Back to top

Fifty Years of Dreikurs

April 01, 2014

In the car, the kids get noisy and rambunctious. You’re distracted by their bickering and loud voices. You’ve admonished them many times during car rides but their behavior hasn’t changed. What should you do?

Arguably the finest child management system ever developed is celebrating fifty years of guiding parents to sanity and effectiveness: Rudolf Dreikurs’ Children: The Challenge. Much copied by other parenting books since its 1964 debut, Dreikurs’ system shows parents how to allow natural and logical consequences to deliver the lessons we want our kids to learn (without relying on yelling or spanking or other conventional punishments).

Minutes after arriving at work, you receive a text from your daughter indicating that she left her lunchbox on the kitchen counter that morning ... and will you bring it to her at school? What should you do?

We all need a system, an approach that guides us in how to handle the many difficult moments occurring throughout the child-rearing years. No license is required to raise children; no certificate affirming that we’ve completed some essential class. Do we know what we’re doing? With a system like Dreikurs, we enjoy the confidence that comes from parenting with a consistent set of tried-and-true principles; we’re not starting from scratch with each challenging moment.

Despite your second request, the children haven’t come upstairs for dinner. This happens regularly and you’re tired of always yelling after them. What should you do?

Especially in a two-parent family, a shared system bestows the added benefit of both parents working from the same roadmap. It’s natural that two parents, each with their own family backgrounds and personalities and temperaments, will approach discipline from different perspectives, sometimes tripping over one another. Sharing a child guidance approach reduces those disheartening times when frustration with the kids turns into frustration with a spouse.

Become a more effective parent by adopting Children: The Challenge as your child management guidebook. Thousands of used copies, decades old but in fine condition, float in cyberspace for as little as a quarter. For something as important as child rearing, don’t fly by the seat of your pants; embrace a wise system.