Book Review: How to Unspoil Your Child Fast by Richard Bromfield PhD

My main criticism of this book is the title- it will scare away the parents who are in denial or who don’t think they can learn anything since their kids aren’t spoiled.  I’ve always believed in the Confucius way of learning- the basic idea being that you can learn from people who are doing things really well, but you can also learn what NOT to do from those who aren’t.  This book would be a great guide for parents who are struggling a lot or just a little.   It’s not just for those who are truly unspoiling kids, it can also be a “guide to continuing [your] constructive ways.”

This is a short and easy to read book, kind of the Cliff Notes Version of several larger books combined.  It actually reminds me a lot of John Rosemond’s “Six-Point Plan: for Raising Happy, Healthy Children,” my favorite parenting book.   It’s not an extreme model; it’s more of a moderate parenting ideal where the parent is still in charge.   The Attachment Parenting fan may not be completely in line with a lot of the ideas, but they can definitely gain some understanding by reading.   It goes light on the developmental theory and stays heavy on practical, realistic advice.  There are 27 chapters that are short and concise, and well divided.  They feature a case study and then tips and ideas for real life.  As parents, that’s what we actually need.  I’ve read the books that have chapters of theory, but it’s the application of that theory that is most important to understand.

A main idea and great illustration of this book was the advice to carry out a grand gesture of “shock and awe.”  If you’ve repeatedly not gone through with your threats, your kids know, and you’ve taught them not to listen to you.  The process recommended in the book to undo this is to choose one major thing, something that means a lot to the child and will stick in their memory.  Then keep your word when you say it will be taken away.  Understand that you’ll have to deal with the wrath of a kid scorned and be prepared to do it.  The idea is that the child will take notice that you are not the parent you were a day ago.

You shouldn’t have to explain yourself, you’re the parent.  For any parent who feels like they don’t have the authority they think they should, it’s a must read.

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