Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Well Behaved Child - A Book Review

Although I have only been a parent for three years, I have been working in the field of Early Childhood education since 1998. In that time, I have read many books, and taken many courses/workshops, about child development, including discipline.

I have read books that encourage behavior modification, spanking, natural consequences, logical consequences, etc. I am the type of person that will read pretty much anything about child discipline/development and take from it what will work for me and disregard the rest.

That is why I eagerly wanted to read John Rosemond's, "The Well Behaved Child: Discipline That Really Works". It is published by Thomas Nelson, and as a member of their Book Review Bloggers Program, I was sent a complimentary copy (Thank you to Thomas Nelson).

Book Description:

A parenting workshop in a book!

The biggest frustration felt by today's parents is in the area of discipline. Family psychologist, best-selling author, and parenting expert John Rosemond uses his thirty-six years of professional experience working with families to develop the quintessential "how to" book for parents. Rosemond's step-by-step program, based on biblical principles, traditional parenting approaches, and common sense, covers a wide range of discipline problems applicable to children from toddler to teen.

Sections include:

* Essential Discipline Principles
* Essential Discipline Tools
* Perplexing Problems and Simple Solutions
* Not Your Everyday Problems
* General Questions and Answers

Filled with real-life examples that anyone who's ever been around children can relate to, this book is sure to be one of the most valuable, helpful resources parents have ever stumbled across.


My Review:

As mentioned above, I have read many child discipline/development books, but this is the first one that I have definite mixed opinions on.

For the most part, I thought that Rosemond made a lot of sense when he states that there is too much emphasis on behavior problem diagnosis (or misdiagnosis in his opinion) and not enough emphasis on parents taking back control of their children.
Meaning, as a parent, one needs to be involved with their child, not let them "rule the roost".

There are a number of scenarios in Rosemond's book which show that with his methods (time in room, going to bed one hour earlier,etc) behaviors that would have been labeled with ADHD, Autism, or Oppositional Defient Disorder were altogether eliminated (and without medications, who would of thought) :)

I was about half way through the book when I became very concerned. I thought, initially, that Rosemond's methods were very harsh. For example, a child being isolated in their room for hours at a time, delaying discipline for up to five days, seem inappropriate. However, after reading through the book again, I can see why Rosemond teaches what he does.

He is bringing back "old school" parenting...the way my parents/grandparents disciplined. Rosemond basically is imploring to parents that we cannot let our children have control, we need to be the ones in control. I love the "Because I Said So" Rule....I as a parent do not have to explain my reasons for something to my child, nor should I. Also, I love the "Say It Once, and Once Only" when making a request to your child (consequence after the child does not listen once, not after you have repeated yourself four or five times).

I really enjoyed the last part of The Well Behaved Child. Rosemond covers seven of the most common struggles that parents have with children and gives instructions on how to get them on the right track. They are: Bedtime battles, food fights (finicky eating, etc.), stealing/lying, sibling warfare, defiance, tantrums, and refusing to use the potty.

That said, I do have some reservations with this book. First, I do believe there is a fine line that could be crossed between discipline and abuse. Especially with having children in their room for extended periods of time (we have all heard the news stories of parents locking children in rooms - it does happen unfortunately).

Also, I know that we cannot, and should not, be our child's "friend" when disciplining, but I felt that a lot of Rosemond's methods were cold, and un-emotional.

Also, as a Christian parent, I was hoping to see more spiritual emphasis in a book that is published by a Christian publishing company.

The Well Behaved Child: Discipline That Really Works is a very no-nonsense, easy to read book and I do appreciate Rosemond's straight forward approach to dealing with potential and existing behavioral challenges in children. Really, John Rosemond reminds me a little of "tell it like it is" talk show host and author (and psychologist) Dr. Phil :)

This book can be purchased through, and, and directly on the Thomas Nelson website and is avaliable as of October 13, 2009.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm.. Thanks for sharing this.. I have been looking for a book on discipline.. bt for a toddler.. and I think I can give this a read.. Let me look for it at my library!