Parenting & Family Books:

Taming the Spirited Child: Strategies for Parenting Challenging Children Without Breaking Their Spirits


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Taming the Spirited Child: Strategies for Parenting Challenging Children Without Breaking Their Spirits by Michael Popkin
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A pioneer parent educator presents his comprehensive and prescriptive program for helping spirited children live more peacefully in the family and in the world.

Develop a relationship with your spirited child by:

-- Building relationship skills -- Disciplining with encouragement
-- Balancing the power dynamic -- Curbing tantrums effectively

With step-by-step methods for every type of misbehavior and every child's unique personality, this comprehensive guide will help parents cultivate their child's spark, not extinguish it -- and reach beyond depressing labels for their beloved children.


"This text should be required reading for anyone responsible for children. As a pediatrician, I know that captivating the difficult-to-manage child's spirit and redirecting that energy into positive thoughts and actions can go a long way towards improving social outcomes." -- Dr. Melina McVicar, professor of Clinical Pediatrics, New York Medical College

"Psychologist and parenting expert Popkin, a frequent Oprah guest, devotes his latest title to helping parents "tame" kids who are difficult or spirited. Popkin has a fondness for acronyms, such as CAPPS to describe the spirited child as Curious, Adventurous, Powerful, Persistent and Sensitive. Parents may very well recognize their child's traits in these pages and appreciate the author's understanding of the frustration spirited kids often inspire. Popkin offers parents strategies to calm and defuse their child's anger, and ways to build a nurturing relationship without fighting or giving in, such as using his FLAC process ("meant to reduce the amount of flack in your relationship with your child," using Feelings, Limits, Alternatives and Consequences). Many books offer pick-and-choose options, but Popkin encourages readers to read his complete work before trying his tactics, as his methods are interwoven in a manner than helps build and balance the parent/child relationship. Included are plenty of hands-on activity suggestions parents can employ to avoid power struggles and give spirited kids the time, space and behavior structures they need. Tackling the book in its modest entirety will be easy for most readers as Popkin is an entertaining writer with keen insights; his own son was a spirited youngster, and the author draws from personal experience as well as his professional expertise." (Mar.) Publishers Weekly

"Finally, a fresh approach to the whole 'difficult child' category. In this insightful and moving work, Michael Popkin shows parents the positive potential of these spirited children without making excuses for their behavior. His 'taming' methods are as humane as they are effective." -- Thom Hartmann, author of Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception

About the Author

MICHAEL POPKIN, Ph.D., is the founder and president of Active Parenting Publishers, helping millions of parents to develop cooperation, responsibility, and courage in their children. Dr. Popkin lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his family. To find out more please visit his website at
Release date NZ
March 6th, 2007
Country of Publication
United States
Simon & Schuster
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