse the tension. I definitely recommend this book!
I am about halfway through this book and so far it has been very helpful with providing ways to understand why my child and I react the way we do in certain situations and how we can get better at avoiding arguments. Rather than simply suggesting ways to discipline, the book discusses the context behind why behaviors happen so you can understand both yourself and your child better.
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was really helpful in getting me to stop, step back, and control my reactions to my son's behavior. It really made me think about my personality and what sets me off, and how our personalities differ and why we tend to have power struggles. Things aren't perfect now but I think we're on a path to understanding each other!
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I loved the section about discovering your own & your child's temperament. I learned a lot about myself that I hadn't realized. I also found myself agreeing with Kurcinka's view on reasons why children act out and that addressing the cause is much more successful than reacting to the behaviors. Highly recommend this book for anyone who interacts with children.
Dec 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: have children who can talk (back!)
Shelves: parenting
This book helped me look at my children and their actions differently. It pointed out to me, in a sensible and clear manner, some of the thought processes they are going through. It really helped me get a handle on some difficult times.
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Mary Sheedy Kurcinka is a best-selling author and internationally recognized lecturer and parent educator. Her books Raising Your Spirited Child, Raising Your Spirited Child Workbook; Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles; and Sleepless in America: Is Your Child Misbehaving or Missing Sleep have been translated into ten languages.

As director of, Mary provides training nationally
More about Mary Sheedy Kurcinka...