Book Review: If I Have to Tell You One More Time

When it comes to dealing with disciplining your children, who doesn’t want to reduce frustration and still get their child to obey? If being more playful and less stressed sounds good to you, check out Amy McCready’s book, “If I Have to Tell You One More Time.”  She does a fantastic job explaining what children are really thinking and feeling when they misbehave. Then she empowers parents to respond more effectively, offering practical solutions that can be implemented immediately, shifting problems into learning opportunities.


Based on Adlerian psychology, what Amy teaches can be applied to children of all ages. Consequently, so much of the suffering we see, from toddlers struggling to be autonomous to teens finding their place in the world, can just disappear. Yes, it is going to take some introspection and consistent parenting on our part, but the results are so worth the effort!


I was enthralled with this book after reading just a few pages. Amy’s examples of parenting situations are easy to relate to, down to earth, and funny. I was particularly impressed with when she powerfully distinguished the difference between discipline and punishment. Those few paragraphs alone make the book worth buying. In addition, that one point gave  me and my husband a chance to clarify our different ideas of how parents deal with problem behavior. It put us squarely on the same team and gave us both a way to talk about how we want to discipline our children, together.


Interested? Here are two more samples of what you can expect to read about:


Power Struggles. This is a must read chapter! No one wins in a power struggle, there are just varying levels of damage done on each side. This chapter has the ability to remind parents that behind even the worst behavior is a child that is just yearning to be better understood and have their growth and development respected. This chapter has helped me facilitate my son’s burgeoning sense of independence. Instead of reacting to him as if he is willfully disobedient, now I know how to welcome his efforts to be a little man. Seen from this new point of view, I totally get him on an emotional level. Consequently, there is a lot more love and playtime.


The Goals of Misbehavior. There really is a method to the madness, often hidden by a child’s way of acting out their frustration. Once a parent understands what their child is having difficulty expressing, it’s easy to act calmly and with love. My son is at the stage where he interrupts me all of the time. Before reading this book, I would get mad, scold, and shout over him (if I had to). After reading this book, it is clear what my son really wants from me, and it has been so much easier to calmly deal with his outbursts and train him how conversations work. It is really rewarding to see the positive changes and progress he is making as he is learning to socialize.


There are 23 specific tools in the book, with step-by-step guidelines on how to apply them immediately in your life. They work! So if your current way of disciplining your child isn’t getting you the behavior you want, read this book.


Practice makes perfect, as we all know, so I invite other interested parents to contact me if they would like to form a study group, to discuss the different principles and techniques presented in the book. Thanks for reading this book review, and I hope to hear from some of you! Kimberly Virzì.

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