This book is about old school parenting that works. I’ve read a number of other parenting books that quote CHILDREN: THE CHALLENGE. Being an older book, it is a bit longer than its more modern counterparts, as well as outdated in parts—but it’s still practical in its use today. If you want a faster summary of this book that feels fresh and easy to remember, then try IF I HAVE TO TELL YOU ONE MORE TIME.
One of the biggest quotes from this book’s over 300 pages is, “never do for children what they can do for themselves”—and that’s pretty much the premise of the book, on how to achieve just that. The goal is build autonomous and well-adjusted children, ones not prone to dependency, physical or emotional. At times, the book does come across a bit “do or die” in its methodology; IF I HAVE TO TELL YOU ONE MORE TIME seems to add a little more nurturing to the equation set forth here. After reading both books, it is evident that CHILDREN: THE CHALLENGE did the research footwork with actual test subjects and IF I HAVE TO TELL YOU ONE MORE TIME condensed, modernized, and eased the method.
Everything in this book makes sense and works—for the most part. One thing that really irked me was in the chapter about minding your own business. I get it. Sometimes teachers, other parents, and care providers have intentions we don’t get. However, if my kid comes back with a bloody nose at the cause of your hand, I’m not going to sit idly by and say, “ho hum”. Really. That’s what this book says to do. And later teach your kid how to avoid such discipline. I don’t think so.
But don’t let that mare your impression of this book, because except for that one part, most of the advice is rock solid. Based on the huge amount of useful, practical, and—most importantly—working advice I received, I’m giving this five stars.