Despite the somewhat foreboding title, this is a great reference book for tackling the innumerable ways children are little buttholes without also being a butthole yourself.
One thing I liked about this book was that it spends at least as much time addressing ways to prevent things you’ll need to discipline as it does on how to handle the problems. Half of parenting is just mastering scheduling your life around naptime and getting good at redirecting and making smaller humans think things are their ideas, so I definitely appreciate that. I know kids need to learn to control their emotions, but I don’t want to read a chapter on how to reprimand my kid for whining in the grocery store when I know good and well the problem is that I’m shopping at naptime.
The suggestions are age appropriate and respectful of both parent and child. Dr. Sears is pretty against spanking (as am I), but I appreciated that in addition to providing many good reasons not to spank and many alternative ideas, he also spends a little time on how to spank safely and humanely if you’re absolutely going to do it anyway.
The one complaint I had was the overarching implication that attachment parenting will solve everything. I am all for AP. I breastfed, babywore, cloth diapered, never did cry it out, don’t spank, and very reluctantly bed-shared when I birthed a human who couldn’t even be set down in her hospital warming bassinet without crying so hard she puked. I’m down with the AP, and I totally get that if you were a parent reading this book in preparation for eventually disciplining your now-fetus or infant, it would be both true and accurate to read about how AP is a great way to lay the foundation of trust and respect that will help with discipline later. But I have to think that’s not this book’s largest audience. I suspect its largest audience includes parents with toddlers and older, saying “Okay, I believe in AP but I don’t want to raise a little punk. How do I approach discipline?” By then, most of us have made it to Oz and discovered that although AP may make for psychologically healthier kids, it doesn’t automatically make for easier kids. It can be a little dispiriting when step one is “Practice attachment parenting! Your baby will grow to love and respect you so much all you’ll have to do is think a gentle correction and that’ll be enough,” and that is clearly, for most of us, not true. Still an overall fantastic book though, and one that will probably be promoted from library book to owned.