TEACHING YOUR CHILD TO MAKE DECISIONS: How to Raise a Responsible Child by Gordon Porter with Bob Oskam Miller


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The author of Life Choices and other decision-making guides offers parents an analogous, difficult, but do-able approach to child-rearing. After some tedious definitions and dry explanations, Miller specifies seven steps for decision-making--among them ""establish values,"" ""identify possible action alternatives,"" and ""look ahead to consequences."" Examples from the preschool through the high-school years then illustrate problems parents may encounter and different ways of resolving them. Most valuable are the chapters on the grade-school and junior-high years, often neglected in parenting guides in favor of early developmental events and the full-blown issues of adolescence. Miller suggests that parents work from a family philosophy so that grade-school children know what their limits are both at home and away from home, as well as the consequences of exceeding them. When large or small problems surface, parents can help their children determine discrepancies between what they ""think should be and what actually is,"" and then to consider alternatives. Phil's mother sensed that he was asking for help when he confided that it was getting hard to say no to cigarettes. So she suggested that they discuss how he might handle the situation at a family meeting. A child who pleads that ""everybody's going"" to a party can be asked to supply--or to get--further information. Miller does not pretend that his program is easy to follow: by the junior high years, he notes, parents may have to chart their own decisions and share them with their children as a basis for discussion. And, at any time, parenting groups will be helpful in maintaining consistency. But parents ready to listen to their children, to differ with their decisions and to let them learn from their errors, will find welcome support and guidance.

Pub Date: March 2nd, 1984
Publisher: Harper & Row