by Dan Kiley ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 7, 1982
Familiar nostrums from Nobody Said It Would Be Easy (1978) and Keeping Parents Out of Trouble (1981)--arranged, now, in alphabetical order: baby-sitters through cleanliness and death to television and working parents. Dr. Dan's regimen calls for take-charge parenting, with lots of extrinsic rewards and punishments. Parents are told to replace Negative Family Activities (that ""turn sour due to uncontrolled hostility, sneers, disruption or other forms of nastiness"") with Positive Family Activities (""in which all family members contribute to a mutually rewarding experience""). The specifics: get bicycles, go grocery-shopping together, pitch into ""a cleaning project around home."" Diverse sections set forth the merits of saying no (via non-verbal signals, too), negotiable and non-negotiable rules (among the latter many are akin to bribery), and various techniques of punishment (five ""degrees"" of grounding, fines, refusing to take phone messages, work details, etc.). On complicated issues, Kiley also has simplistic prescriptions. Parents of runaways should ""locate your child and see him (her) to safety""; then, say ""I guess you're trying to tell me something is wrong"" (or, ""Hey, we have problems to solve as a family and we can't do it if you're not here""). Throughout, the parent is to be in control (e.g., ""Make the child ask each time he or she wishes to use the phone"")--but it's not clear what should be done about the child who simply won't follow such rules, much less welcome a family shopping expedition or stop taking drugs. (The seven steps for dealing with disruptive teenagers call for more work-details and such--capped, finally, by banishment.) For real parenting problems: band-aid remedies, at best.
Pub Date: Sept. 7, 1982
Page Count: -
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1982
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