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The Well-Behaved Child Hardcover – 1 Oct 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Nelson (1 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785229043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785229049
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,274,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Miss E J V Ellwood on 10 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although John Rosemond has a lengthy career in child psychology the emphasis within this book is that ALL children are naughty and they require training much like domesticated pets. “Punishment is every bit as necessary to raising a well-behaved child as weeding is to growing a successful garden.” This set alarm bells off. "weeds" nice comparison.

"Wilful children"... as the mother of a child who comes under this title the recommendations from this piece of tripe seemed only to be to squash her will and mould it into the one I had decided she would be. Yes my daughter is the one who will throw herself on the floor in Tescos and scream. I find just walking away from her the most effective technique then later we have a little chat and it ends with an impy smile that I would not change for the world.

He states that there is nothing wrong with smacking your child provided you do so in a calm manner, repeatedly telling the child why you are in smacking their bare bottom. How cool and calculated you must seem as you strip your child and prepare to inflict shame and pain on their little bottoms. He goes as far to recommend smacking their bare skin with your hand so you can judge how much pain you are inflicting on your child. Inflicting pain on someone a quarter of your size to teach them right from wrong just does not compute and is desperation.
Although the basis of his book makes sense, such as: structure, routine, boundaries should form the basics of any child's life. I find many of his ideas repugnant and belittling.
Young children should eat alone at their own table because they are young? Why because they are little? What is the reason for this.
He recommends using the term "because I said so".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 144 reviews
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
American Parents - Wake Up! 19 Nov. 2009
By Martie Canterberry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
John Rosemond's language is strong, and for good reason. After reading several reviews, it is quite apparent that people either love or hate John Rosemond and/or his books. For those that dislike him intensely, the running themes seem to be a problem with the phrase "because I said so," and punishment for misbehavior.

To clear things up, let's start with "because I said so." Rosemond makes it very clear that giving reasons to children is fine. In fact, he states that there are only about six reasons for why a parent ever denies a request. They're good reasons to US (and offer them if you want to), but the child won't like them anyway, so don't waste your breath. Ultimately, the reason a child needs to take "no" for an answer is because you said so. Anyone who denies this reality would much rather spend time and energy trying to get a little child to see things the way Mommy and Daddy do, so that he or she will be happier about hearing the word "no". Trying to convince the child that your reasons have MERIT (and therefore, should be appreciated by the child) is NOT FINE. This is called establishing a "power struggle" between parent and child. Not a formula for happiness or family harmony, but an excellent formula for creating rude, argumentative, and manipulative behavior... in children as young as three years old.

As for punishment, Rosemond also states that it is rarely needed --- IF you come across as someone who means and does what they say, is calm and confident about your position of authority, and you communicate with an expectation of obedience. If you haven't been that kind of a person as a parent or teacher, then you likely have an out-of-control situation --- or one that, at the very least, needs fixing. The punishments that he mentions are far more humane than the hideously discordant and disrespectful atmospheres that preceded the necessity for Rosemond's outrageous consequences. For those who are complaining about his farty, old-school methods, I have these two questions for you. Have you ever "lowered the boom" on an outrageous kid and held firm for months on end? Or "nipped it in the bud" with an outrageous consequence the FIRST time a reasonably well-behaved child did something totally ridiculous? Before you knock these techniques, why don't you TRY THEM some time? You won't be disappointed, but your kid sure will be. Stand firm, though. Later on, he'll thank you. Your kid deserves to know that he was bad and wrong from YOU FIRST, because YOU are the one who will love him anyway and see him through it. When he's an adult, the rest of the world will simply fire him, divorce him, break friendships with him, or lock him away.

Folks, this is an excellent book. I don't think Mr. Rosemond wants to be liked. Rather, I think he wants to help people steer the right course during this most important job. Thank you, Mr. Rosemond, for bringing common sense and an unsentimental viewpoint to the God-given responsibility of training, teaching, and loving children.
70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
Practical advice, funny stories, a little "over the top." 17 Nov. 2009
By Suzanne R. Arnholt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Well-Behaved Child is an entertaining step into "old style" discipline. After discounting ADD, ADHD, and basically any other psychological behavioral disorder, the author reminds parents that they are in charge of their household; their kids are kids. The chapter on "Alpha" speech is phenomenal. I have two daughters, currently ages 9 and 4. They are generally well-behaved, polite, lovely kids, but the older has had trouble keeping her room uncluttered, and the younger has had a tendency to get frustrated easily and cry about things that are really not "cry-worthy" (gloves not fitting right, not getting to eat candy for breakfast, etc.) After reading the book, I let my older daughter know that she would be missing a friend's upcoming birthday party if her room was not adequate by the morning of the party, and she would be missing any other such party in the future if it didn't stay that way. That was 3 weeks ago, and her room has been amazingly much better...bed made, no toys on the floor, clothes in the hamper and not on the floor, etc. ever since. Her comment after I told her was "the worst part about that is I can tell you are serious." Go "Alpha speech"! The younger got 3 tickets, which are on papers with little angels, and told that if she screamed because she didn't like something 3 times in a day, she would lose her night-time story privilege. She must also sit in the "chair of wisdom" for 15 minutes after an offense to think about why she should use her words instead. I think she has lost 3 angels in 3 weeks. Not bad, considering we used to have several of these fits a day. So, at least read the chapter on how to convince your kids you mean what you say when you say it.

