Bringing Up Kids Without Tearing Them Down

Kevin Leman, Author Delacorte Press $19.95 (369p) ISBN 978-0-385-29945-9
It's possible to raise happy, self-confident children while also letting them know you're the boss, stresses Leman ( Keeping Your Family Together When the World Is Falling Apart ) in this parenting guide. He explains why self-image is so vital to children, as well as how to provide them with ``image insurance'' that will last a lifetime, starting with the ``A-B-C's'' of self-worth (acceptance, belonging, confidence). Leman argues that parents can help kids learn responsibility and build self-esteem through encouragement rather than praise, action rather than words, and natural consequences rather than punishment (``If you miss dinner again, you won't get any when you get home''). He also discusses four causes of misbehavior--the need to gain attention, assert control, avoid pressure and seek revenge--and shows how these can be contained. While Leman does not generally condone corporal punishment, he does advocate spanking (one or two swats on the backside) as a last resort. Anecdotes from his own experience as a father illustrate his points and warm the book. The last portion is an extensive question-and-answer section about toddlers, chidlren over five and adolescents. Author tour. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1993
Release date: 04/01/1993
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