Another Must-Read Parenting Book

A couple of months ago I put a fair bit of research into my awesome list of favorite discipline/parenting books, and in the course of putting it together came up with a few more books to check out.  A couple weren't so great, but one has totally changed the way I relate to my middle child.

Seriously.  Initially, I picked this book up because I just didn't believe that I could "Have a New Kid by Friday."  I was so wrong.

With our oldest (daughter), Love and Logic worked so perfectly that I couldn't see a need for anything else and just assumed that every kid would respond well to the reasoning and such that this method recommends.  Our son quickly showed us that we were way off base.  He would become so mad/frustrated/embarrassed that he didn't seem to be listening to our "reasoning" and we would drone on about this and that before "disciplining" him.  The fit would continue, power struggle would ensue, and our mediocre parenting would immediately bite us in the butt.  Big fail.  By the time he was three he was pretty much in control (although we still presumed ourselves to be).  Double fail. 

Have a New Kid by Friday puts in to practice some very Love and Logic-like principles (like natural consequences), but adds a few simple rules (which is EXACTLY what I need--rules to follow!) such as my new favorite:

Say it once, turn your back, and walk away.

One of the problems we were having was that we just didn't think that he got what we were saying so we would explain it thirty ways from Sunday, allowing the struggle to continue and the fit to escalate.  By following this rule you take the wind out of his sails and regain control. 

There are a few more simple guidelines in the first few chapters of the book (each of which has been highly effective and left me feeling so much calmer and more in control as a parent), but the real meat is the second two-thirds.  Dr Leman covers every conceivable topic, from bedwetting (don't make it a big deal, be mildly sympathetic, clean up and move on) and grocery shopping (don't offer treats as a reward for good behavior...of which I'm hugely guilty) to temper tantrums (yup, say it once, turn your back, and walk away) and whining (remove the offender to a place where he/she can whine without bothering you) with simple, easy to implement guidelines. 

Since we started, Scout has become infinitely more polite (most requests now begin with 'excuse me' and include 'please' and 'when you're done'...I never thought that we could get that far in such a short amount of time), kinder to his sisters ('I'm sorry, are you okay?') and has nearly quit making his ugly 'I'm mad at you' face at me.  Thank goodness. 

What's your favorite parenting rule of thumb?  Now that I've mastered "say it once, turn your back, and walk away" I'm ready to add to my repertoire :)
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