August 2004

Picking Your Battles

By Bonnie Maslin
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Every parent knows you have to pick your battles, and here's a book to help you choose yours: Picking Your Battles: Winning Strategies for Raising Well-Behaved Kids, by Bonnie Maslin, Ph.D. Maslin, a psychologist and mother of four, writes about a broad range of ages, from birth to 11. Many books are written about babies, toddlers, preschoolers and teens, so it's useful to have a reference directed at 5- to 11-year-olds, a group that's often not addressed.

Maslin earns her audience's trust by admitting, "flawless parenting is not my stock-in-trade. The vantage point of Picking Your Battles is the trenches, not the exalted heights. I wrote this book because I made every mistake in it and fortunately learned from it." Maslin has many strategies for avoiding those plentiful moments we parents aren't proud of, those Battles Royal, or, as she puts it, moments when we turn into "parental lunatics." What parent couldn't benefit from "Seven Steps to Getting Good at Getting Angry"? Step 1, for instance, is an easy-to-remember, invaluable tool: "Respond Rather Than React." In addition to helping moms and dads with their own reactions and discipline style, Maslin includes a helpful section on how parents can help develop their children's moral compass. '


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