Book review: Good and Angry

This book review covers Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character…In You and Your Kids! by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller (WaterBrook Press, 2002).

Summary

Talks about changing your routines to help your kids develop character qualities that will help them succeed in life.

The main part of the book consists of seven different problems.  The chapter titles express the problem: “They Don’t Do What I Say”… “They Won’t Accept No for an Answer”… “I’m Still Angry”, and the subtitles identify the character trait that needs to be developed: “Instruction: Giving the Gift of Responsibility”, “Accepting Limits: Giving the Gift of Contentment”, “Forgiveness: Living the Gift of Peace”.

At the end of each chapter it summarizes “When you see… Move into a routine… because…”

Focuses on parents modeling self-control and thinking through ahead of time the situations where the children are often needing correction, to consider what character traits the child needs to develop and think of ways to help them grow in the ways they need to.  That way when the situation comes up again you have less of the frustration (and sometimes panic!) of not knowing what to do and sometimes not being able to come up with the best decision in the moment.  Instead you can just pull out your plan.

Presents the idea of having a child “taking a break” until he’s ready rather than for a predefined period of time, putting the focus not on letting a clock run down but on their changed attitude.  (Sometimes it may take more time, sometimes less.)  Sometimes in addition to a changed attitude, trust may need to be built again before a lost privilege  can be regained, but again the focus is on creating opportunities to build that trust back up rather than just waiting for a certain period of time.

Children are not a finished product, Parents must change first.

“Yelling is usually a sign that a parent doesn’t have a plan” (p.230).

The idea of needing to decide whether to emphasize the task or the relationship:

“Considering the timing can go a long way toward getting a positive response, but more importantly it emphasizes the relationship between parent and child.  Giving the instructions is important, but a little preparation says that the child is even more important.  It’s a small way of sying, ‘I love you,’ to a child even in the midst of the work of family life…If…you are experiencing more resistance than you’d like, maybe it’s time to take a closer look.  It could be that you have been overemphasizing the tasks and underemphasizing the relationship between you and your kids” (pp. 47-48).

The book is always showing how carefully teaching our kids these things is good for them — “When children learn lessons in the classroom of correction and instruction, they avoid much pain and suffering later in life.  The daily work of disciplining can build in children the character they’ll need to be successful as they grow older”  (p. 237).  The book talks about how habits of (for instance) impatience, arguing, and lying will hinder our kids’ success if not addressed.

“Change takes time”

Overall

This book has been helpful to my wife and me.

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