How to Get the Best from Your Children
by Jo Frost
If for nothing else, I love that the Supernanny televsision show helps to show that there are almost always alternatives for specific parenting problems when what you are doing isn't working.
Are you too permissive? Or too authoritarian and strict? Is your house a zoo because you have no control over your kids? Do your kids want to stay up all night? The Supernanny can help you get things under control.
However, if you don't want your family and all of your problems on TV for everyone to see, the Supernanny book is a good alternative to being on the show.
In addition to outlining her basic techniques, the first few chapters offer some great general tips, such as:
- have realistic expectations about what your kids can understand
- let little things go and just 'focus on the big stuff'
- instead of offering a lot of choices, simply 'offer a toddler a choice between two acceptable alternatives'
- understand that rules and boundaries are important because the child who gets everything he wants whenever he wants is unlikely to be happy
The Supernanny also teaches you how to talk to your child and how to use avoidance strategies, the involvement technique, and the naughty step technique (similar to time-out) to discipline your child.
The Troubleshooting chapters will be the most useful for most parents. Each section, whether dealing with dressing, toilet training, eating, social skills, or bedtime, has plenty of examples and a discussion of what to do and ends with her 'top ten rules' and how they apply to each topic.
These 'rules' are the key to the book and include a lot of basic discipline techniques that are discussed in most other parenting books. For example, she talks about being consistent, having a routine, using warnings, and restraint (don't lose control and shout at your kids).
Unlike many other books, the Supernanny writes in an easy to read style and book is well formated, with lots of pictures, to help parents get through it quickly.
There were some things about the book that I didn't like though. In the chapter describing a baby's first six months, she says that 'sometimes if you give a breastfed baby a bottle at 11 P.M., she can hold out until 4 A.M. before she needs another.' Now why would you want or recommend that a breastfeeding baby take a bottle?
She also says that 'you can't use discipline on a ten-month-old baby, but you can and should warn her not to do something.' The problem with that statement is it is actually giving a classic example of discipline. It is only when you equate discipline with punishment that you can't 'discipline' a baby.
Then there are some things that are just a little 'out there.' Can you really tell that a baby is teething because they have 'smellier diapers' with an 'unmistakable' smell? And do teething babies really need a 'mild sedative'?
Nitpicking over these small things doesn't take away from the fact that most parents will find Supernanny a great read and offers 'commonsense ways of dealing with the type of ordinary challenges and problems that most parents of children under five face most days of the week.'
Rating: 5 stars
Or look for other books about discipline.