Perfect Parenting: The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips: The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips

Perfect Parenting: The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips: The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips

by Pantley

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Your go-to guide for your parenting questions, from the author of the breakthrough No-Cry series

"Perfect Parenting will give you the tools you need to feel confident as you raise your children. This handy reference book may become an indispensable part of your family's life."
-- from the foreword by William Sears, M.D.


Your go-to guide for your parenting questions, from the author of the breakthrough No-Cry series

"Perfect Parenting will give you the tools you need to feel confident as you raise your children. This handy reference book may become an indispensable part of your family's life."
-- from the foreword by William Sears, M.D.

Perfect Parenting is parenting with a plan. It is based on:

  • action, not reaction
  • thoughtfulness, not anger
  • knowledge, not chance
  • common sense, not nonsense
This A-Z guide of practical ideas will inspire you to find the right answers for the many discipline and behavior issues you face every day. Inside you will find many options and methods that can help you be thoughtful in your approach to raising your children.

You'll learn what to do about back talk, dawdling, interrupting, stubbornness, whining. You'll find ways to get your kids to do the chores, stop ignoring you, and clean up their own messes. You'll even learn what to do about other people's children! Elizabeth Pantley designed a questionnaire addressing discipline problems and sent it to hundreds of parents. Their answers shaped this book to make it the most useful, practical book on discipline available today.

Editorial Reviews

Kathy Lyn
Perfect Parenting is THE dictionary for parents. No longer will parents need to thumb through all their books and magazines for answers to common questions. Parents will particularly appreciate the range of possible solutions. The author clearly understands that there is no right answer to any problem. I predict that Perfect Parenting will be the best-thumbed book in all parent's libraries. -- Parenting Today Vancouver, British Columbia

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McGraw-Hill Education
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3 MB

Read an Excerpt


Situation: My child gripes and complains whenever he's asked to do something. He does what he's told, but he sure lets me know how unhappy he is with the situation.

Think about it: Learning to do the things we must, even when we don't want to, is a process of maturity. (And even the most mature among us are heard to utter a complaint now and then!) Understanding how to voice our opinions in a proper and respectful way is a learned skill.

  • Restate the complaint in the way you want to hear it. If a child says, "Yuck! I hate this green stuff!" You respond, "What I'd like to hear you say is, 'Dad, I don't care for spinach.'"
  • Let your child know you are going to ignore complaining - and do just that. When you ask your child to do something and he responds with a complaint, just repeat your request and walk out of the room.
  • Use the broken record technique. Continue to repeat your request in a bland, unemotional way. Your child will tire of hearing it and get the message that you're not going to give up.
  • Tell your child what you want to hear. "Snidely, I'll be happy to listen to you when you use a normal voice and give more thought to your comments." Then end the discussion.
  • After the child has voiced his complaint respond by saying, "Okay, I've heard your problem. What do you think are some possible solutions?" Do not ask in an angry, sarcastic way, but to encourage your child to think of ways to solve his own problem.
  • Make sure you're not modeling complaining behavior with such comments as, "Why can't you put your stuff away? I'm the only one who does anything around here. You kids never clean up after yourselves. . . ." (Incidentally, all this is usually said as a monologue as the parent walks through the house picking up after the kids! This behavior clearly demonstrates complaining at its best.)


Situation: My husband and I haven't finished a complete sentence since last July! Our children interrupt our conversations constantly. Even while I'm asking them to wait until we're done talking they're busy interrupting my request!

Think about it: Many parents admonish kids for interrupting, but in the same breath respond to the child's interrupted request! Interrupting is habit forming. Like many annoying behaviors, once kids figure out that they can "get away with it," the behavior will continue.

  • Teach your child how to determine if something warrants an interruption. Children often are so focused on their own needs that they don't really absorb the fact that they're being rude. Teach your child to wait for a pause in the conversation and to say, "Excuse me." When she does this, respond positively. If the interruption is of a nature that it can and should wait, politely inform your child of this and then continue talking.
  • Tell your child that if she wants something when you are talking to another adult, she should walk up to you and gently squeeze your arm. You will then squeeze her hand to indicate that you know she is there and will be with her in a minute. At first, respond rather quickly so your child can see the success of this method. Over time you can wait longer, just give a gentle squeeze every few minutes to remind your child that you remember the request.
  • Pause, look your child in the eye, and say, "I'll be with you in a minute." Then turn your face, body and attention away from your child. Do not engage your child with repeated pleas for her to stop. If your child continues to interrupt, motion to the person you're talking with to walk away with you.
  • Praise your child for using good manners, remembering to say "excuse me," and for interrupting only for a valid reason.

Listening, not

Situation: My kid doesn't listen to me! I have to repeat myself over and over. Even then he doesn't do what I've asked. When I remind him, he looks at me with that befuddled look that says, "Huh? You were talking to ME?"

Think about it: Sounds like your child has what is commonly known as "Selective Hearing." (In other words, you can shout at him to take out the trash, and it's as if he has cotton in his ears, but if you whisper that you'll take him out for ice cream, his hearing becomes incredibly sharp!) The good news is that this malady is easily cured when you use the following solutions.

