Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"How to Behave So Your Children Will Too" by Sal Severe, PhD

This book wasn't quite what I expected. Based on the title, I really thought the book would focus on my own behavior. I thought there was some kind of system of words and actions I hadn't yet discovered in almost sixteen years as a parent--a way of behavior that my children would see (or maybe even just absorb subconsciously) and then magically mirror in their own lives--and this book would reveal the essentials.

Unfortunately, this book is not magical. It's not even very unique. It's just another child-rearing book full of discipline suggestions. It doesn't really address a parent's behavior in general; the only recommendations it makes for the parents relate to the way they handle their children rather than the way they handle themselves.

Can I set aside my unrealistic expectations and judge this book more objectively? Seeing it for what it is, I am still disappointed. Most of the ideas in this book are either common knowledge (never give in to a tantrum) or suggestions for complicated charts and systems I can't be bothered to try (partly because it would take too much effort, partly because I'm too doubtful concerning the likelihood of success). I do wonder whether Dr Severe (who isn't as harsh as his name sounds) was merely spouting all of the well-known parenting lore, or whether this book (unbeknownst to me) is actually some sort of nationwide parenting Bible and all of the current parenting lore originated here? (It's plausible. The book is nearly 20 years old.)

I won't call this book a complete waste of time. I satisfied my curiosity (even if the satisfaction came in the form of disappointment), and I am renewing my imperative to be consistent with my children (a helpful parenting tool I was already aware of and did not learn from this book, but one I must admit I've been a bit lazy about). It's just unfortunate that my ego is telling my superego, "Yeah, good luck with that."


Andi said...

Bummer! I was hoping this might be the answer to some of our new kindergarten woes. Great review, though!

Kathy said...

Thanks! :) Let me know if you discover the secret . . .