When Kids Call the Shots
How to Sieze Control from Your Darling Bully—and Enjoy Being a Parent Again
–Sean Grover, LCSW
Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided in exchange for a. review. No other compensation was received.
Review by Marcia Kellogg, contributor
I was excited, and a little nervous, to have the opportunity to read and review this book. There are so many wonderful pieces of my son’s being: sweet, funny, courageous, best big brother ever, but we are at odds nearly every day about minute details, and I am TIRED. I’m not sure I would use the term “bully” in referring to our eight year old, but we as parents definitely have ongoing conflict with him. As a parent, like most, my goal is to send a happy, healthy, independent child into the world. We have the healthy down, and there is no question that C is independent. Unfortunately for what seems too long, our relationship is often unhappy. If there was anything inside When Kids Call the Shots: How to Seize Control from Your Darling Bully — and Enjoy Being a Parent Again that could help our family life flow better, I wanted to know about it, and most importantly, how to use it!
About the book and author:
Rebellious, entitled, disrespectful, many kids pummel their parents with demands, and boss them around with impunity. Experts might label them “difficult” and advise how to “fix” them. But parenting struggles rarely originate from just one side. Instead, they erupt at the volatile intersection of a child’s personality with a parent’s own insecurities and behaviors. Fixing the child requires fixing yourself.
In When Kids Call the Shots, therapist and parenting expert Sean Grover untangles the forces driving family dysfunction, and helps parents assume leadership roles. With a liberating message and perceptive advice, the book explores:
-Three common bullying styles (manipulative, defiant, anxious) used by kids
-Parenting styles (guilt-prone, anxiety-fueled, fix-everything) that contribute to power imbalances
-Critical testing periods in a child’s development
-Coping mechanisms that backfire
-Personalized plans for calmly exerting authority in any scenario
Caving in to tantrums and treats breeds more of the same. Learn to stop the cycle of abusive behavior and make parenting a pleasure again.
Sean Grover, LCSW, (New York City) has worked in child development and adult psychotherapy for 20 years, and maintains one of the largest private group therapy practices in the U.S. He has been quoted in Newsweek, New York Magazine, NPR, and elsewhere about parent-child relationships.
Sean Grover starts out with a bit of his own parenting background as a member of the “suffering parent club”. I love getting advice from someone who has actually been in my shoes. I think it’s important for the one offering help to know what it feels like emotionally to be at conflict with your child.
So often, admitting we have a problem is the first step, right? The same certainly goes here, but it might not be the problem you imagine. My son’s obstinate and explosive behavior….is my fault! I said it. It’s out there. Now, I am not the only one to blame. Papa does his fair share of escalating and instigating. So as a parenting team, we really have to accept that how we have been parenting C is the reason for his behavior. Of course, there are many other contributing factors such as personality, development, and day to day changes. But this book helps us figure out from where our issues stem and how to break down the pieces we can change.
My husband and I are working on plan to address the baggage from our pasts and insecurities as parents and using this new information to look at how we parent our son. Mr. Grover has laid out a great compass for this with his eight-chapter, easy to read and understand guidebook. We’re really starting to understand where the issues arise from our side, and how and when C is using these to engage with us in a unhealthy relationship. It can be as easy as making sure he has had enough protein, but more often we ignite each other unconsciously and then have to see who will “win” the battle. No one ever does, unfortunately, so taking the steps to health and happiness are really necessary NOW for us, before we get to the teenage years.
I feel the most helpful part of the book is discovering the type of child you have. For us, see is definitely the “Defiant” kind. Up is down, black is white, and nothing is ever good enough or his fault. It’s quite a rollercoaster around here sometimes. And although I am sure he is going to make one heck of a lawyer some day, the constant arguing drives me to tears, and yelling, and muttering, and sleeplessness.
Just as useful as it is to see the pattern of behavior in your child, finding out how and why you subconsciously parent the way that you do is wonderful. It feels like getting a diagnosis for some illness you could never quite explain.
Subsequent chapters delve into building a team around yourself of family and friends for support, and determining if a crises in the child’s life has added to the relationship and behavior problems. As I mentioned before, I don’t feel as much bullied by C, as just at odds constantly, so we use more of the information regarding understanding the behavior and parenting styles. I think there are many parts of this book that will be really helpful to parents of older children or those who feel like they have been held hostage by their kids’ behavior.
We are now using our new knowledge to move forward and create a happier home and relationship. I look forward to spending time with my entire family in a calm, friendly place. When Kids Call the Shots has truly given us a map for creating atmosphere where this is possible!
One Be Your Best Mom reader has the chance to win a copy of When Kids Call the Shots: How to Seize Control from Your Darling Bully — and Enjoy Being a Parent Again! Please wait for the form to load and good luck! Giveaway is US only and ends on June 11, 2015
About Marcia Kellogg:
I am a mama living in the Hudson Valley of New York with my wonderful husband, two gorgeous children, and furry and finned pets. Aside from my family, my life revolves around FOOD–creating it, reading about it, sharing it, and eating it!! After getting a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts at The Culinary Institute of America, I realized cooking is really the area I love more, so I have taking part-time jobs as personal chef and culinary skills instructor. But even more than food, I love spending time with my family, whether it’s on the football field, baking cookies at home or going to mommy and me class. We adore traveling to see our relatives around the country, especially in Montana and Hawaii. I will make it to Europe one of these days, and I consider my only regret in life that I don’t have more stamps in my passport~