The right themes for a parenting handbook are here--use of verbal rather than physical controls, limit-setting strategies, realistic expectations, acceptance of feelings--but in a format that severely limits the book's usefulness. Lerman, a leader of parenting groups in the Boston area, has selected the issues raised most often in her groups--discipline, sibling rivalry, self-image, fears, sex identity and education, etc.--for her thoughtful, child-centered comments. Taking a strong stand against spanking, she suggests excellent alternatives: giving choices in advance, taking time to cool off, focusing on behavior, removing the offending child or object when words are not enough, among many others. She applies these methods to a range of situations from temper tantrums to squandering money, helpfully noting what to expect at various ages and stages. But this guidance must be extracted and assembled from questions and answers; aside from the vacuous chapter introductions and a final chapter matter-of-factly listing dos and don'ts, there is no attempt to highlight issues, themes, or strategies. And the chapter titles are far too broad to help a parent locate specific advice on toilet training, aggression--or using humor to ease difficult situations. A humanistic point of view, lost in a misconceived presentation.