HOW TO FIGHT FAIR WITH YOUR KIDS. . . AND WIN! by Luree & Laura Torbet Nicholson


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A complicated guide to a technique called the ""Fair-Fight"" system, which uses games and rituals to help family members find out what they really want from each other and to arrive at mutually satisfactory agreements. Nicholson, a family counselor, developed this system from George Bach's work on creative aggression (Stop, You're Driving Me Crazy, 1979), the idea being to express anger without fearing loss of affection. There is some sensible discussion here of what Nicholson (and Bach) call ""crazymaking"" behavior--nagging, indirect aggression, guilt-evoking--illustrated with all-too-familiar examples (""You're not going out again tonight, are you? Your father and I never get to see you anymore""). The techniques themselves are designed to be used by a parent who, serving as family counselor, will guide the other participants. These techniques, however, are sensitive and complicated, and could easily be damaging if not handled by a trained counselor--a ""Virginia Woolf,"" for instance, in which two people scream their hostilities at each other for not more than two minutes (according to the plan, they aren't hurt because they don't listen to each other). The use of foam rubber bats is recommended for physically releasing aggression. The authors get caught up in their own jargon (""Time Out is not used in the Fair-Fight for Change for a Huddle of less than 15 minutes"") and their own cute theatrics (""Mother: I Want you to play 'Red Cross Nurse' with me""). Whatever insight families might gain into their own interactions is outweighed by the potential danger of misapplying the techniques, to say nothing of the essential artifice.

Pub Date: March 14th, 1980
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich