This book was a gift… at the time of the receipt of said gift, I had (okay I guess I technically STILL have just the one kid) one kid who was not yet a year old. So I am not sure if this was a reflection on my current parenting, or a future warning… either way, another book that didn’t need to be written. Reb Bradley is a sort of self appointed child rearing guru. He has written a couple other books on this subject, so I am confused as to why (other than a paycheck) THIS particular book needed to be written.
I have no major qualms with the larger premise. Society as a whole is less moral than it was fifty years ago. Check. A feeling of entitlement adds to an unruly society. Check. Self-control and proper consequences are important. Double check. As a book, though… it just doesn’t fill the page. At least without a lot of unnecessary repetition. Bradley goes into great lengths defining terms. What EXACTLY he means when he is saying liberal, and when he is saying conservative. I know why he made that choice, I just think it was the wrong choice. The use of liberal and conservative in this context is going to be offensive to some. Have your one paragraph of definitions and run with it. Let people be offended. Don’t spend chapter after chapter droning on about the vocabulary.
I also have problems with Bradley’s assessment of parenting at large. He seems to be in airports a lot, and judging parenting from snippets observed in these situations that are not typical. As a parent, I know that if my parenting were to be observed on an airplane it would be ‘special occasion’ parenting. I am NOT going to act the same way in a confined space hurtling through the atmosphere as I am in my own home, or at a park, or in the neighborhood. Basing premises on these types of observations are foolhardy, and putting them in self help book form is worse. Yet my biggest problem with this book is the fact that this is a conversation you have with your friends over coffee. It ISN’T a book. There are no actual parenting tips or specific examples that you can put into practice. It is mostly common sense parenting, don’t let your child have his/her own way all the time, punish if punishment is needed, BE a parent not a playmate, blah blah blah. I wouldn’t suggest this book as a parenting help to anyone.