Alyson's Schafer's newest book Ain't Misbehavin', well, I pretty much jumped out of my chair. This opportunity is just screaming for me. Being mom to a spirited 5 year-old with a tentative diagnosis of ADHD, plus step-mom to a sullen 15 year-old with raging hormones, this book is right up my alley. I need all the help I can get, and I trust Alyson Schafer to give good help. I was even more excited to have been chosen to do a telephone interview with Alyson. I am hoping to prepare a nice, clean transcription of that conversation for a follow-up post. Such a wealth of information!
Alyson's approach is based on Adlerian theory. Alfred Adler was a contemporary and colleague of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Adler went off in his own direction though, as a humanistic or "full personality" theorist. As Schafer puts it, "he believed the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Did you know he published a "child guidance manual" back in the 1930s promoting democratic parenting and a need to consider the child's intrinsic motivations? I imagine that was a pretty big deal in a time of "seen and not heard" and "spare the rod and spoil the child." Adler felt it was important to move away from the culture of domination and to create a more respectful approach to parenting our children.
Ain't Misbehavin' is a fabulous resource for busy, harried, frightened, and/or desperate parents. It is not a book you must read cover to cover - her earlier books have presented the theory and overall approaches. (And I encourage you to check those out too when you have a some more time.) Alyson has set this book up as more of a user-friendly user guide. It reminds me of the big red volume my parents had that outlined a huge variety of childhood illnesses - go to the index, then turn to the page you need for your specific circumstance. With Ain't Misbehavin' the frazzled parent can look up their specific behavioural concern du jour in the table of contents and then head straight to the heart of the matter. No messing around or wading through lots of text. The behaviours included were chosen based on the types of questions she gets from parents most regularly, and so they represent a great cross-section of daily concerns.
Alyson presents the concern (potty mouth or biting or rudeness, etc.), discusses some possible causes, perhaps includes a hint of theory, then suggests some possible approaches to dealing with and improving the behaviour. Please note - every child and every family is different, so there are a selection of suggestions offered - think about them and then try ones out that you think might work for you. And that's something she definitely wants the reader to take away from this book - there is no one perfect answer to every behavioural problem or concern. What we need to do is to try to understand what is underlying the behaviour and to try to address that in a respectful way. Schafer also points out that we as parents need to examine our own motivations and beliefs to understand how they affect our reactions to our children's behaviours. This is key to developing a healthy and respectful relationship.
And you know what's even better? She presents all of this with a healthy dose of both realism and humour. She is a mom herself, as well as an Adlerian-trained professional, and she gets it.
If you are struggling with behavioural issues at home, whether your kids are toddlers or teens, this book should definitely be added to your arsenal. Smart, funny, practical, and directed solutions to address the issues your family is facing. Check it out. And you can check out Alyson's call-in parenting show each week on the Roger's network across Ontario. She broadcasts live on Mondays at 2:00pm, and her show repeats at different times throughout the week. Check your local listings.
You can win your own copy!!
I am delighted to be able to offer a giveaway, thanks to Alyson Schafer, Wiley Publishing and MomCentral. One lucky reader will receive their own copy of Ain't Misbehavin'.
Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me why you would like to read this book. What parenting struggles are you (barely) coping with these days?
Optional Additional Entries:
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- Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway "Win a copy of @alysonschafer 's new book Ain't Misbehavin' from @mom2michael and @MC_Canada http://ow.ly/4xQmU"
Contest closes April 21, 12:00 midnight EDT. Winner will be chosen from all eligible entries via random.org and will be notified by email and/or Twitter. Be sure to leave your contact information!