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Parental Guidance Recommended

This book for parents details how to guide children and adolescents. The approach is based on the belief that humans are not controlled by consequences (otherwise our prisons would be empty) but instead that we all act to meet our needs. This belief changes everything: it moves the focus from who has the power in a parenting relationship, to who has the need. And its core value is that adults and children have equal rights to get their needs met. Guidance aims to teach children to behave considerately - that is, to think about what happens to others when they act in a particular way. In contrast, rewards and punishments cause children to think about what happens to them when they perform a behaviour: will they get into trouble, get told off, be rewarded with extra computer time... and so on. Therefore, Parental Guidance Recommended teaches parents alternatives to rewards and punishments. The book also focuses on the three equally vital emotional needs of all children: how to give them a deep sense of their worth, to meet their need to belong, and to give children autonomy (or opportunities to be self-governing). When we use rewards and punishments to try to control those children who have a strong need for autonomy (whom I call 'spirited'), we get into a dance of escalating defiance and anger on the children's part and escalating coercion and anger on ours. Instead, the guidance approach involves listening to children, being assertive, solving problems collaboratively and supporting children to regain self-control when they have a meltdown. On the grounds that when a person is drowning, that is not the time to give swimming lessons, support involves saying very little but instead guiding children to soothe themselves. This book details these skills and offers suggestions for solving persistent behavioural difficulties in children and young people. It also reminds us to be compassionate towards ourselves as parents and as individuals, because we each have our own frailties and needs.
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About the Author

Louise Porter PhD, MA(Hons), MGiftedEd, DipEd, BA, BIntStuds Child Psychologist Dr Louise Porter is a child psychologist with over 30 years' experience in private practice consulting with parents and practitioners about children's developmental and social or emotional challenges. Alongside this private work, she was employed for 10 years in disability and mainstream settings and lectured at Flinders University in South Australia for 13 years in topics relating to early childhood, special and gifted education, and behaviour management in schools. She has a particular interest in how adults can guide children's behaviour, which was the subject of her doctorate. She has published widely, and is a sought-after speaker nationally and internationally. (See

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