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Respectful Kids: The Complete Guide to Bringing Out the Best in Your Child
NAV Press / 2006 / Paperback
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In a world where civility is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, is it possible to raise respectful, well-mannered kids? You bet it is! In Respectful Kids, Dr. Todd Cartmell offers sound advice for teaching kids how to handle even the most difficult situations in a respectful, godly way.
Dr. Todd Cartmell's biblically based techniques equip parents to help children break disrespectful habits and instead nurture respectful behaviors.
Todd Cartmell, Psy.D., is a child psychologist with a practice in Wheaton, Illinois. The author of The Parent Survival Guide and Keep the Siblings, Lose the Rivalry, he is married with two children. Visit his website, www.drtodd.net for parenting tips, workshop information, and more.
Respect! Such an old-fashioned word. How can we raise respectful kids in a society that sports figures of little boys urinating on a symbol of something the owners dislike? Where slams replace humor on comedies? Where popular athletes make obscene gestures at their fans?
Dr. Todd Cartmell offers some positive ideas in Respectful Kids. A child psychologist, he offers several tools, such as fast listening, flexible thinking, and problem solving. He suggests carrots in the form of tying fun to respectful behavior, heavy doses of praise, and behavioral contracts. For sticks he promotes time outs, logical consequences, positive practice, and consistency.
Cartmell's basic position is that children must be trained to be respectful. It's hard to argue with that, but his noncommittal position on spanking is weak. He stretches some Scripture, such as Proverbs 23:13-14 (Withhold not corrections from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell) to say that "it's important to note that not once does the Bible command us to spank our children" (p. 187). He starts another passage on discipline after a verse that says God "chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." (Hebrews 12:6) He goes on to stress the dangers inherent in spanking and that spanking without training is not a solution, and I wholly agree with both. He also states that he and his wife used spankings for certain transgressions when their children were younger.
However, the book is not primarily about spanking, but about other strategies for teaching respect and self-control. Drawing on his experiences as a psychologist and a parent, he explains his techniques with anecdotes. Each chapter ends with a summary and a study section to help the parent utilize the method discussed. These end sections include related Scripture.
Cartmell writes well. The book is upbeat and interesting. Though he does not discuss limiting the examples of disrespect the child sees, such as certain TV shows or playing with some children, his techniques deserve consideration. His emphasis on training is very important in a society which practically advocates letting children raise themselves or letting institutions do it for you. Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
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