Despite what the title might suggest, “Help! I’ve Created a Brat!” is written for all parents & caregivers – not just those that have created their very own little dictators. Written by child psychologist & parent, Chantal Kayem,”Help!” is billed as “An informative guide for parents of young children to pre-adolescence, this easy to read, practical manual provides parents around the world with clear answers on the best ways to raise unspoiled children” So – does it live up to it’s cover promise?
The book starts with an interesting introductory chapter entitled “How did todays children turn out so spoiled?”. Here Kayem talks about the ‘epidemic of child indulgence’ and child centered parenting. She discusses how raising happy children with high self esteem – rather than well behaved children became the cultural norm and how punishment & strict became dirty words. The chapter then moves on to discuss how this style has also been adapted in schools, with children reward for little or no achievement and how this gives children a feeling of entitlement. Following this there are chapters about what went wrong with today’s way of disciplining, the importance of finding a balance in your parenting style and authoritative parenting. What’s authoritative parenting? I hear you ask – well you’ll have to read the book and see!
Then comes the real meat of the book – 3 chapters about disciplining the unspoiled child, a chapter about allowances chores and privileges then 7 chapters about how to deal with problem behaviors. Is your child argumentative, demanding, disrespectful, ungrateful, defiant? all of these behaviors are discussed and practical solutions for dealing with and changing these behaviors are given.
For example in chapter 11 – The disrespectful child – the author talks about how important it is for your child to learn how to be respectful, especially in preparation for adulthood. Then there are 3 steps to improving disrespectful behavior; define disrespectful behaviors, teach your child acceptable substitutes and set rules & consequences for disrespectful behavior. Following this there are a number of informative suggestions and finally a list of points to remember.
So, what did I think & would I recommend it?
If you want to turn this:
Then the answer is a resounding yes! You should read this book.
I didn’t expect much as I assumed it would be the usual “Don’t upset your child” kind of book. Thankfully I couldn’t have been more wrong – this was a wonderful, refreshing parenting book that I would like to see every parent read. The whole philosophy behind the book is fantastic and as the parent of 5 kids I wish I had been able to share it with a number of my children’s friends parents over the years!
It is clearly and simply set out and gives practical suggestions throughout. For example in “the argumentative child” the advice is not to engage in discussion and if your child continues to try and argue the point with you just say “Asked and Answered”. I tried it & it really works! By cutting off the discussion once you have discussed something once, it limits your child’s ability to argue about it!
At the end of each chapter there is a “Points to Remember” list which in the case of the “argumentative child” includes points such as “Your child is argumentative because you explain yourself” & “Your child does not have the right to interrogate you”.
I wish I could meet the author and shake her hand. At last, here is a book that doesn’t make you feel like a tyrant for having discipline in your home. A book that supports the fact that actually, the parents are in charge, not the kids, that you can discipline your child and that their future happiness and self esteem does not infact depend on being able to do whatever they want for their first 18 years.
I cannot recommend “Help! I’ve Created a Brat!” highly enough. It should be required reading for all parents! Find out more at: chantalkayem.com.au
Chantal Kayem is an experienced child psychologist and parenting expert who has been working in private practice in Sydney, Australia, for over ten years. Chantal is also a mother of three children, Robert, seventeen years old, Jacqueline, thirteen years old, and Vanessa, nine years old.
One winner will receive their very own copy of Help! I’ve Created a Brat!.
Giveaway ends October 1st at 11:59pm, open to US and Canada, ages 18+. Excludes Quebec. Only one entrant per household, per address. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Enter using the giveaway form below. Good luck!
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