Raising Human Beings Book Summary - Raising Human Beings Book explained in key points
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Raising Human Beings summary

Ross W. Greene

Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child

4.8 (26 ratings)
23 mins
Table of Contents

    Raising Human Beings
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    Key idea 1 of 8

    Parenting doesn’t have to be a power struggle.

    Parenting is a confusing business. While our own parents grew up with a handful of trusted books to call on, today we’re flooded with opinions and opinions on how to parent. We’re supposed to hold firm boundaries, but not be disciplinarians. We’re told to nurture our children, but never become the dreaded “helicopter parent.” 

    One of the biggest challenges for parents is power. When our children act out, we clamp down and try to enforce our will, because “we know best.” Often, we resort to violence: between 80 and 90 percent of toddlers in the US are hit by their parents. And these harsh tactics continue at school, where corporal punishment is legal in 19 states.

    But the truth is, an authoritarian approach can only go so far. And when you’re in the grip of a power struggle with your child, you both lose.

    When children act out or get into trouble, it can be tempting to treat them as if they themselves are the problem. But tantrums or bad grades are actually symptoms of the real issue. Instead of fixating on the behavior, it’s time to look for what’s causing it. And the best person to help you do that is your child. 

    Learning how to communicate is what will allow you to have influence as a parent, without resorting to authoritarian tactics. You need to get on the same team as your children and become an active collaborator in helping to resolve their worries. Don’t be an adversary. 

    Adopting this approach can be scary, especially at first. You might feel like you’re “going soft” or at risk of losing control. But, in reality, a big power play only gives you the illusion of control. Your child may well already be going behind your back if he doesn’t agree with your rules – you just don’t know it. By learning to communicate openly and honestly with him, you’ll build a relationship based on empathy and respect instead of fear and control. 

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    What is Raising Human Beings about?

    Raising Human Beings (2016) is part practical guide and part manifesto about the power of collaborative problem-solving. Using threats, bribes, and punishments doesn’t change children’s behavior sustainably. That’s because you just end up suppressing the symptoms of the problem, instead of addressing the root cause. Instead of engaging in power struggles, try asking your children what’s really going on, and brainstorming solutions together. Not only will you come up with better solutions – your relationship will improve dramatically.

    Who should read Raising Human Beings?

    • Parents in the grip of a power struggle with their children
    • Prospective parents who want to learn to communicate constructively 
    • Educators and youth workers looking for new approaches to working with the children in their care

    About the Author

    Dr. Ross W. Greene served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School for over 20 years. He’s the founder and director of Lives in Balance, and the creator of the Collaborative and Proactive Solutions approach. He gives lectures all over the world, and consults at schools, psychiatric facilities, and juvenile detention centers. 

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