  • When you make a request, be certain you have your child's attention by touching his arm or hand, and making eye contact. Make a clear, simple statement. As an example, do not call from three rooms away, "Time to go!" A better choice is to go to your child, look him eyeball to eyeball and make a very specific request, "Fester, please put on your shoes and coat and get in the car."
  • If your child doesn't respond to your request, ask that he repeat back to you what you said, "Fester, what is it I want you to do?" Once the child has repeated your request, you know that he's heard you, (and he knows that you know that he heard you) and he's more likely to follow through.
  • Make sure you are not encouraging the behavior by nagging or making requests that you don't follow through on. If you typically repeat yourself three or four or twelve times before you take action, your child will learn that he can ignore you the first few times, because all he'll suffer is having to listen to the drone of your voice.
  • Keep your requests brief and to the point. As an example, say you want your child to get ready for bed. Don't launch into a ten-minute lecture on the value of sleep, the importance of getting up on time, the fact that Tuesday is a school night, and why you are sick-and-tired-of-going-through-this-every-night, etc. Limit yourself to a few important words, such as, "Nine o'clock. Bedtime."
  • Use action instead of words. Instead of complaining about the pile of dirty socks in the family room, simply pick them up and hand them to your child. Kids are remarkably perceptive when handed a wad of dirty laundry. Note: Have a doctor check your child's hearing to be sure there is not a physical problem preventing your child from hearing to you.

What People are saying about this

William Sears

In my years of raising eight children and advising parents through my pediatric practice and through twenty-three parenting books, I have learned as much as I have given. I have discovered one parenting dilemma that arises repeatedly. This dilemma is the arduous process of deciding on the right course of action when confronted with a discipline or behavior issue. In my conversations with parents, one type of question invariably arises, "What do I do when my child . . . whines . . . back talks . . . hits her sister . . . won't cooperate . . ." Parents often struggle to find the right answer and then experience frustration when that one right answer fails to solve the problem.

Parenting educator Elizabeth Pantley presents here a multitude of valuable ideas to answer your everyday questions. She gives practical suggestions on a diverse selection of topics that likely cover every parenting dilemma you'll encounter. The beauty of this simple dictionary format is that you can review all the suggestions for any situation, and then use whatever method best fits your child and your family situation to create your own solution. If that suggestion doesn't work, you've got in hand several others from which to choose.

Perfect Parenting will give you the tools you need to feel confident as you raise your children. This handy reference book may become an indispensable part of your family's life. -- (William Sears, M.D. Dr. Sears is one of America's most respected pediatricians. He and his wife, Martha Sears, R.N., have been counseling parents for more than twenty years. They appear frequently on national television, are extensively quoted in the media, and have collaborated on twenty-three books on parenting, including The Discipline Book, The A.D.D. Book, The Baby Book, and The Pregnancy Book. William and Martha Sears are the parents of eight children, and grandparents of three.)

Katey Roemmele
Perfect Parenting is a must-have book for today's busy parents who may not have time to read a complete book to find answers to their childrearing problems. With Perfect Parenting parents can quickly look up a specific topic and find several practical, easy-to-follow solutions, all of which foster a loving and respectful parent-child relationship. -- (Katey Roemmele, Editor, Northwest Family Magazine, Bellingham, Washington)
Rona L. Levy
Some parents are lucky. They go into parenting with skills that they learned by observing effective ways their parents handled certain problems. We have all met them, or maybe you are even one of them. But any one person's experience is limited. Imagine pulling together the collective skills of many of these people and then putting them into a package where all of us could easily access this accumulated wisdom for almost any parenting problem you would have. With Perfect Parenting, Elizabeth Pantley's latest book has given all of us such a wonderful resource. -- (Rona L. Levy, Ph.D., Professor, University of Washington Seattle, Washington)
Susan Beekman
Perfect Parenting, a parent-friendly compilation of choices and strategies, is practical, wise and witty. It gives parents a pocketful of solutions to everyday conflicts. -- (Susan Beekman, author, Battles, Hassles, Tantrums and Tears)
Tamara Eberlein
Perfect Parenting is good news, for parents and kids alike. Here's a wealth of wisdom about children's behavior, coupled with ingenious yet practical solutions to almost every imaginable problem. Elizabeth's approach puts parents in charge, but lets children know they're respected and loved. And it's all wrapped up in one easy-to-access package. -- (Tamara Eberlein, Author, Whining: Tactics for Taming Demanding Behavior and Sleep: How to Teach Your Child to Sleep Like a Baby)
Len Fellez
This is THE book to keep on your kitchen counter. It's packed with creative, practical solutions to all your everyday parenting problems. The dictionary format makes it easy to find quick, specific answers. Pantley's advice is based on common sense and sound parenting philosophies. -- (Dr. Len Fellez, author, Guerrilla Parenting and Your Child's Self Esteem)
Peter Herbst
Perfect Parenting is full of no-nonsense, practical wisdom about many of the most common, and vexing, child-rearing issues. Parents will find solutions they can put into practice right away. -- (Peter Herbst, Editor-in-Chief, Family Life Magazine)
Connie Schulz
Perfect Parenting includes just about every issue that comes up for discussion in our parenting classes. The lists of possible solutions will ppeal to a wide variety of parenting styles; there is something for everyone! The "think about it" sections that appear after each realistically described situation help to establish a problem-solving perspective and allow the mind to open up to the numerous ways parents' and children's needs can be met. We are fortunate to have Elizabeth's experiences and humor to help guide us to better relationships with our children. -- (Connie Schulz, M.S., C.F.L.E. Family Outreach Specialist, State College Area School District)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Pantley publishes the newsletter Parent Tips, read by thousands of parents nationwide, and is regularly quoted in magazines including Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Parents, Parenting, Woman's Day, Working Mother, and American Baby.

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