It must have been sheer luck that "Superpowers for Parents" ended up on my recommended list. Of all the books on psychology and parenting, this has to be considered a standout piece. I teach self defence to children and through my studies and coaching experience I have found that building the right attitude is by far the most efficient way for children to learn. Dr. Briers' excellent new book is completely in line with my approach to teaching, which is refreshing as the self defence world – much like the parenting/psychology world – is still very much in reactive mode. This is in the face of the great results being found in business leadership and sport. In order for humans to better respond, interact and to get the results that make them happy they have to learn to charge of their feelings and to understand others.
We are in a time of rising youth violence and greater depression in our young. Programmes like "Super Nanny", "Brat Camp" and the like have become prime time viewing, feeding the demand provided by Generation X parents. Dr. Briers, although is never dismissive of such methods as the "naughty step", argues that too much emphasis is being placed on handling the symptoms of bad behaviour. His book deals with the root of the problem, developing skills in both parents and children that will help prevent the problems from developing later on. It removes the "guilty parent" attitude that resulted from an extreme interpretation of the famous methods of Dr. Spock combined with the liberalism of the 1960s and the Baby Boomer generation of parents. Dr. Briers shifts parenting towards the development of empathy the base for good relationships and interdependency.
With this in mind "Superpowers for Parents" is comparable with Dr. Stephen Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" in that the author has a clear understanding of what is meant by the now buzzwords "proactive" and "empowerment". Like Covey, Dr. Briers understands the partiality of the "carrot and stick" approach, the age old punishment and reward system. Dr. Briers' methods are all about teaching children to take control of their feelings, emotions and eventually their lives. The activities suggested are far from revolutionary rather they are heavy nods towards common sense. However, this is long overdue. In my own book on children's self defence I make a strong emphasis on helping children develop independent attitudes. This is vital to prevent children from becoming physically vulnerable. "Superpowers for Children" demonstrates that developing this type of attitude also prevents children from becoming psychologically vulnerable.
In conclusion this book provides a much needed guide on preventing and understanding bad behaviour in children. However, more than this, it is a very positive book for today's parents bringing the true meaning of discipline back to parenting. Discipline, as Dr. Briers explains, has too long been associated with punishment and taking orders. It is one of the four tenets I teach in my children's classes and my book, and I completely agree that discipline is more about effective mentoring and developing self-discipline than anything else. After all one can only really benefits from discipline if one is willing receive it.
I highly recommend this book to all parents and prospective parents.