A Practical Guide for Raising a Self-Directed and Caring Child: An Alternative to the Tiger Mother Parenting Style by Louis J. Lichtman, Ph.D.

A Practical Guide for Raising a Self-Directed and Caring Child: An Alternative to the Tiger Mother Parenting Style
Louis J. Lichtman, Ph.D.
iUniverse (2011)
ISBN 9781450293617
Reviewed by Joseph Yurt for Reader Views (8/11)

Are there any self-directed, caring children out there?

This reviewer’s answer to what has become an increasingly nagging question is a reluctant “no,” at least not in significant numbers. As you might suspect, it is well meaning, but ill-prepared parents who are the source of the problem. The root cause is their woeful lack of parenting knowledge and skills. The extent of the problem is so great that it has compelled Louis J. Lichtman, Ph.D., author of the new book, “A Practical Guide for Raising a Self-Directed and Caring Child,” to proclaim that “I believe that the way children are being raised today is the most serious problem facing our Nation.” Lichtman has been a professor of psychology for more that forty years and parent, along with his wife, of two grown daughters.

While this book relies heavily on research findings, it is not some academic tome. It is written as described, a practical, often, simply common sense guide book. It is easy to follow and easy for busy young families, or those contemplating if they should start a family, to use in making up their minds and their plans. While the book is a valuable standalone treatment of the subject, Lichtman’s thorough listing of References contained in the back of the book provides an excellent body of further writing and discussion.

Content is offered in eight chapters. For me, the cornerstone chapters were: Getting Ready to Become a Parent (the monetary cost of children today is mind boggling!); Discipline and Parenting Styles (avoid being a hovering “helicopter parent”); Divorce and Family Configurations (“About 25% of children continue to suffer social and psychological problems six years post divorce.”); and, Avoid the Common Mistakes Parents Make (“Many parents do too much for their children.”). Other chapters address giving young children a good start, nurturing self-esteem, fostering achievement, and parenting tweens and teens.

At the head of every chapter is a relevant list of questions the reader should consider before reading a chapter’s content. This device creates a firm framework for contemplating the author’s facts and opinions. At the conclusion of each chapter, Lichtman summarizes what he has written in an understandable, concise and pointed manner. The result of the author’s structure is the delivery of possible next steps, how to implement a new plan or how to make changes to your current approach.

At first glance, starting with the front and back covers and proceeding to the Table of Contents, the book could be perceived by some as a bit of old news. But upon further examination, the old news is, in fact, good news for aiding potential new parents. And, along with new, stimulating recent findings and anecdotes, “A Practical Guide for Raising a Self-Directed and Caring Child” offers an alternative approach to “Tiger Mothering,” making a strong case for self-directed kids as opposed to those who are parent controlled. Most importantly, this book clearly shows the reader how it’s done. As a mentor to four daughters and seven grandchildren, I highly recommend this book!

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