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Book Review: Raising Human Beings

This was not a sponsored post – but I did receive two free copies of Raising Human Beings.
I will be doing a giveaway with my second copy.


As I began reading this book I was dreading the review. Not because I didn’t enjoy the book, but because I thought it was simply an updated version of Dr. Ross Greene’s well known book, The Explosive Child. Which I reviewed HERE .

I was wrong. Raising Human Beings does reiterate the points first presented in Explosive Child. But even more, it expands upon those original ideas and gives more in-depth examples. Dr. Green answers some of the most common questions readers have when they start trying to form a collaborative relationship with their children.

I have always been interested in collaborating with my child, because my wish is to be an authoritative parent. In this article I discuss my parenting goals in more depth.

Lets dive right in to the highlights of Raising Human Beings.

Recognizing Incompatibilities

Ross Green, PhD explains that the basic goal we all have for our children is for them to self-actualize. To determine their own skills, values, personality traits etc. that make them who they are. As parents our job to support them in this while offering our own wisdom and guidance along the way.

Working together toward a shared goal is what makes parenting a collaborative relationship.

When we are dealing with difficult behaviors we have a tendency to focus on the behavior itself, instead of the “incompatibilities” that are causing them. Incompatibilities happen when our children are unable to meet the expectations the world (parents, teachers, themselves) have for them.

Dr. Greene explains that pestering and punishing our children is actually counterproductive. He points out, “kids do well if they can.” And dispels the myth that laziness or lack of effort is at issue when are kids are struggling.

I recall being told I was not “trying hard enough” or “putting in the effort” many times as a young person. This was detrimental to my mental health and my sense of self-actualization and I resent it to this day. I am so grateful Dr. Greene is putting this out there for parents to read.

Plan B

In both books Dr. Greene discusses Plan B. Plan B is another way of saying collaborate with your child to solve the issues at hand.

The first step in Plan B is empathy. With this step you are gathering information about how your child sees the incompatibility. This is where the idea of reflective listening comes into play. I have found that you can use reflective listening with children as young as 4 to gather information.

After you gather information you move to the Define Adult Concerns Step. This is where as parents you can use your life experiences and wisdom to explain to your child what concerns you have about the incompatibility. Here is your chance to exert some influence without resorting to threats or ultimatums.

The last step is the invitation. Where you invite your child to come up with a realistic and mutually satisfactory solution to the problem. For many of us, this will be the hardest part. Dr. Greene points out that it is not unusual to revisit a problem when both parties realize the original plan is not as realistic as they thought.

With my son, coming up with a realistic solution is harder than getting the information.

Problem Solving

Each of the three steps are discussed in detail in chapter 5. There are countless examples of how to handle various situations. These examples are helpful if you are new to the idea of collaborating with your children. I read through all of them and made notes in the margins.

There are 7 strategies listed for Parents to try during the Empathy (information gathering) Step, as well as 5 possible scenarios describing how a child might react. There are so many questions, straight from parents, that I stopped counting them. Each of these questions are answered by the author.

Any questions I had when I read Explosive Child were certainly resolved in chapter 6-8 of Raising Human Beings. Chapter 7 deals directly with “parental angst” and moving past some of our own barriers as parents. The questions posed are practical, realistic questions that any parent would ask. Dr. Greene’s answers are straightforward and reassuring.

The Bottom Line

Raising Human Beings ends with a discussion about the qualities we all want to instill in our children. Qualities like empathy, kindness, honesty and healthy social interaction. This is what I love about this book as well as the Explosive Child. Both books help us to see the big picture in parenting.

In the thick of parenting, it is hard to stay focused on the big picture. As parents, we often try to form these young people into better versions of ourselves instead of recognizing their unique strengths. Dr. Greene’s method of collaboration allows us to form a true partnership with our children.

I recommend this book to all parents. Not just those struggling with behavioral issues or discipline problems. Anyone who is raising a human being can benefit from Dr. Greene’s insight.

Buy the book. I promise you won’t regret it!








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