Academic journal article Family Relations

Raising Children You Can Live With: A Guide for Frustrated Parents

Academic journal article Family Relations

Raising Children You Can Live With: A Guide for Frustrated Parents

Article excerpt

Baser, J. (1999). Raising Children You Can Live With: A Guide for Frustrated Parents. Houston: Bayou Publishing. 151 pages. Paper ISBN i-886298-11-4, price $14.95.

Parenting is not something you DO to a child; it is relationship you have WITH a child (Raser, 1999). Jamie Raser, a clinical social worker from Houston, Texas has written a book for parents with practical strategies. His approach, referred to as Strategic Interaction, provides a framework for parents to use in interacting and building a relationship with their children. Raser defines interaction as the day-to-day contacts occurring between parents and children. Strategic interaction is an interaction planned for the purpose of improving the parent-child relationship.

Raising Children You Can Live With teaches parents how to manage interactions using the essential components which Raser identifies as meaning, power, expression, deficit, and irrationality. Meaning is the interpretation that the receiver has of the message regardless of the sender's intent; power is the wish to dominate an interaction and involves a demand upon the other person; expression is the implicit desire that exists within the verbal exchange; deficit is the unmet need each person has that may carry over from one exchange to another; and irrationality is the escalation of negative emotions causing speakers to express themselves as they would not normally.

One strategic interaction is for parents to change their normal position in regards to their children. The parent remains in authority while allowing the child a certain amount of power and control. Taking a different position is a way for parents to get their child's attention without a power struggle. Raser suggests interacting with the child by being curious, being calm, apologizing, listening, being helpful, being concerned, being caring, or being collaborative. Examples of each are offered.

The second half of the book explores individual problem behaviors including chapters on lying, blaming, carelessness, sex, alcohol, drugs, listening, violence, gangs, and depression. The author offers a typical dynamic, then an example of a strategic interaction followed by a list of "things to think about" for each of the topics. For example, in the chapter on careless and irresponsible children, Raser provides this interaction:

Parent: How many times have I told you about those dishes? You leave them in your room and they get dried and rotten food all over them. …

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