One of the main techniques for discipline is to put kids to bed early. For some kids, this may just improve their behavior because tired kids behave badly (tired adults too). So, not a bad technique, but it could definitely be overused. I think his primary goal of raising kids who are responsible for their own actions is highly worthwhile. He is right that kids are "bad" = selfish, inconsiderate, disorderly, etc. until they are trained not to be...ask any new mother. Most children will learn to be considerate early if people are considerate of them. My 4-year-old has learned to ask "can you do _____ when you finish ______", and you can fill in the blanks with whatever. The "because I said so" approach works fine occasionally, but if you want a thinking child, you must give explanations. Of course, you give them AFTER your child has already obediently done what you wanted him/her to do. The definition of obedience in Shepherding a Child's Heart is what you really want, and you want it because your child loves you.

The "doctor" technique mentioned is just bad...you are the parent, you can tell your kids that the reason you think they are having a problem is they need more sleep, less tv, or whatever. Inventing an imaginary authority undermines your own.

So, overall, some techniques in this book work well. Some of the language is unnecessarily nasty (name calling doesn't belong in a professional work). The "Alpha speech" and "you are in charge" chapters are worth reading if you are uncomfortable in the leadership role of parent. I do recommend this book, but use wisdom in applying what is said (as one usually must when dealing with children).
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Old-Fashioned Child Raising 23 Nov. 2009
By Andrew K. Comings - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Well Behaved Child by John Rosemond is, as the title suggests, a parenting book. In it the author enthusiastically challenges parents to return to the philosophy of their parents and grandparents, before the "psychobabble" of the sixties took over the culture.

Rosemond starts with a shocking premise: Children are bad. Of course this will only be shocking to those who have never had a two-year-old, or, if they have, it was so long ago they have forgotten what it was like. With this premise firmly on place, he proceeds to offer seven "fundamentals of effective discipline". Highlighted among these are the "agony principle" and the "godfather principle".

The Agony Principle

Parents should not agonize over anything a child does or fails to do if the child is perfectly capable of agonizing over it himself.

The Godfather Principle

To activate the Agony Principle, you simply make the misbehaving, irresponsible child an offer he can't refuse.

After laying down the basic principles the author provides specific tools and methods (charts, tickets, etc) to help implement the principles. The book is chock full of anecdotal accounts, mostly of parents who implemented the principles with impressive results. Rosemond's style is witty, conversational, and especially biting--especially when he touches on the prevailing "psychobabble".

Before receiving this book via the Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers program I had never heard of John Rosemond. Before I was halfway through the book I had decided to add every book he had written to my wishlist. As the father of an eight-year-old and a three-year-old, I began to see areas where my parenting skills needed honing. Of special interest to me was the section where he describes how to get your child to do his homework without a parent at his side. Others may find interesting the sections about potty training, tantrums and other, more bizarre behavior.

It was refreshing to read Rosemond's rejection of medicated treatments for behavioral problems. He is merciless in his criticisms of those who perpetrate this travesty on American families.

There are times when Rosemond seems to exaggerate in order to make his point. But his point--that American families need desperately to return to common-sense, biblical parenting methods--is well worth making.

If you have kids, or know someone who does, you owe it to yourself to read The Well-Behaved Child.

This review was written in participation with the Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers program. Though I do receive a free book for my participation, I am under absolutely no pressure to write a positive review.
38 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Good book but glean wisely 28 Sept. 2009
By Heidi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Typically when I read a review of a child discipline book, I either agree strongly or totally disagree with the methods suggested. For the first time, I am riding the fence. The Well-Behaved Child: Discipline that Really Works! is a book that introduced me to some ideas that I will using but several that I will not be.

The jest of the book is for all discipline you either take a child's electronics and toys away, send them to their room (with the room cleared of all extras), or send them to bed early. I think that there is a place for all of these methods. My concern is that these are deemed the only methods (for the most part). That is all fine and dandy but what do you do when a child refuses to stay in their room for hours? Unless I missed this, it is never covered. Also, I do believe, unlike the author, that punishments should fit the crime when possible. Creative parenting can be very effective.

The discipline described in this book is "authoritarian". "Because I said so" is the motto. There is a time and place for this. But, there is also a time and place for a child to learn why Mommy said so. When a parent steps down and explains to a toddler that the fire is hot, the toddler will be less likely to continue trying to get close to it if he has actually felt the warmth under the guidance of an adult.

As I stated, I have pulled some much needed and useful tips from Dr. Rosemond. I do intend to pass this book along to a few parents as there is wisdom to glean. But, with this book, as with every book, just because it is written down doesn't mean that it is absolute. Talk to parents of older kids who have been there. Go to God in prayer. Seek wisdom to know how you should raise you child to be a godly son or daughter of Christ.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The Well-Behaved Child 6 Nov. 2009
By Eskypades - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Any parent of a child older than 12 months old knows that children have a mind of their own and many times, that mind tells them to rebel against all social mores known to the civilized world. It is the goal of most, if not all parents to be able to train their child in a way that teaches the child obedience, respect, and self-confidence. Unfortunately, many parents are simply at their wit's end in knowing how to effectively train their children.

