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Book Review: ‘Raising Human Beings’ by Ross Greene, PhD

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New book offers parenting tips

New book offers parenting tips

Ross Greene is the father of two teenage children. He’s been a clinical psychologist for 25 years. Greene has seen thousands of kids in many different contexts who have experienced social, emotional and behavioral challenges. He’s put his experiences in a new book, Raising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child and details how to “raise children in a way that enhances relationships, improves communication and helps kids learn how to resolve disagreements without conflict.”

He starts the book by telling readers the most important task of child development is for him or her to figure out who they are, including what their skills, preferences, beliefs, values, personality traits, goals and direction may be. Greene writes that most parents want their kids to be influenced and benefit from their experience, wisdom, and values. The book is about finding a good balance between influencing and helping children live a life congruent with who the individual child is, which is not an easy task.

“Fortunately, it’s not mud that lies between the Dictatorial Kingdom and the Pushover Provinces. It’s a partnership, and one in which collaboration, rather than power, is the key ingredient,” writes Greene. The author’s message is that parents and children can work together to address issues such as role confusion, incompatibility, parental angst, and solving problems. The book details the author’s framework for making the collaboration work.

He offers three simple plans with simple names. Plan A (solving the problem unilaterally), Plan B (solving problems collaboratively), and Plan C (modifying, adapting, or setting aside an unsolved problem). Greene illustrates using the three plans by using family stories. There is also an excellent question and answer section in each chapter.

The idea of working collaboratively with a child may make some readers shutter with worry. Working with children this way requires a lot of listening by the parents. With today’s busy world and most homes having two working parents, listening to what the kids have to say may not top the list of things to get done each day.

Ignoring and not listening to the kids is probably what gets many families in trouble to begin with and then the parents are generally forced to take the time to listen to their kids. The tools and guidelines the author offers are doable and can be highly effective teaching moments for the child.

Why not start teaching kids at an early age that working with others is the best way to live one’s life? Greene has sections on how to implement his guidelines with children at various stages of development starting with infancy and going into college and beyond.

The parent-child interactions he describes in the book are common every day problems parents go through raising their children. His easy to follow steps address a variety of situations that parents and children find themselves in all the time. From getting up late in the mornings for school to coming home well after curfew, parents will find help in Raising Human Beings.

The book is easy to read and doesn’t contain a lot of dry research. Instead, the author writes to the parent in real life language using real life situations.

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