cover image Children Are from Heaven: Positive Parenting Skills for Raising Cooperative, Confident, and Compassionate Children

Children Are from Heaven: Positive Parenting Skills for Raising Cooperative, Confident, and Compassionate Children

John Gray / Author HarperCollins Publishers $25.95 (357p) ISBN

""All children are born innocent and good,"" asserts Gray, author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Getting them to cooperate is merely a matter of arousing their natural desire to please their parents, without breaking their fragile will in the process. Five skills of positive parenting induce cooperation, supported by their five underlying messages, one of which is the author's mantra: ""It's o.k. to say no, but remember Mom and Dad are the bosses."" In a synthesis of old-fashioned authoritarianism and modern psychological sensitivity (""soft love""), parents are urged to view a child's resistance as natural and healthy, and to listen, empathize and finally assert their authority firmly and unemotionally. If this approach sounds unrealistic, it certainly feels right in the context of Gray's penetrating (and often historically minded) psychological explanations. In the hypnotic style of a therapist, Gray gradually replaces parental advice with empathy, and an emphasis on obedience with an emphaisis on cooperation, supplying a new repertoire of one-liners and age-, gender- and temperament-specific suggestions along the way. While placing the entire responsibility for children's behavior on their parents' shoulders, this book essentially simplifies the business of parenting in order to enable children to grow into their strongest, most responsible selves. (Oct.)