Summary and book reviews of It's Not That Complicated by Doug Peine

It's Not That Complicated

The Twelve Rules for Raising Happy, Self-Reliant Children

By Doug Peine

It's Not That Complicated
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  • Paperback: Apr 2002,
    175 pages.

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Book Summary

Raising Kids Today Is Complicated Business . . .

Ever find yourself embarrassed for the exasperated mother ahead of you in line at the supermarket whose child is throwing a tantrum, or the frazzled father whose teen is making a scene? Even worse, ever found yourself in their position, scratching your head as to how you ever could have raised such offspring?

As many parents can attest, the checkout line is the perfect stage for one of the most storied power struggles in human history: the battle of wills between parent and child--a battle which, if not handled properly, can result in a child who is selfish, undisciplined and incapable of relating well in the world.

Enter It's Not That Complicated, a no-nonsense, practical guide for parents that exposes the twelve most common parenting mistakes and then offers simple solutions. This is not like other parenting books, written by "experts" who have Ph.D.s but have never changed a diaper. It is the culmination of author Doug Peine's years in the trenches as a parent and a practicing lawyer who often finds himself mediating battles between the adult products of bad parenting.

By following the book's easy-to-implement rules, Peine shows parents how to praise without pampering; how to instill confidence not cockiness; how to set guidelines without guilt and how to punish with purpose rather than anger. The result? Responsible, respectful, happy children who are well equipped for adulthood.

This book will show you that while being a parent can sometimes be difficult, it can also be the most rewarding experience of your life, if done right and with consistency--and it's not that complicated.

Rule Number One
Mean What You Say

"No, No." A Thousand Times "No"

It just couldn't be simpler: When you say "no"--which you have to do often when raising a child--you must mean it. The way you show that you mean it is by enforcing it. Immediately. Not tomorrow or when you get home. Now. No hemming and hawing, no stalling or waffling, dallying or dawdling. Right now. This instant. There simply is no other way for a child to learn what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

When your three-year-old grabs a box of cereal off the shelf at the supermarket, tell her "no" and ask her to put it back. If she refuses, take it from her, put it back yourself, and inform her that when you get home she will have to suffer an appropriate punishment for disobeying you.

If she decides then and there to throw a tantrum, tell her to stop it. If she refuses, remove her from the area, take her home, and impose a more severe punishment.

A child's bad behavior is like a goldfish; ...

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The message in this little book is simple and consistent - raising children really isn't that complicated, if you consistently reinforce a few simple rules. These 12 rules are explained in 12 short and, very to the point, chapters. Peine's advice isn't new but his delivery is - he writes simply and clearly using real life examples. You won't have to wade through chapters about the latest theories of this and that, for the simple reason that Peine is a parent just like you and me - not an academic. Each chapter is about 12 pages, the whole book is only 175 pages long - which means that each message is easy to absorb, and it's small enough to carry with you in your purse or pocket - which isn't such a bad idea!  

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Among the 12 rules: mean what you say, never strike your child, never fight with your mate in front of your children, praise your child frequently, read to your child every night. Parents will appreciate the simplicity of the briefly stated, readily applied advice offered in this slim book.

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