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Hi A & H:

Your comments offered much food for thought and also made me realize I’ve left part of the story out. The book really does have a bad and misleading title, and Simon does not qualify as “difficult” under the author’s rubric. School has quit talking to me about this, too, so I know he’s settled in.

The book is highly praised, though, and the author has discipline and coping suggestions for each difficult trait a child might have. The author also helps you identify which traits are at play at what times so you can devise a targeted approach instead of being scatter-shot or unnecessarily harsh. It’s hard to imagine a parent for whom this would not be helpful.

Simon’s primary challenges (and yes, Harriette, that is a much nicer way to phrase it) are entering a fray and making changes, and the author has really good ideas for how to handle or help with that. He also offers the upside to each trait where there is one, and very often there is.

The most eye opening thing for me so far is the realization that Simon’s sensory threshold is fine (he’s sensitive, but not in a clinical sense) and that most of his toddler challenges have come from poor adaptability (the change thing), with which I also struggle, and negative persistence (AKA stubbornness), which I had never considered before but is definitely there. The author’s ideas and approaches to both are designed to help parents pick battles, to help parents redirect some of this love of routine and stick-to-it-ness in more constructive ways, and to cut off power struggles before they get started. One idea, for example, is to build a visual daily routine chart with your child and have him identify where he is on it and what’s next. The author claims you will be surprised at how self-directed stubborn toddlers can be when given this kind of tool.

So, to summarize, I’ve decided to keep the book because of its practical and hands-on advice for how to discipline children, not because of any label I may be sticking on Simon. That tempest, thankfully, has passed.

One Response to “Open Letter to Amanada and Harriette”

  1. Amanda says:

    I understand, Jess, and know you well enough to know that you’re not into labels. But I wanted to emphasize that while Simon has his good and challenging points, so do we all. It’s called being normal. And frankly, stubbornness is a GOOD trait. I know, I am stubborn. It’s annoying in a 3-year old when you want him to get into his pjs, but it’ll serve him well in the long run. And it’s not like his being stubborn should be a big surprise to you, I know a couple of parents that this describes pretty well too…

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