You Can't Make Me [But I Can Be Persuaded] by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias is not like any other parenting book I've ever read. I think the main difference is that the author isn't writing based only on personal experience and/or a college education or counseling career. Tobias has literally spoken to thousands of strong willed children (hereafter referred to as SWC) of varying ages and backgrounds. In essence, this book is like a compilation of the useful tips you can find scattered throughout many other bestselling parenting books.
I absolutely love that the tone of this book is positive and encouraging rather than critical. Woven throughout the book are reminders that a strong will in and of itself is not a negative trait and encouragement for parents to develop a loving relationship that their child will value. This book can equip a parent to start wherever they are now to build a positive future for their SWC in terms of relationship, responsibility, and sharing their talents with the world.
Tobias makes an effort to truly help you to understand how the mind of a SWC works so that you can not only resolve behavior issues, but restore relationship. (Let's face it, we can definitely harbor bitterness toward a child that outwardly seems to be defiant and rebellious.) She shares tips and insights for practical application for children from their toddler years all the way through adulthood. While some are age specific (preschool, elementary, teen, adult), most of the techniques apply across the board, so I would recommend this book to parents with SWC of any age.
On page 31, Tobias writes the following about dealing with the argumentative and almost impossible to motivate SWC, "Here's where it's especially important to remember a critical question: What's the point? Instead of going into endless detail, just cut to the chase-give your child the bottom line. Remember, you want bottom-line accountability, and that means your SWC doesn't call the shots on the end result; the compromise can come by allowing some flexibility in the method, not the outcome."
Throughout the book are many entertaining anecdotes that help you to understand which tactic can be useful at what time. If you're like me, these will make you both laugh (at some of the things kid's say and do...) and let out a sigh of relief (that your child isn't the only one who has acted/spoken this way)! I started trying the techniques for communication with my 5 year old son before even finishing the book & they really do work and deescalate the tense atmosphere that rears its ugly head far too often around here.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the purpose of review. I didn't have to write a positive review, these opinions are mine.