Friday, October 2, 2009

Help! My Kids Are Driving Me Crazy

Recently, I was passing by a novelty gift shop in my local mall and read this statement on a baby’s onesie: “My Dad’s a Boss, My Mom is Boss over him, and I’m Boss over everyone.”

This may be cute and understandable when our children are babies, but when they grow up (and out of that onesie) their talking back and constant conflicts cease to be fun or cute.

Help! My Kid is Driving Me Crazy by Dr. David Swanson, Psy.D., is the one book you’re going to want to have in your child-rearing arsenal. Unlike other parenting books, this one looks at the emotional responses of the parent. “Every parent has emotional buttons—that is, the triggers to our most sensitive responses” (page 4).

This book’s “primary purpose [is] to educate you on the seventeen ways your child manipulates and to teach you to avoid being manipulated,” says Dr. Swanson.

In addition, this book is broken up into four parts:

Part One: How Did We Get Here?: This section helps the reader break down and understand what the child is really doing and identifies the three “innate desires” that all parents possess. In this part we learn how each child has his or her own “Tools of Power” that trigger emotions in parents when they are in a conflict with their child. “Simply put, the Tools of Power allow your child to push your emotional buttons in a way that serves him best” (page 14).

Part Two: Your Child’s Tools of Power: This segment of the book identifies and discusses the 17 ways kids manipulate their parents. From “Emotional Blackmail” to “Casting Doubt,” this section takes an in-depth look at each one and its effective solutions.

Part Three: Developing an Action Plan to Decrease Problematic Behaviour in the Future: In this section the reader learns about the five reasons children manipulate their parents and how to employ Dr. Swanson’s “Star Method of Temperament.” Done properly, this step-by-step method will identify what your child’s true temperament is.

Part Four: Setting Structure Based on Your Child’s Temperament: This section takes each of the five temperaments and explains each fully with some practical and helpful “proactive measures” for parents.

David Swanson, Psy.D, is a licensed psychologist practicing in Encino, California. To learn more about Dr. Swanson, visit his website at

Help! My Kid is Driving Me Crazy is available at all bookstores,, and

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