Getting Through to Difficult Kids and Parents: Uncommon Sense for Child Professionals / Edition 1

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Widely known for his popular parenting guides, seasoned family therapist Ron Taffel now provides a commonsense handbook for child professionals working with challenging families. The book is filled with insights gleaned from Taffel's 25+ years of clinical experience and more than 1000 workshops conducted with parents, kids, and professionals. Provided are concrete strategies for building rapport with stressed-out parents, getting children and adolescents to talk about what really matters, spotting developmental and psychiatric problems before a crisis develops, and developing skills to strengthen kids' self-esteem and parents' effectiveness in setting limits. Special attention is given to the impact of pop culture and peer groups, as well as other pressing adolescent issues. Clearly recounted case vignettes get to the heart of what is going wrong between youngsters and their parents, and show how simple, empathic interventions can make a big difference. Also covered in depth are ways for professionals to handle their own emotional reactions to highly charged family situations.

The book contains no figures.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"I have used Getting Through to Difficult Kids and Parents for 3 years in a graduate counseling course focusing on children and adolescents. Student feedback has been consistently positive for Taffel’s positive approach and practical solutions for working with challenging client families."--John W. Seymour, PhD, LMFT, RPT-S, Department of Counseling and Student Personnel, Minnesota State University, Mankato

"This impressive book will be read and reread for the wealth of information it contains. It will be of assistance to any professional who works with children and parents: mental health practitioners, teachers, clergy, coaches. In a very clear, informative manner, the book portrays the challenges and stresses that confront families today, and offers realistic guidelines for ways in which professionals can help parents meet these challenges. Taffel's insight, knowledge, compassion, and caring are evident on every page. He should be applauded for his continued contributions to improving the lives of families."--Robert Brooks, PhD, Harvard Medical School; author of The Self-Esteem Teacher

"In Getting Through to Difficult Kids and Parents, Taffel presents practical advice drawn from a wealth of experience. His pragmatic approach provides a number of very effective techniques for connecting with youth and their families. Taffel's recommendations are timely, addressing recent changes and challenges in our society. This book will be very useful to all professionals helping children grow."--James P. Comer, MD, Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale Child Study Center

"At last, a truly practical book for clinicians working with children and parents. Taffel has written a sensitive and clear handbook that can be used by beginning and experienced therapists alike. He effectively captures the everyday problems confronted by clinicians and suggests direct and innovative ways to address them. In a simple and readable style, the author has translated his years of experience into learnable lessons for helping professionals. This book has helped me see my own clients more clearly. If you work with parents, you should read this book!"--Peter L. Sheras, PhD, ABPP, Curry Programs in Clinical and School Psychology, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

"Thorough and accessible. The book provides comprehensive, step-by-step suggestions for gathering information, 'getting through to,' and counseling difficult children and parents. Taffel draws on his rich professional experience to provide numerous examples and anecdotes that clarify his strategies and make them concrete. This is an ideal resource for school professionals and others who work with children and parents."--Marlynn M. Griffin, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychological Foundations, College of Education, Georgia Southern University

"This is a clear, direct guide for professionals who deal with challenging children and their families. Taffel provides an approach that emphasizes pragmatic effectiveness over heavy theory. The book moves easily from the personal level of the individual child and family to the societal level, proposing practical interventions on both fronts. All child professionals will appreciate the good sense of Getting Through."--Lawrence H. Diller, MD, author of Running on Ritalin; Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

"Getting Through to Difficult Kids and Parents is a treasure for the new millennium: Ron Taffel is a passionate, systemic thinker who never loses sight of individual differences. His entirely accessible suggestions and compelling case examples offer hope and inspiration to weary professionals and uncertain novices alike. Taffel is empathically attuned to kids, their parents, and to us, persuasively urging all to know ourselves and each other better--and offering a cornucopia of wonderful suggestions for how to do it. This remarkably lucid and thoughtful book brings together the very best of child and family intervention."--Martha B. Straus, PhD, Clinical Associate and Instructor, Dartmouth Medical School; author of No-Talk Therapy for Children and Adolescents

Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry

"Perhaps the biggest challenge that Taffel addresses in his book is not only how to talk to kids, but how to get kids to talk back....This would be a great resource for teachers, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, etc., as each of these disciplines focus on connecting with kids. Getting Through would also serve as a fantastic introductory clinical coursebook in graduate training programs. In general, if you are a child professional, regardless of orientation, context, or background, this book will certainly help to develop insight and make working with families more effective and rewarding."--Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry
The Journal of the American Board of Family Practice

"The text is chock full of practical ideas for anyone who sees children or adolescents or their parents....I picked up dozens of useful tips and techniques for working with families. This book is a worthwhile read for any family physician who has felt frustration or uncertainty when called on to give guidance to children, teens, or parents."--The Journal of the American Board of Family Practice
A popular speaker and author of several childrearing guides gives down-to-earth advice for professionals working with challenging kids and parents. He delineates strategies for gathering information quickly and spotting developmental and psychiatric problems, and offers tips for building rapport with parents and children. He describes approaches for keeping parents and kids connected, strengthening kids' self-esteem, and bolstering parents' effectiveness in setting limits. The author is founder of Family and Couples Treatment Services at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Laura Dobbins Beeks, RN, MSN (Medical University of South Carolina)
Description: The author offers professional advice to healthcare professionals on how to handle the emotional challenges parents and children face when dealing with behavioral problems and confrontational situations.
Purpose: The author wrote this book to offer simple, step-by-step advice to professionals who are dealing with difficult children and parents. He taps into his own experiences and insights as a psychologist and offers excellent examples of concrete interventional strategies. He has done a good job of meeting his objectives.
Audience: The book is written for professionals working with challenging children and parents. However, the author offers such simple, concrete advice that many parents and other healthcare professionals could easily benefit by reading this book. His experiences and ability to articulate this establishes his credibility as an expert in this field of psychology.
Features: The author focuses on how to guide professionals in dealing with problematic children and their families. He begins by offering suggestions on how to establish trusting relationships and how to recognize problems. He then details how to deal with issues such as anger, aggression, sexuality, and how to communicate effectively with both difficult children and parents. He also focuses on the needs of adolescents in today's dangerous world. One of the best features is the author's encouragement of warmth and optimism.
Assessment: This is an excellent resource for professionals. It offers interesting and often entertaining ways to successfully identify problems and how to best intervene. The author's compassion and understanding of the challenges parents and children face in modern society is one of the best attributes of the book. Both parents and professionals would benefit from his influence.

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593850937
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 244
  • Sales rank: 981,997
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Ron Taffel, PhD, has supervised and written about working with children and families for over two decades. He is one of the country’s most sought-after speakers for both professional and parent audiences. Dr. Taffel is the award-winning author of over 100 academic and popular articles, and has been a contributing editor to McCall’s and Parents magazines for 14 years. His childrearing guides, translated into numerous languages, include the critically acclaimed Parenting by Heart, Nurturing Good Children Now, and When Parents Disagree, as well as the professional handbooks Getting Through to Difficult Kids and Parents and Breaking Through to Teens. His latest popular book on adolescence, he Second Family, was recently released in paperback. Dr. Taffel is the founder of Family and Couples Treatment Services at The Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy in New York City, where he lives with his wife and two children.
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Table of Contents

1. Getting Started: How to Quickly Gather the Information That Counts
2. Down and Dirty Diagnosis: Spotting Developmental and Psychiatric Problems Early On
3. Tough Tykes: Getting Through to Difficult Children (2-10 Years Old)
4. Up Against the Wall: Getting Through to Difficult Parents
5. Gut Responses: Handling Anger, Outrage, Sexuality, and Other "Unprofessional" Feelings
6. Staying in Charge: Helping Parents Avoid the Traps of Modern Parenthood
7. The Second Family: Working with Adolescents in a Dangerous World
8. Resilient Kids: Nurturing Self-Esteem in 21st-Century Children and Adolescents
9. The Power of Two: Helping Parents Create a Unified Front
10. Families Under Siege: Helping Parents and Children Connect
11. At the Millennium: Toward a New Paradigm for Working with Children and Parents
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