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Kid Cooperation:
How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading
and Get Kids to Cooperate
by Elizabeth Pantley

Two Reviews: by Jennifer Thompson | by Gaye Johnson

What parent doesn't want to avoid whining, nagging and yelling when it comes to dealing with their children? Kid Cooperation, by Elizabeth Pantley, is a fantastic source of tips, tools and ideas to help parents learn to deal with their children calmly and respectfully, while at the same time, teach their children cooperation, good manners and self-discipline.

In the forward for the book, Dr. William Sears states, "Elizabeth teaches parents how to listen to, and control, their anger - how to nip in the bud situations that can push parents over the edge into rage. As you practice the techniques in this book, you'll find that the occasions when you feel really frustrated and angry will grow fewer and farther between."

The book offers flexible tips and techniques that any parent could immediately begin using. What is so wonderful about the book is the tone - you really feel like what she is recommending is not only doable, but will work, as well. She is an encouraging author and speaks not only from her own experience raising three children, but also from years of listening to other parents, observing parenting strategies in action and leading parenting workshops.

The book begins with a quiz in Chapter 1, designed to show the reader what his or her parenting style currently is. Chapters 2 through 8 are the heart of the book, laying out the tools and techniques. Chapter 9 is called "Ideas - Not Answers" and is really a Q & A, where situations are presented and Elizabeth offers one or more possible ways to handle them. The book is easy to read and very well organized. In addition, at the end of each chapter are "Reminder Pages" that sum up the ideas presented in each chapter. So after reading through a chapter, a quick scan of the Reminder Page will be enough to help you remember what that chapter was all about. Elizabeth recommends photocopying the Reminder Pages and taping them up in conspicuous areas of the house (the refrigerator, for example) while readers are still in the process of learning the techniques and incorporating them into their daily lives.

Chapters 2 through 8 deal with the following issues: successful parenting; cooperation; punishment versus discipline; sibling relationships; anger; and, taking care of yourself and those around you. Every chapter presents great ideas that will cause you to think about how to be the best parent you can be.

Chapter 2 includes five especially wonderful "rules:" take charge; think; when you say it, mean it; use skill; and, mistakes to avoid. By taking charge, she says to "Expect your children to obey. No guilt, no excuses." In a time when it seems overly permissive parenting in on the rise, this is a refreshing "rule" to read about. "Think" refers to having a parenting plan, rather than winging it day by day, hour to hour, situation to situation. Children need consistency, and having a plan helps establish that consistency. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say is a part of developing that consistency for your children. It is also a good reminder to not make idle threats that you can't or won't follow through with. Elizabeth describes the "use skill" rule in this way: "What is the goal? What skill will help me achieve my goal?" Finally, she outlines four mistakes to avoid: giving in; having fuzzy expectations; allowing bad manners; and, being inconsistent.

What I found so terrific while reading this book was that Elizabeth's techniques put the parent in charge while still validating and respecting the child's feelings and views. She gives compelling arguments against yelling, spanking and other such parenting techniques. And, she offers alternative tools to replace the more negative ones. The book has sample parent-child dialogues throughout the chapters to illustrate the various tools in action. I found that very helpful. She makes sure to show the "wrong" way and the "right" way side by side, for comparison's sake.

Some of the other tools that I particularly liked are in Chapter 3, the chapter on cooperation. One idea is called "Grandma's Rule" and it works like this: "You may _____ after you _____." For example, "You may play outside with your friends after you have put the dishes in the dishwasher." I like how this technique starts with something positive that the child wants to do, but emphasizes that there are still certain things that need to be done first in order to earn the desired privilege. I also like the notion of "giving clear instructions." Instead of saying, "Be good," she suggests telling your child exactly what behavior you want from them, such as don't talk with your mouth full, don't throw food, and so on.

