Sunday, April 8, 2012

If I Have to Tell You One More Time. . . Review

Let me start at the end: This book may change your life.

I remember the panic during that first moment alone with my baby. It was all happening too fast, too soon. Why did the nurse leave this screaming little thing with me? My wife was recovering from the c-section, and between the epidural and the exhaustion, she couldn't help much. It was all up to me, and all I could think was, "For this poor guy's sake, someone please get the nurse back in here!!!"

But I felt better every day. Although every developmental stage was an added challenge, I felt like every day made me better prepared for the next stage of this adventure. But I still didn't feel anywhere near 100% comfortable. I was still relying on numerous baby books, on scary Baby Center milestones-emails, and on anyone willing to offer advice online or in person.

That went on for about a year and a half, and then something strange happened.

All of a sudden everything changed. In one instant, I turned from taking any advice and tip I could get, to "Who the hell do you think you are telling ME how to raise MY child?!"

Which is why I was so weary about reading a book with the presumptuous claim of teaching ME anything. The author is a "parenting expert"? Well, so am I! Sure, I've felt like something was wrong. It doesn't feel right to have to yell at my 3-year-old boy every day, for example. But I felt my failures were inevitable and temporary. One day he'll start listening, I thought; one day I won't have to say the same thing again and again and again, only with an exceedingly louder voice.

If I Have to Tell You One More Time. . .: The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Reminding, or Yelling sounds like a Supernanny book, but its goal is actually to make kids' lives better--to make sure they grow up remembering their childhood fondly, as a time of safety, fun, and joy. The book doesn't do this by subscribing to simplistic ideas of strict parenting versus coddling, but by forcing parents to think outside this box, to continually reflect on what they're doing wrong and how they can make it right before things get out of control, and to make sure happy babies turn into happy kids, and then into happy teens.

Any book making far reaching claims like these is bound to be controversial, because many people are like me: knowing things aren't working the way they could and should, but refusing to accept the possibility that they need help. But I also believe even the parents who are most resistant to advice will find a lot of food for thought in this book. Sure, not everyone will need to implement every piece of advice in the book--not every advice suits every age and every situation. But there's enough in the book to make all readers rethink some of the choices they make every day, even if they choose to not follow the book as one whole methodology, but instead to pick and choose from the many tips and ideas raised by the author.

Here's some of the food for thought I got from the book:

I don’t empower my boy to make enough choices during the day, and then I complain that he acts like a spoiled brat. I complain he doesn’t tell me about his school and about his friends although I never treat him like anything but a child who should listen to my authoritative commands. I can tell him I want the best for him, but as long as he wants one thing and I want another, he won’t buy it, and Home will be a place of constant struggle, which is something I need to be aware of, at the least.

This book may give you some food for thought, and it might change your life and the lives of your children. It's quite a statement, but I'm a believer. I have a vision of what a happy home feels like, and I no longer accept the idea that my vision will not come true until my kids leave their rebellious phases. I believe, and this book might make a believer out of you, too.

I got one free copy to review, and another copy to give away. I've never used Rafflecopter before, so hopefully I'm doing this right...

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I loved this book review. I've raised four kids and found each was a challenge in their own way. I've had the gamut, from one incredibly rebellious son, to one son that was born practically an adult - very caring and responsible. No one book can give you all the answers (I know, because I've about read them all) but each book can give you insights that you never thought of before; things you can utilize with your own child's unique personality and bent.

  2. Trust me, I've found some absolutely terrible parenting books... But even then, once you read something that's so wrong that you intuitively reject it, it makes you think about the reason you rejected it, which in the end can make you, well, better. It's all about taking a moment to think about what you're doing, and both good and bad books can at least help you become more aware of your parenting.



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