Before It's Too Late: Why Some Kids Get Into Trouble--And What Parents Can Do about It

Stanton E. Samenow, Author
Stanton E. Samenow, Author Crown Publishers $24 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8129-3064-1
Hardcover - 225 pages - 978-0-8129-1646-1
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Samenow, a clinical psychologist, tempers the notion that parents and environment are usually responsible for a child's serious misbehavior. How can it always be the fault of misguided parents, he wonders, if other children in the same family turn out to be responsible, law-abiding citizens? Samenow argues that by blaming parents, we don't allow the child to take responsibility for his or her own actions. Samenow shows parents how to break this cycle of irresponsibility. First he bluntly describes the thinking he has found to be typical of antisocial children, from disregarding consequences to lying as a way of life. Then he offers strategies for parental intervention, including the erroneous thinking parents may have to overcome in order to take action. Samenow helps parents identify patterns of behavior, offering numerous comparisons between normal developmental issues and how they differ from the behavior and motivation of an antisocial child. While some of his descriptions are harsh (is it really possible to treat a 10-year-old as the master of his or her fate?), anxious parents may welcome such plain talk. This book is invaluable for parents who know their children are headed down the wrong path, but it may be even more important for parents who aren't sure. (Jan.)
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