The Don't Sweat Guide for Parents , by Richard Carlson

Book Reviews : Parenting Books


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The Don't Sweat Guide for Parents by Richard Carlson
Paperback - 224 pages
First Edition, October 2001
Published by Don't Sweat Press
a division of Hyperion
ISBN 0-7868-8718-4 / 0786887184

The Don't Sweat Guide for Parents consists of 100 two-page articles about a hundred common parenting problems and their common solutions. I believe the advantage of this format is that parents can read it quickly, as the author makes each point directly, with wasting time on background discussion or tangential anecdotes.

The Don't Sweat Guide for Parents : Reduce Stress and Enjoy Your Kids More , by Richard Carlson

The compactness of the volume (5.53 X 6.52 X 0.54 inches) suggests the convenience of carrying it in a pocket, and reading it on a local bus, or while waiting for an appointment.

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However, the compact format has a potential disadvantage for some readers. As the author allocates the space to cover the one most frequently optimal solution to each problem, he can't offer extended advice for a parent who may respond, "I tried the recommendation in the book, but it doesn't seem quite right for my own situation. What else do you have?"

For example, consider the second paragraph in the article, 91. Get Your Kids to Cooperate...

"First of all, be clear and specific about what you want done. Making general statements such as, 'This basement is a mess!' when you want the kids to clean the basement isn't going to work. Instead, tell them specifically, 'Kids, I want you to clean the basement right now!' It's also important to avoid beginning requests with, 'Will you?' 'Could you?' or 'Would you?' This sends your kids the message that honoring your request is optional." [Quoted from page 204]

The need to make all requests specific is correct, of course. The same point, which has its basis in well-developed psychological theory, is taught to student teachers, industrial management trainees, and others who need to obtain the cooperation of others. This advice would also alleviate many marital misunderstandings.

However, consider whether it's best to avoid beginning requests with "Will you...?" Some parents (and teachers and industrial managers) may find that phrasing requests as requests achieves better cooperation, and perhaps even a degree of sympathy with the requestors' positions. Others may not find this to be true, due either to differing personalities or situations.

Such examples indicate that Dr. Carlson has allocated the space to provide the most generally useful advice for each problem, thereby setting the length of each article to be two pages.

In making my point, I dont want to create a false impression of the brevity of each article. Note that I have cited only one of his six paragraphs addressing the issue, Get Your Kids to Cooperate. I haven't quoted his complete answer.

The primary advantage of the book is its organization into brief but sharply focused articles. I read the book in a short time by reading an article or two each time a TV advertisement came on. Combine this tactical plus for readers with the low paperback price, and every parent is better off having read than if one were to pass up the opportunity.

Reviewed by Mike Lepore for crimsonbird.com

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Book Description from the Publisher

In this incredibly stressful world in which we live, parents seem to be the people who come under fire most. Hectic work schedules combined with chauffeuring children to extracurricular activities make us crave more quiet time with our children. The Don't Sweat Guide for Parents provides suggestions for enjoying your children more while being less stressed and more present with them in every moment of their lives.

Including such strategies as:

* Admit That You Could Use Some Help
* The Hardest Job in the World
* Learn to Take a Breather
* Because I Said So
* Keep the Job at the Office
* Enjoy Your Kids Every Day

this book will help you to be a better, calmer, happier mom or dad.

About the Author

Richard Carlson, Ph.D., is the author of the bestselling Don't Sweat the Small Stuff series, which includes Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens and Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Men. He is a frequent guest on many national television and radio programs, and lectures to enthusiastic audiences around the country and internationally.

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