It's Not Fair! (by Gill Hines and Aliston Baverstock)

I had never heard of either Gill Hines or Alison Baverstock. Nor is this a book I would have bought, since my two sons are now in their early 20s. But I've always liked parenting books, so when I saw it on the shelves for review of 'The Bookbag' site, I thought it would be interesting to read. I did wonder if it would be along similar lines to Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's 'Raising your Spirited Child', which I read about nine years ago, and thought excellent.

However, the 'bright and challenging' children described in this book are defined as being 'smart, sassy and sparky, with just a hint of precociousness.' This is rather different from the dreamy, perceptive and rather disorganised 'spirited' one.

A bright and challenging child tends to live in the moment, self-aware and verbal, able to argue well, frequently wearing his parents down. Modern recommended parenting methods are not necessarily helpful with this kind of child.

Problems arise since bright and challenging children are often unable to consider long-term consequences of their actions. As teenagers, they are more likely than most to experiment with dangerous or anti-social behaviours. They usually like being the centre of attention, and are more interested in present feelings and desires than any thought of the future.

The book is very well-written, full of anecdotes about bright and challenging children, with advice about what to do, and what not to do. There are questionnaires, places for parents to pause and think about certain aspects of parenting, and some excellent suggestions in the later chapters for preparing their children for the temptations of the teenage years.

It's intended for parent of children from eight to twelve, and most of the suggestions and recommendations are appropriate for this age-range. However, some children are clearly bright and challenging from a much younger age, and some teenagers are the despair of their parents due to consistently negative behaviour of the sort described in this book. So I feel it would be appropriate for parents of any age children who are finding it hard to deal with them.

Very highly recommended.

You can also read my slightly longer review of 'It's Not Fair' on the Bookbag site.

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