Raising the Challenging Child

If your child is challenging, it may be hard for you to figure out why. It’s easy to become frustrated as the situation seems to get worse instead of better with every new thing your try. Raising the Challenging Child: How to Minimize Meltdowns, Reduce Conflict and Increase Cooperation by Buckwalter, Reed and Sunshine claims to have the solutions you need.

Unfortunately, I’m not so sure they do. The book is a bit tricky to review. On the surface, many of their principles make sense. When they start giving specific suggestions for how to put those principles into practice though, things begin to fall apart.

While some suggestions are fine, others would only serve to make the situation worse. They may work if your child is already well behaved and your relationship is healthy. This book, however, is billed as one that will help parents who are struggling with raising a challenging child.

Advice like “try to say no as little as possible” and urging parents to make sure their child’s “bank account” is full of them saying “yes” to the child, so things will be okay when they finally decide to deny their child something is a bit concerning.

And it doesn’t stop there. My child was given plenty of room to make her own choices, but the authors make it seem as if you can’t cook a meal or make any decisions without giving your child the decisive power in multiple ways. Page after page of their suggestions, left me feeling that their solution to raising a challenging child is to let him or her become entitled and selfish.

Yes, their principles say otherwise, but the suggestions read like a very passive parent who gives in to keep their children happy. I just kept wondering what children raised with their suggestions will do when confronted with a boss who doesn’t want to hear their opinion on everything or constantly praise their every breath.

This book may be okay for some parents. For those with challenging children, I would suggest looking into books by people like James Dobson instead.

This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review.

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking. Their daughter Katrina, who has been an integral part of their service adventures, attends Pepperdine University.

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