Parenting without punishment, threats, rewards, or bribery seemed like a fantasy until Wendy Thomas Russell enrolled in Ty and Linda Hatfield’s Parenting from the Heart course, which draws from Adlerian psychology and its offshoots. In ParentShift—an upbeat, modern guide with classic roots—the coauthors give parents a loving alternative.
Ten universal truths gather around the book’s central theme: children, like anyone else, thrive with love, and their behavior—however difficult—is a way to express unmet needs. Parents are encouraged to look for underlying issues and to learn proactive ways to strengthen their family’s ties. Well-chosen anecdotes show these principles in action.
The book also provides an overview of parenting styles, from authoritarian to permissive to the more contemporary helicoptering. Clear charts illustrate the pitfalls of each while providing strategic approaches to common problems. Whether dealing with toddler meltdowns or technology and teens, the Hatfields’ program is based on empathy. Suggestions can appear too “soft” for parents who were raised in a challenging household, but that’s the point. Old models need revising to have a real impact.
Questions and guided assignments gently unsettle parents’ ideas about themselves and their roles. One especially eye-opening exercise asks parents to list positive and negative qualities in their child, only to turn the same list into a mirror. Revealing and potentially healing, moments such as these underscore just how much of a parent’s own experiences color their words and actions.
Less a blueprint for harmony than a reminder that kids are worthy of being treated with the golden rule, ParentShift presents a thorough set of adaptable ideas. Here, thoughtful parenting comes down to being willing to grow and change right alongside children.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.