KEEPING PARENTS OUT OF TROUBLE by Dan Kiley

KEEPING PARENTS OUT OF TROUBLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Parents, forget communication; put your child on a ""control rope"" and give it a jerk when necessary--take the door off your son's room if you catch him smoking, snap your fingers to remind him not to slouch, fine him three dollars for leaving the bathroom a mess three mornings in a row. ""Dr. Dan,"" an Illinois Department of Corrections psychologist, has shifted to an authoritarian mode far beyond the reasoned advice of his first book, Nobody Said It Would Be Easy (1978). Viewing children as ""programmed to act defiantly,"" he is all for a return to tough discipline, to basics in school, to rewards for good behavior. He advocates setting clear, firm limits (no unchaperoned dates for girls under 16, no drugs, no allowances for teens) and swift ""disciplinary procedures"" (enforced study sessions, ""Snoopervision,"" even ostracism--though he does recommend professional guidance here). All this breaks down, however, when parents are advised not to attempt to direct an adolescent's social behavior since they ""lose 99% of their ability to control whom he sees and where he goes"" when he goes out. And, Kiley tells parents, ""You cannot directly affect your child's sexuality."" So he advocates maturity and all the facts, including those on birth control, along with respectful language, etc., or it's back to tighter curfews and supervision--and probably to sneaking out and lying, since what parents don't know they can't punish. Intrinsic values are absent--get a job to stay out of trouble, study to earn a stereo. It's a self-proclaimed dictatorial approach, best implemented by parents impervious to pleading, peer pressure, and power plays--and who have strong locks on all the doors and windows.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1981
Publisher: Warner