I Refuse to Raise a Brat: Straightforward Advice on Parenting in an Age of Overindulgence

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9780060392666: I Refuse to Raise a Brat: Straightforward Advice on Parenting in an Age of Overindulgence
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Nobody wants to raise a brat...but the surest way to do so is by doing too much for and giving too much to your kids.

Parents often inadvertently confuse love with overindulgence. They don't want their children to suffer a moment of frustration or be deprived of any desire. But in truth, a balance of frustration tolerance and gratification is necessary to become a resilient and responsible adult.

Of course, every child is difficult on occasion, but true brats are constantly selfish, demanding, and incapable of listening. Their parents must regularly plead, cajole, and bargain with them to exert some control. So what makes a child become a brat in the first place? And what can a parent do--or not do--to keep their children from becoming brats?

Since being a mother is her most important role, renowned actress Marilu Henner has often turned to Dr. Ruth Sharon, a highly respected psychoanalyst, for advice on raising her own children. Together, in I Refuse to Raise a Brat, they have created a practical and accessible guidebook based on Dr. Sharon's fundamental observation: Adults with the greatest emotional difficulties were generally overgratified, overprotected, and overindulged as children.

Consequently, parents need to allow their children to work through their frustrations at an early age and not consistently indulge them. I Refuse to Raise a Brat will show parents how to:

  • Establish parent--child contracts and effective methods of discipline

  • Handle temper tantrums, bedtime issues, sibling rivalry, lying, and more

  • Help their children tolerate frustration and become comfortable with difficult feelings

Filled with dozens of real-life questions, practical advice, and humorous anecdotes, I Refuse to Raise a Brat is a witty and uniquely helpful resource to help parents raise secure and self-reliant children.

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Review:

Marilu Henner, costar of the TV sitcom Taxi turned bestselling self-help author, has a strong message for doting parents: stop spoiling your children. Many of today's moms and dads confuse placating with loving, spurred by a desire to give their kids the world on a silver platter. Cowritten by Henner (mother of two boys) and her personal psychoanalyst Dr. Ruth Sharon, I Refuse to Raise a Brat explores the long-term effects of overgratifying youngsters and offers a wealth of situational advice.

Henner and Sharon theorize that a child's ability to balance independence and cooperation directly results from the parent-child relationship; too much negotiation, too many toys, exaggerated praise, and overprotection do not help that child in the long run. Instead of learning compliance, the child will learn that everything is open to discussion; in place of gratitude, the child learns greed (either physical greed for more "stuff" or emotional greed for more of the spotlight); and instead of feeling safe, the child will learn helplessness.

The women incorporate a question/answer style throughout their book's 12 somewhat disjointed chapters. Questions such as "Our 18-month old wakes up at five every morning and then he wants to play. What do I do?" receive a practical two- to four-sentence response from Dr. Sharon (Answer: "Don't blame your baby.... If he gets nine or ten hours' sleep, he has every right to wake up at 5 a.m.") Then Marilu responds--sometimes serious, often with a humorous anecdote or one-liner, or at times with a completely unrelated comment. Perhaps not the most authoritative resource, this book will still please, inform, and strike familiar chords in parents who seek nonphysical ways to gain and keep respect. --Liane Thomas

About the Author:

Marilu Henner is well known for her roles in Taxi and Evening Shade and her participation in The Celebrity Apprentice. She is the author of two other New York Times bestselling books, Marilu Henner's Total Health Makeover and Healthy Life Kitchen. She lives in Los Angeles.

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