I read the first page, and knew this was going to be a winner. The first page showcases what I think is one of the biggest mistakes ALL parents make. They give in, they overlook, they are inconsistent. A lack of consistency is a HUGE problem, especially in today's world. It's so easy to stand on the outside and see others as being inconsistent in their parenting, but it's very hard to see your own inadequacies here. So you tell your child to pick up his toys a couple of times and he doesn't. You think to yourself, "Oh..I'll do it this time. I'll model the behavior. He's only little. That's really too much for him..." Or a million other justifications to do it for him because, let's face it, it's just plain easier to do sometimes. Sound familiar? I know I would boast about being 100% consistent, until I had to answer direct questions. That's when I realized, whooooa. I'm not. THAT is a MAJOR issue. The book points this out indirectly in the first few pages, but what struck me in those first few pages, and made me continue reading long past the point I had decided to stop for the night, was when I got to the part that discussed the difference between obedience and compliance. I decided to go through Mr. B's notes from my visits with the behavioral doctor. Each visit I would be given notes from the visit about what we were going to work on next, our goals, etc. I noted that not one time was the word obedience used. Instead our goals were for Mr. B to comply with mom's orders. Wow...harsh much? I never noticed.
Moving on through the first chapter I was hit again with another word: CHOICE. Now, this is a lesson I was taught many years ago by one of Mr. B's great speech therapists: Give your child a choice to behave. Make him aware his behavior is a CHOICE. Now I can truly say I have always made him aware that each action on his part is a choice, and as a direct result each consequence is also a choice. So if he chooses to run in the house, knowing that is a direct violation of our house rules, then that means he is choosing to be given a punishment, too.
The book is full of real examples, and these examples are ones I'm sure any of us can identify with to some degree. For example, a child not remember? Yeah...I could have written this part. That's Mr. B! Just last weekend he had a full on meltdown because he forgot his Atlas at home. Now, keep in mind, he knew for DAYS in advance he was going to be spending several days with Auntie and Mamaw. He knew for HOURS before we left that he had to pack his things. I also reminded him that if he didn't pack it, it wasn't going. I even asked him again before we walked out of the house AND when we were in the car in the driveway- "Did you get everything? Are you sure?" His reply? An attitude filled "YES! Now please stop asking questions!" Well, we get 45mins from the house to meet Mamaw and what happens? Full on meltdown because Mr. Attitude forgot his beloved Atlas. Now, any other time I would have said tough luck kid, deal with it. But, my dumb self spent $50 on other stuff to appease him so that they wouldn't have a rough 4 or 5 days with him. He begged for another Atlas, and he didn't get one. But still, I gave him a LOT more than I should have! I didn't listen to what I learned from the book-make him realize the consequences so he doesn't forget again-so I wonder if he really learned a lesson at all.
See what I mean?!
It's not too late.
I wondered if it was too late for us to use a book like this. But no, it's definitely not, and the end of the book tells the story of a 15-yr old boy. It is never too late.