Review for

If you're the parent of a "spirited" child (sometimes also known as "difficult"), this book may help you find the solutions to your parenting nightmare that you've been searching for.Like most books of this type, the tone is breezy and conversational, as the author attempts to talk the frazzled, desperate parent down from the ledge and invite him or her in for a conversation on how to keep from going crazy in the future. But don't let the easy tone fool you: there's plenty of concrete, specific advice about parenting a spirited child here, backed up by solid research and years of practical experience.Some of the book's strengths:- There's a useful discussion of the distinction between ADHD and spirited behavior (esp. in regard to "distractibility") in Ch. 3 and elsewhere.- The advice on "Letting go of the dream child" (in Ch. 4) is also quite useful, and is the only place I've seen this important subject addressed so frankly.- The discussion of adaptability is very useful for distinguishing between willful disobedience and a genuine need for more transition time (e.g., more warning).The book's weaknesses are relatively minor:- Some of the cultural references are dated (1970s & 80s), and there's some cultural location marking as well -- midwest usages like "pop" for soda or cola, or the phrase "a scuzzy word" for a curse-word, for example. These can be a little distracting, but don't detract much from the content.- The research isn't up to top academic standards--citing what others have said about Jung's work on personality types, for example, without ever going back to the original source (Jung). But then, this book doesn't pretend to be a rigorous academic study.- Like most (all?) books of this type, there's a fair amount of repetition, as concepts get restated in various ways and forms (examples drawn from the author's own family, stories from parents in parenting classes, tables and questionnaires, research cited, etc.). This seems endemic to the genre, and in any case it's easy enough to skim a section if you feel you've already mastered the concept or gotten the message.Conclusion:As a practical guidebook for parents of "spirited" children, this book is a good choice. It is both accessible, encouraging, informative--and most importantly--full of useful and effective advice. I would recommend it in conjunction with a book from the Positive Discipline series. Though there is some overlap between these books, repetition of some key concepts and strategies isn't necessarily a bad thing, and there's enough that's unique to each approach to make reading them both worthwhile.