This book offers a program for dealing with children who could be considered 'difficult', but the ideas are valid for any parent child relationship. The book is full of simple but extremely effective ways of organizing family life. Never negotiate! But also decide ahead of time what activities children really need to do or avoid. When children are demonstrating challenging behavior do not try to get children to agree, just get them to comply. How? The author shows how small sanctions are very effective in getting children to comply. No shouting - no arguing. Are children being rude? Never deal with a request when not made politely. Challenge the rudeness. This all leads to a much happier time for everyone!
I wasn't sure if I would like this book or not and thought it was a little pricey but have to say it was worth it. Thought provoking and very useful in trying to bring up your children and teenager, particularly if you are having a difficult time with them! Very useful advice and plans to help in those difficult times, highly recommended!
Hi Warwick , just a quick update from our household given we have just passed a big milestone (Christmas).
Last Christmas, you may remember, with your advise we withheld Christmas presents from our eldest daughter Karen, due to some fairly extreme behaviour , a difficult decision and a difficult Christmas. Given we have just had the exact opposite experience with Christmas this time around, I thought I would drop you a line to confirm how well things are going.
Karen this year has been the child she deserves to be, fun, happy, good company and a great daughter. We still keep a chart of both children's behaviour (it drives pocket money calculations) and both children are neck-a-neck and costing dad a fortune as we have many ticks and few crosses. Both children had full Christmas stockings this time around as both had behaved very well. Obviously they do still mis-behave but only in a way we would consider normal and Karen has learned to control things so she doesn't escalate her sanctions beyond a half hour or hours "time out" on the sofa in the dining room. We are obviously delighted to be a happy family.
Both school teachers and family have commented on how much healthier and happier Karen looks.
All in all, a great success I think - thanks to being given your book. We know we have some difficult teenage years to come with the 2 girls, but we feel now we at least have a solid foundation on which to progress, we feel in control and not terrified at what kind of nightmare is around the corner. I know we will get through any difficulties.
I hope this finds you well anyway, thanks again for all of your help, I will continue to promote the book to people I hear of with similar problems (I have a few left).
Many books claim to "change your life for the better", few in my experience deliver the goods. I have to say though, this book, which is easy to read and absorb has made a HUGE difference to the happiness and wellbeing of our family.
Its first success (the first evening we read it) was for us to instantly realise several things :
1) Our child was not abnormal - she was exactly as Warwick describes in the book! Not bad, not ill, just exploiting her circumstances. 2) Our child was not at fault, we were (not in a terrible way, just that we were not doing the right things in the right way at the right times) 3) That this COULD be fixed 4) That the fixes were things that WE needed to change (which is FAR easier than making the child change - as Warwick points out, the child will change themselves when put in the correct circumstances). 5) That we were no longer helpless.
Just those 5 things, in 24 hours transformed our house into a calmer place. Now I don't wish to suggest it fixed my childs behaviour in 24hrs, it absolutely didn't, that took weeks and is still work in progress, but we ARE getting there and very importantly, our child is far happier as a result. Just having a plan and not being totally out of ideas and feeling frustrated and helpless, calmed both parents down very quickly.
The book served to remind us of many things we really already knew and did - but just not in a structured and consistent way - because we had a point of reference, myself and my wife had in effect a "mediator" in paper form we could relate to - which rapidly reduced the arguments we had as husband and wife about who was correct in their approach to managing the childs behaviour. We both implemented exactly as Warwick described and slowly but surely peace and harmony began to be re-introduced.
I am really no fan of self help books, but we had real difficulties and a GP friend gave us a copy of this book (we had tried council services, our own GP and school with little in the way of good advice being offered). I will be forever grateful that my friend managed to find this book as I now know I will have a better relationship with one of my children as a result. This book should really be provided by the Government to families facing problems - £10 of tax payers money very well spent, it clearly won't fix every child behavioural problem, but I bet it could solve an awful lot and make for happier households.
I downloaded your e-book (Mercury's Child) a few years ago when I thought my elder son (now 9) behaved "badly". I found it truly fascinating and even though I applied some of your principles immediately (i.e. without going through the book a few times, agreeing on the system with my partner etc) I found them working within a single day!! (It probably shows that my son really was not that bad, only reacting to MY inappropriate behaviour, as you indicated). I found the most useful piece of advice the fact that it is the parents' behaviour that needs to be addressed to achieve any changes in a child's behaviour. How very true.
I stared to re-read the book yesterday following a phase of my son's "behaving badly" again and ended up looking up your website and watching some of the programmes on dysfunctional families. My God - it really made me realise that my children are, in fact, good as gold!!! Poor children and poor parents in the programme! I was more sorry for the children because it was the parents (as you say) who created the home environment.
I could not agree more with your theory of the right type of consequences. I remember as children, we loved and thrived in "discipline environments" where boundaries (as well as consequences) were clearly and firmly set and understood.
It was extremely interesting for me to read in your book that it is always the adult-child relationship that must be address and not the child's bad behaviour as such. My two young sons are a very good example: they tend to behave very differently in my and my husband's countries, both having slightly different standards of what is acceptable behaviour in children. When visiting their relatives my country, they would not even DREAM of behaving in a way which may be acceptable in the UK (e.g. not eating what's on their plate, switching TV without asking for permission first, being very loud in public, etc.). I myself am caught between the two worlds, back home I'm still sometimes seen as a "week" parent, in the UK as "far too strict". But the children are clever - they quickly adapt to external circumstance - for the better or worse as allowed, as you very well know. The book helped me to focus on myself and see how I could improve my own behaviour and the way I react to my children.
I just wanted to say that I really admire your work and that I have found your book and advice fascinating and very useful. You may not like hearing this but I have used the book as a "quick fix" several times for the improvement of my children's behaviour (or rather, my own) and, in every instance, it has worked - to my greatest astonishment - almost immediately. What is most important, it has helped my children, as well as the whole of our family, to be more happy and contented. And that is the result of applying only a fraction of you're your recommendation. The aim, of course, is to go through it fully, with my partner, and aspire to create this highly motivating and loving environment that you describe as there is always potential for improvement!:-)
I wish you all the best and keep up with your great work!!
Book explains the inside workings of a child's mind really clearly and then explains why certain things that adults do cause problems. Once you have read this, it suddenly all becomes clear! Excellent book, would highly recommend