Family psychologist and syndicated columnist John Rosemond all but guarantees phenomenal results in even the most devilish of children in his newest book, The Well-Behaved Child. His basic premise is that, contrary to modern-day "psychobabble" (he uses this and other similar terms throughout the book), children are, in a word, bad. And it is solely the parents' responsibility to "exorcise those demons that can be pried loose and help their child learn to control those that refuse to let go" (p.5). To this end, Rosemond outlines "seven fundamentals of effective discipline" and "seven discipline tools you can't do without."

Rosemond's fundamentals of effective discipline rest entirely on the assertion that parents have ultimate authority in the family and until they learn to talk ("Alpha Speech") and act like it, their children simply won't be bothered to listen or obey. Parents should use phrases like "Because I said so" frequently and with gusto. Closely following this is the need to nip disobedience in the bud by requiring first time obedience and administering punishment that more severe than the crime warrants in order to prevent the crime from occurring again.

Some of the discipline tools include "tickets," "strikes," or "charts." Each of these follow a similar theme in that the child is given a set number of chances in a given time period to obey before punishment is administered. The first two or three are allowed to pass without punishment, but once those are gone, the child then begins losing privileges for a set period of time. Punishments include things like taking away toys, video games, and privileges. The harshest punishment that Rosemond seems to consider is a child being confined to his room for the rest of the day no matter what time the punishment is administered. At the end of the period, the child will supposedly either be reformed or in need of another hearty dose of one or another of these discipline tools.

Anyone familiar with Rosemond's column on parenting will know exactly what to expect. For those unfamiliar with him, Rosemond is his usual sarcastic, sometimes-humorous, caustic, condescending self who insists that previous generations all had enough common sense to know exactly how to deal with these "Demon Spawn[s] of Satan." Many of today's parenting problems would not exist if only today's parents took advice from their grandparents. From the start, Rosemond is quite clear that he has no tolerance for modern-day "psychobabble" that labels misbehaving children with some psychological ailment of one stripe or another. According to Rosemond, most if not all "ailments" are curable by implementing strict discipline.

While Rosemond is careful to insist that his methods are not guaranteed to change a child, it seems like he is only trying to add a disclaimer after repeatedly using language that shows he thinks otherwise. For example, he states that "one does not accomplish the successful discipline of a child by manipulating the consequences" (p.22), yet every disciplinary tool he recommends incorporates some consequence as a result of a child's misbehavior.

There are several good things that Rosemond discusses in his book. I believe he is absolutely correct when he says that children are born bad and that it is the parents' responsibility to train their children. This lines up with the Biblical teaching of the depravity of man and the authority of the parents. First time obedience should indeed be expected of and trained in our children. Some of the tools and principles he suggests seem to be at least worth trying.

At the same time, there are several issues that I have with what Rosemond has written. First, Rosemond has an extremely authoritarian view of parenting. Children are not to be reasoned with or given explanations, but are to simply obey what has been told them. As Rosemond says, "When a child is old enough to be successfully reasoned with, he is no longer a child. He's ready to leave home--and he should" (p.6). This kind of thinking leaves me scratching my head and wondering why Rosemond would not see the wisdom in giving explanations to their children in order to help the children understand what has been told them. I'm not talking about arguing with a toddler, but simply explaining things to a child who has developed the ability to understand things. This kind of discipline seems to only tend toward making a person completely dependent on the parents' beliefs, only to have the child rebel at the first possible opportunity.

Additionally, the one "tool" I disagree with the most is what Rosemond refers to as "the Doctor." Essentially, the parents convince a child that, according to "the Doctor" his or her obedience issues aren't the child's fault because the child is simply too tired, too over-stimulated, etc. and simply needs more rest. The child can't really argue with the parents since it's not their call, but rather "the Doctor's." Rosemond attempts to justify this lie by saying it isn't really a lie since it is in the child's best interest. What perplexes me the most about this "tool" is that it seems to contradict what Rosemond has just spent pages trying to establish - that every issue of disobedience IS the child's problem and that final authority rests on the parents. Instead, the fictitious "Doctor" is given final authority and the problem is converted into one that the child supposedly has no control over except to rest more.

Lastly, Rosemond constantly refers to research that has been done that proves without a doubt his point of view. For example, he says "Research into parenting outcomes is clear that the best-behaved children are also the happiest, most well-adjusted children" (p.148). However, this research is never cited in the endnotes section. I realize that this isn't necessarily a professional psychological paper, but if he's going to have an endnotes section (in which he cites himself in 7 out of 11 endnotes), it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to include some reference as to where this research comes from. Or maybe Rosemond is simply pulling his own version of "the Doctor" on his readers.

Overall, the Rosemond has some good principles to give concerning parenting and even some helpful tools. But the reader should take everything with a grain of salt and more than just a little discernment.

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing a review copy of this book.)
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