Book Review: Kids, Parents, And Power Struggles: Winning For A Lifetime

Want to avoid emotional warfare? Read Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles, which will help you better understand — and respond to — your child's needs.

Cover of Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles

By Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
Harper Collins, $23/$13.

If it weren’t for all the power struggles that occupy my eight-year-old daughter and me on a regular basis (like the one involving the lemonade stand early this Sunday morning), you’d have read this review two months ago. That you are reading it now is a clear indication that I do not always come out on top. (Lemonade, anyone?) That is why I leaped at the chance to read this book,  Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.

As adoptive parents learn, the struggles often take a special twist as a child tries to leverage her situation with shrieked comments such as: ”You can’t tell me what to do! You’re not my real mom!” Although the book doesn’t specifically address adoption issues, it provides worthy advice for coping with power struggles and understanding why they happen.

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles, newly released in paperback, is written in a very weighty tone that urges parents to get at the emotional causes of children’s behavior. Among the meatiest chapters is “Why Your Child Loses It,” which guides you through the process of determining a child’s temperament. Understanding that you have a persistent, sensitive, intense, or slow-to-adapt child can help you empathize and select strategies. If a child is not persistent by nature, the author notes, a 100-problem worksheet “is going to send him under the table.”

My daughter is nothing if not persistent. As she and two chums set up the lemonade stand at our house, I overheard them debating weighty issues-how to price a product fairly, how to spell (quarters, not kwartrs), how to share equally in the proceeds. Their enthusiasm taught me a quick lesson: When life hands you power struggles, make lemonade.


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