Psychological Self-Help

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74
the situation worse. Please read about spanking: Samalin (1991), Straus
(1994), or Marshall (2002); all persuasively argue against physical
punishment and for a different attitude towards discipline and for a much
healthier attitude between you and your child. The research evidence is very
clear: physical punishment, even if it isn't violent, produces children who are
more aggressive with their peers. The more violent the parents are, the
meaner the children will be (Strassberg, 1994). 
In addition to learning to completely avoid physical punishment and
verbal/emotional abuse, it is critical that you thoroughly reconsider your
entire way of relating with your child. To make this major change after 10 or
12 years, you will probably need a good therapist and a good book about
wholesome relationships and effective discipline. Here are four good new
books about discipline: Phelan (2003) concentrates on using simple, sensible,
unemotional methods of counting and time-out in many situations with 2 to
12-year-olds. Dunning (2004) has a unique approach to parenting when each
parent has his/her own preferred style of relating to a son or daughter—the
author shows how both parents can still be supportive of each other in terms
of guiding and disciplining the child. Koenig (2004), the creator of Smart
Discipline seminars, teaches parents to get children to do what parents ask
(“follow the rules”) and, at the same time, increase the child’s’ and teenagers’
self-esteem.
Anger is usually a two-way street
Where a parent is frequently and harshly disciplining the child or teenager,
there is very likely to be a very angry and oppositional child or teen (just like
domestic violence comes from both parties). In the last 40 years there has
been an intense interest in child-rearing, much of this centering on the child’s
anger or rebellion. Likewise, the school systems throughout the nation have
been concerned with controlling aggressive or anti-social behavior. There are
many books for teachers and parents about handling conflicts, anger control,
fighting, girl’s wars, rudeness, teasing, bullying, making peace, etc. Some
To Change, P.O. Box 486, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18703-0486
(http://www.couragetochange.com) or Creative Therapy Store
Child rearing and discipline (preferably the use of rewards instead of
punishment) is beyond the scope of this book. (A cluster of links to help in
dealing with child care and difficult experiences in a child’s life is given in
Chapter 9. But in recent years there have been several books written for
dealing with “problem” children, including the defiant, difficult, intense,
explosive, etc. child. I’d like to share a few. One is by Glasser and Easley
(1999) who are behaviorally oriented but different. They maintain that
intense children need intense responses to their positive behaviors; therefore,
a pat on the head and a “that’s nice” comment isn’t going to cut it with these
kids. Likewise, bad behaviors should be followed by a clear correction by the
parent but an uninteresting reaction, such as a simple check on a behavior
chart. Another is by Greene (2001) who has researched and written a book
for the “explosive” child. Such a child is very difficult to work with. Years after
the toddler’s tantrums should have been overcome, some children are still
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