Saturday, November 14, 2009

Don't Swear With Your Mouth Full - Cary S. Chugh, Ph.D

Summary: Parents are charged with a seemingly impossible task - transforming a completely dependent child into a responsible, self-sufficient adult. For some of us, this job is made more difficult by the inherent traits our children possess from birth. If your child could be described as being headstrong, stubborn, controlling, or manipulative, chances are good that typical rewards and punishments haven't worked like you expected. Parents are often quick to blame themselves for their child's continued misbehavior. Professionals are often too quick to suggest the use of medication to address the problems. But, maybe, there is another explanation. Maybe there is something wrong with the typical rewards and punishments parents are told to use to address their child's behavioral problems in the first place. Maybe we don't see these flaws until we attempt to discipline the toughest kids. And, maybe, we finally have a solution! (Summary from back of the book. Image from

My Review: I have to say that the title of this book really put me off at first. It was a book that the author sent me for free to review, so I cracked the cover; I'm glad I did.

The advice in this book is sound. I found it intriguing that the procedures he recommends are some I use in my classroom; tactics I've stumbled across by the process of trial by fire. The main recommendation is to use your difficult child's stubbornness and controlling nature to your advantage--basically give the control back to the child to get out of her punishment. This makes it so the parent is not the enemy any longer; the child's own stubbornness becomes the enemy. It also doesn't extinguish the strong personality traits that as an adult can be used for good. I noticed this immediately with my first child. She is very strong willed and has a mind of her own. As an adult this is a good thing. We need strong women. I don't want to squash these traits. A push over is not what I want her to become.

For the most part this book is user friendly. There are charts at the end of each chapter with 'take it home' notes. This aspect is very usable. There were times in the midst of the chapters that it became a bit wordy. I found my mind wandering a bit and had to refocus. I'm not sure that the majority of the parents of my students could read and garner what they'd need in order to implement these tactics without someone breaking down the verbiage for them. It has great advice, but for someone who isn't college educated it may get wordy at times. That would be, in my opinion, the only downfall to this book--that and the title threw me off for a bit.

Rating: 4.25 stars--the readability would be the only aspect bringing this down. Parents with difficult children come from all walks of life and you'd want everyone to be able to use this kind of help.

Sum it up: A great tool for parents and teachers who deal with difficult to discipline children.

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