How to set limits for your child in a balanced, supportive way.
On one hand, there’s no shortage of books about parenting, and all these guides can lead to confusion. However, it’s also true that different parents learn and benefit from different styles. Berman (Psychiatry/UCLA) finds a nice balance between presenting information from a research-minded orientation—the author is a psychiatrist and a parenting group leader—and from a grounded, of-the-moment, culturally current orientation. (She’s also on the advisory board of Matthew and Camila McConaughey’s Just Keep Livin’ foundation.) Berman couches her narrative in mostly current cultural references; before readers are even out of the introduction, the author has referred to Ashton Kutcher and parents “feeling punk’d.” This is both a boon and a weakness throughout the book; some cultural touchstones have longer cache than others, and building too many of them into the structure of a book weakens the integrity of the book as a whole. That’s a minor quibble, though; Berman’s teachings are mostly sensible, easy to understand and backed with common-sense reasoning. She writes about how to maintain balance for families inundated with smartphones, tablets and video games, and she offers advice on being “an emotional grown-up” that should be required reading for all parents. She also provides advice on encouraging self-reliance and self-esteem and how the two are intertwined. Throughout the book, there’s a thread of encouraging parents to reflect, without judging themselves, on how their behaviors do and do not sync up with what they tell their children.
While much of what Berman suggests can be found in other similarly intentioned books, the way she phrases her ideas is welcoming to parents and encourages them in all the best ways to grow into that important role.