I believe it is a good idea to read parenting books and ideas regularly. I don't always agree with what I read and sometimes what I read just isn't right for the stage my family is at or for our family dynamic but I think just thinking about doing a good job at being a parent is important. I just finished reading Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jay Fay for the second. This is one I think every parent should read.
This is the description Amazon.com gave for the book:
From Library Journal
Psychiatrist Cline and educator Fay's "Love and Logic" parenting method advocates raising responsible children through practice. "Helicopter" parents hover around their children while "drill sergeant" parents give orders to theirs, they claim. Neither of these styles permits children to learn how to make choices and learn from the consequences. The result is that as early as adolescence these children too often make bad decisions. In the context of a healthy, loving relationship, "Love and Logic" parents teach their children responsibility and the logic of life by solving their own problems, providing skills for coping in the real world. After laying out the principles of "Love and Logic," the authors provide "parenting pearls," which are strategies for applying the method to actual situations such as back-seat battles in the car, homework, and keeping bedrooms clean. The narration, performed by Tim Kenney and Bert Gurule, is clear and energetic. This is an upbeat and sensible approach to child rearing that will be popular in public libraries.?Nann Blaine Hilyard, Fargo P.L., N.D.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
If you're looking for practical parenting skills, this book is a must. The pages are chock full of tips that you can implement right away...this book is one of the best parenting resources I've seen. Because of what I learned from this book, I've already seen positive changes in my relationship with my son. Don't let this vital resource slip by. (Jolene L. Roehlkepartain, OURS Magazine, February 1993)
Without question, this is the most practical book I have ever read on this subject, and I hope that every parent gets a copy and puts it into practice. -- John Kennington, Fellowship Today Magazine, December 1990
It really is that good. However, I would like to say that many of the "parenting pearls" at the back of the book were a little extreme. For example: To fix the "'That looks gross!' when a new meal is placed in front the kids" problem, the book says to say "That's no problem," dump the food down the garbage disposal and tell the kids to go play because their meal is over. Later, when they come in and get themselves something to eat, you stand and watch. When they are done eating, you tell them the food they just ate cost $1.90 and ask if they want to pay cash or if they want it taken out of their allowance. I can see that this would make a big statement but I think, in my house, when the kids say "that's gross!" if I told them that if they complain like that, they can chose to not eat and they won't be getting anything later. If they do indeed choose to not eat and they are asking for something later, I could offer that they can pay for the extra food or stay hungry. Or I could not offer at all. They made the choice to go hungry. I want my kids to feel like they live in a stable house and that Mom isn't going to be springing all these strange rules up at any given moment. I understand that the problem that is being addressed is not having to deal with kids saying they hate the food at every meal and I think they certainly will think twice before saying it at another meal if their food gets disposed of and then they are charged for extra food but I also think that letting them know that if they complain about the food, they know what will actually happen.
Using a less drastic approach may require a reminder when they start to complain at the next meal but if there is a third time, there doesn't need to be a warning. The rule is in place and it must be followed through with - and the children will know what they are getting into when they complain about the food. I prefer consistent consequences to unexpected consequences.
Other than toning down the drama a bit (we already have enough of that here), I think it poses a very good way of thinking about parenting. It provides parents with the way to give the responsibility of being a good and responsible kid to their kid.