Chapter 7 is another one of my favorites - dealing with anger. She offers four steps for staying calm when you feel yourself moving towards anger and rage. In step 1, she says to stop, put space between you and your child, breathe and count. In step 2, she recommends trying to "see yourself on TV" and try to see yourself from an outside perspective. As she says on page 128, "You may be surprised to see that you are about to wring your kid's neck because she won't eat her broccoli!" Step 3 suggests adjusting your expectations and your thinking, and step 4 is about choosing the skill you'll use. She concludes the chapter nicely: "With practice, you may find that following these steps to staying calm may actually help you avoid getting angry in the first place. But even if you do get mad, your anger will not feel out of control, and you'll have a plan for dealing with it."

I enjoyed reading Kid Cooperation very much and am happy to have it on my bookshelf. After years of being a classroom teacher, it was especially refreshing for me to see that many of the same techniques I learned for classroom management that worked in a group setting - being consistent, giving clear directions, controlling my anger - are the same ones that can be used with my own child. Elizabeth's style is humorous, warm and friendly, and as Dr. Sears says, "Best of all, after putting Elizabeth's ideas into practice, you'll be much more able to enjoy your children, and to enjoy the experience of being a parent."

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Kid Cooperation:
How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading
and Get Kids to Cooperate

by Elizabeth Pantley

Parenting would have to be the most difficult (yet rewarding!) job in the world. Of all parenting challenges, discipline is probably at the top of most parents' list. Every parent wants to raise kids who are responsible and caring people. But HOW on earth are we supposed to achieve this? Often the only blueprint we have for discipline comes from our own parents, and involves methods such as spanking and shouting, which are neither effective nor respectful to children.

Thank goodness for Elizabeth Pantley and her wonderful book Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate! I must admit to being somewhat sceptical when I come across claims such as those in this book title. "If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is," rings in my ears. However, I am delighted to be able to say that this book not only lives up these claims but MORE.

In Kid Cooperation, Elizabeth Pantley shares parenting skills that are life-changing! I do not say that lightly! This book will change your life! The wonderful thing is that the skills outlined are easy to learn and implement, they actually WORK, and probably most importantly in my opinion, they are kind to and respectful of children. Elizabeth's style is very readable, positive and not at all preachy. She allows you to determine areas needing improvement in a way that leaves you feeling both hopeful and positive.

The first chapter comprises a quiz to determine your current discipline style. Are you permissive, democratic, balanced or autocratic? (I erred on the "too democratic" side!) The good news is that, whatever your current style, you CAN find help in this wonderful book.

The remaining chapters contain the gems of wisdom which fulfil the claims on the front cover! Chapter 2 teaches the keys to successful parenting - take charge; think; when you say it, mean it; use skill. Chapter 3 covers cooperation and how to achieve it in your home. Chapter 4 discusses punishment versus discipline. Chapter 5 teaches ways to build your child's self-esteem. Chapter 6 is all about sibling relationships. Chapter 7 deals with parent anger. Chapter 8 discusses ways to look after yourself and the relationship with your parenting partner. Chapter 9 consists of some common discipline questions with several suggestions on how to deal effectively with each. Each chapter ends with a very helpful "reminder page," which can be copied and placed in appropriate spots around the home. This really makes learning the new skills manageable!

Throughout the book, examples of situations and dialogue (some from the author's own family experiences) make understanding easy. Many readers will see themselves and their kids in the examples (I did!) Elizabeth makes it simple to identify ineffective parenting AND to replace it with techniques that actually WORK. I have personally used many of the skills taught in this book with my own child and am thrilled to report the improvement in harmony in our household. Some examples which have been particularly useful to us are the "5-3-1-go" (when leaving a playground for example), making objects talk (great for things like teeth cleaning time!), and using happy faces and sad faces on a daily chart.

I thoroughly recommend this book! My ONLY complaint is that I didn't get it when my child was younger!

To Purchase:
   • Kid Cooperation at Amazon.com
   • Kid Cooperation Amazon UK
   • Kid Cooperation at Amazon Canada

Also on StorkNet by Elizabeth Pantley:
   • Interview with StorkNet members
   • Articles on StorkNet
   • Hidden Messages review
   • Perfect Parenting review
   • No-Cry Sleep Solution review

Visit Elizabeth's website

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