Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Calm, Cool and Connected

Susan Stiffelman. Atria, $16 trade paper (275p) ISBN 978-1-4516-6766-0
Stiffelman, a Malibu, Calif., licensed psychotherapist and AOL’s parenting expert, explains that kids do best when parents function much like the captain of a ship: “in charge” rather than “in control.” Instead of battling with kids over homework, chores, and other issues, Stiffelman encourages parents to “come alongside” rather than “at” their children, thus avoiding the instinctive and natural tendency for kids to push back when they meet resistance. The author presents a simple model for understanding the family structure: when the parent is in charge, kids rest assured that the family ship will float smoothly, but in a scenario she calls “two lawyers,” parent and child struggle against one another, with no one in charge. Last is “child in charge,” in which parents find themselves issuing meaningless threats. Conversational and practical, the author addresses how to create an “unshakable connection” with children, how to help kids have healthy relationships, how to deal with frustration, anger, whining, meltdowns, and other issues, and how to help kids fulfill their creative potential. She explains the importance of connection, noting that children who feel securely attached to their parents are less likely to engage in risky behavior when they become teens, and are more likely to be cooperative. Stiffelman’s engaging work gives parents tools to navigate confidently in both calm and stormy family seas. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/06/2012
Release date: 03/13/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
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