Parents in Charge: Setting Healthy, Loving Boundaries for You and Your Child

Parents in Charge: Setting Healthy, Loving Boundaries for You and Your Child

by Dana Chidekel



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Parents in Charge: Setting Healthy, Loving Boundaries for You and Your Child by Dana Chidekel

How many times have you said, "How many times do I have to tell you ...?" Why do the terrible twos exist and what makes them so terrible -- and for whom? In Parents in Charge, Dr. Dana Chidekel answers these questions while providing a road map to raising children who will become competent, responsible, thoughtful, and successful adults. Full of uncommon wisdom and common sense, based solidly in developmental theory and the most recent brain research, this empowering guide offers practical solutions to everyday parenting dilemmas: What is effective discipline, and when and how do you use it? How do you promote real self-esteem in kids? How can you stop saying no all the time? With honesty and simplicity, Dr. Chidekel also tackles hot-button topics of current parenting practice, including children's calling adults by their first names, out-of-control birthday parties, and the limits parents must put on their own behavior. Enlivened with stories, anecdotes, and a healthy dose of humor, Parents in Charge gives you the tools you need to raise children that you -- and other people -- will love and enjoy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743202022
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 01/01/1902
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.36(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.96(d)

Read an Excerpt


Is your toddler making important decisions in your house? Have you ever found yourself in an extended negotiation with your five-year-old? Do you ever wonder at the difference between how well you minded your parents when you were small and how poorly your children seem to listen to you? Is your four-year-old still wearing diapers? Do you shudder to think of taking your three-year-old out to a restaurant to eat?

Parents who consult with me regularly report that they feel their children are running the household. Many report that their children are strong-willed and impossible to control. Never have there been more books advising parents about discipline and child rearing, and never, it seems, have there been so many children who are so ill-mannered and poorly behaved. Many parents feel helpless and don't know what to do. It seems that we need a new way to think about parenting, a new approach. We need this not only to get through each day more smoothly with our children, but also to guide our children today in ways that prepare them to live as adults in the larger world.

This book is predicated on the assumption that early experiences with parents and caregivers are pivotal in shaping the mental and emotional development of children. How parents behave with their children and their understanding of their children's developmental needs have enormous impact on how children come to understand themselves and how they see themselves in relationship to the world. Parents contribute to the contents of children's minds by giving them information directly. More important, parents' interactions with children define the parameters and range of children's minds and feelings, the freedom with which they may use the tools they have been given, the breadth of the lives that they will allow themselves to live, and the ways they will meet all future demands for coping and learning.

This book offers useful tips for dealing with common, short-term child rearing challenges. It also considers the long-term implications of parental actions. If we can be attuned to our children, educated about the depth and breadth of their needs, and aware of how our actions may affect them, then we can make choices that allow them the greatest opportunities to live fulfilling lives. We can raise a society of fine young children who grow into fine adults. As we take better care of our children, so they will grow to become good caretakers of themselves, of each other, and of society as a whole.

I am a clinician in private practice. I am also a citizen of the world. In order to illustrate the ideas I am discussing in this book most clearly, I have used anecdotes. Aspects of these stories are drawn from my clinical practice. No story represents one specific person or encounter, but rather, they have all been constructed to represent common problems for which parents of young children often seek assistance. Some anecdotes are simply my observations of people in the hardware store, on the playground, in the schoolyard, or at the market. Whatever the sources, all names have been changed and other significant, identifying features have been altered to protect the privacy of those involved.

In this book, I am writing about all children -- not just girls and not just boys. This undertaking has put me directly in touch with the fact that our language lacks a gender-neutral pronoun. I might have used all "he" or all "she" throughout the book, but that hardly seems fair or accurate. I could have covered all bases at all times, using "s(he)" and "his/her" and "him/her," but I always find this to be distracting when I am reading, so I don't want to subject you to the same. In the absence of being able to figure out a better way, I have elected to make all gender-neutral pronouns in the odd-numbered chapters feminine, and all gender-neutral pronouns in the even-numbered chapters masculine. If you can think of a better way I might go about dealing with the same problem in future books, I would welcome your suggestions.

Copyright © 2002 by Dana Chidekel, Ph.D.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1Becoming a Parent17
How Babies and Young Children Learn18
My Parents, Myself21
Where You Fit in Your Family of Origin27
Your Temperament29
Unconventional Paths to Parenthood32
Chapter 2The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love40
Parenting: A Job Description41
Defining a Parental Role49
What Is Authority and Do You Have It?50
Authoritative Versus Authoritarian Parenting53
Being the Boss Is Not Always Fun58
The Future Is Now60
"Any Port in a Storm" Parenting64
Don't Expect a Good Night's Sleep66
And You Thought All That Was Behind You69
The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love: Why You'll Love It72
Chapter 3How Parents and Children Experience the World: Sometimes the Twain Shall Meet74
The Culture of Early Childhood Versus the Culture of Adults75
How Children Experience Time77
How Children Think82
What Makes a Child Secure?87
The Gift Is the Relationship88
The Hazards of Overscheduling90
Rethinking the Birthday Party96
Chapter 4Communicating with Children: A How-to Guide from Birth and Beyond104
How Children Learn the Meaning of Language104
What About Your Tone?107
Mean What You Say109
How Do Children Think? Some Concrete Facts About Abstract Thought112
What's Not Okay About "Okay?"115
Giving Clear Commands118
1-2-3: The Pause Between Direction and Action120
Empty Threats122
Chapter 5The Many Faces of No128
The Right Kinds of No129
Another Way to Think About No134
The Wrong Kind of No138
I Want to Say No, but I Don't Know Why143
Not Enough No144
Helping Your Child Channel Anger150
Chapter 6Boundaries, Limits, and Other Unpopular Essentials153
What Your Children May Not Do153
On Being Formal in Informal Times158
What You Should Not Do161
Chapter 7Beyond Crime and Punishment: An Ounce of Prevention178
Say What You Mean179
Defining the Rules182
Accentuate the Positive187
Disobedience by Any Other Name192
Don't Give 'Em Enough Rope193
Time Out--Uses and Misuses196
What Is an Effective Time Out?199
Chapter 8Beyond Crime and Punishment: The Right Kind of Cure203
Making Things Right Is a Process203
The Place of Guilt204
The Difference Between Guilt and Shame205
An Alternative to Shame: Cutting Everyone a Little Slack209
"Sometimes My Kids Make Me Mad"211
Reparation: Putting the World Right Again215
Making the Consequence Fit the "Crime"217
Chapter 9How to Love Children So They Will Love Themselves220
A Foundation of Trust221
Helping Your Toddler Develop Self-Esteem223
Helping Your Preschool or Kindergarten Child Develop Self-Esteem231
School Readiness and Self-Esteem234
Don't Compare Your Child with Others235
How Much It Helps to Feel Understood239
Speaking It Will Not Make It So243
Sometimes You Just Need to Cry246
Why We Miss What's There to Be Seen249
Never Can Say Good-bye251
A Few Final Words254
Suggested Readings257

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