Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: If I Have To Tell You One More Time

How many of you have caught yourself nagging your kids to do simple tasks? How many of you have children who seem to "act out" on a regular basis? How many of you have ended up yelling over your kids' sibling rivalry behaviors? How many of you feel as though your discipline strategies just aren't working? I'm sure most of you have experienced at least one, if not all of these scenarios. I'll admit I've been in these situations, sometimes all of them within the span of 10 minutes!

A few weeks ago I came across Amy McCready's new book "If I Have to Tell You One More Time" and was intrigued. The subtitle of her book is actually: The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Reminding Or Yelling"! But don't let that subtitle fool you, what this book is also about is how connect to your children in a deep, meaningful way and how to speak and react to them so that you are bringing out the best in your children. 

Amy McCready is also the founder
of Positive Parenting Solutions
An Expert You Can Relate To
Right off the bat, I loved Amy's style and could totally relate. She freely admits to her imperfections as a parent, but also makes it clear that she didn't want things to continue the way they were going. She knew things were not going as well as they should and she set out to change those dynamics.

The book begins with an explanation of why many of our tried and true methods like Time Outs or 1-2-3 counting just don't work for the long haul. But she doesn't just tell us what not to do, she gives excellent, doable suggestions in a step by step plan for changing the way we interact with our children.

Best of all, Amy McCready explains the psychological needs behind our children's behaviors, helps parents define their parenting style (thank you - I now have proof that I am controlling) so we can recognize how our own behaviors could be making things worse, and shows us concrete ways to bring out the best in our children and ourselves.

No one wins in a power struggle with a child.
Getting Out Of Power Struggles

Many of you may remember some of the power struggles I have with my daughter on a regular basis (like when she's acting like Veruka Salt or when I let my triggers get the best of me, so I was eager to try Amy's ideas to improve our relationship. 

One area I struggle with that I haven't written about is my daughter's obsession with food. She continues to ask for food, even when I know she can't possibly be hungry anymore. In addition to arguing about her wanting to eat, we would get into battles about how food was placed on the plate, how it was cooked, what I was offering and on and on and on. I have tried everything from saying yes to every request, to setting up meal "rules", all while trying not to make food an issue for her! As a result, what has happened is that she and I have a power struggle around food on a daily basis much to my chagrin. And really, I knew deep down it wasn't about the food, but I just didn't know how to tackle the issue. I really didn't think anything in Amy's book was going to help me with this problem, but boy was I surprised. 

A child's primary goal is to achieve
belonging and significance 
I began using the first of the tools the book recommends called Mind, Body and Soul Time. This is essentially one on one time with your children. Those who read this blog regularly know I am a huge proponent of this, but since we no longer have a nanny, I have not been able to do it the way I used to. But Mind, Body and Soul time is simply 10 minutes with each child, 2 times a day, set up as a consistent schedule your children can count on. This tiny, little, easy idea radically changed things with my daughter in just 1 day! I was amazed. Here I was thinking I spend so much quality time with them, but all my daughter needed was to know that each day she was going to get me to herself twice a day and her strategy of seeking attention from me by locking into numerous power struggles has dropped dramatically. Now when she asks for more food after she's already finished a meal, instead of addressing that request I translate it in my mind as a need to be filled up with some attention. My offer to spend alone time is always met with a happy "yes" and the "hunger" she complained of just disappears. As Amy McCready writes in a section titled All Behavior Is Goal-Oriented
"Your child doesn't even know it, but she's on a mission to achieve the feelings of belonging and significance she longs for. Misbehavior isn't the actual problem, it's just a symptom of a deeper issue. If we address it, the misbehavior will disappear and our children will get what they need in a more positive way".
So, while I used a power struggle over food as an example, this idea applies to any area in which your children are misbehaving. Remembering that it's a symptom of something else and knowing how to react when that symptom shows itself is a huge game changer. Mind Body and Soul Time is just the first of 23 easy and effective tools outlined in this book.

When he acts helpless it is often
a misguided attempt to get more attention. 
Help With More Subtle Calls For Attention
While the change in my interactions with our daughter may be the most obvious, I can see, too how it is changing my relationship with my son. His way of trying to get attention generally manifests itself in acting helpless or becoming overly frustrated by things he's perfectly capable of doing. Because I get drawn into intermittent reinforcement of this behavior, it's only gotten worse. In the past week I've been applying some of this book's methods to understand the reasons behind the behavior so that I am, instead, encouraging his independence. 

What Makes This book So Good?
  • I love the book's approach to encouragement for effort as opposed to simple praise. 
  • I love the ideas about getting your children involved in "family contributions" as opposed to "chores". 
  • I love that the book is about empowering our children as opposed to controlling them. 
  • I love that the book spends a good deal of time explaining, psychologically, why children behave the way they do so parents can move beyond the label of "misbehavior". 
  • I love how thorough and organized it is, with real tools any parent can use effectively.
  • I love that it has methods that work with children ages 2 to 12 and that the author differentiates how to 
  • I love that there's a whole chapter devoted to sibling rivalry!
This book has, in a very short span of time, helped me make some significant changes in our home. While I was already aware of many of the theories Amy McCready talks about, I wasn't always confident in the way in which I applied my knowledge. And I was certainly not experiencing the same level of happy cooperation that I am now. I know it will take some work to have these methods become second nature, but I'm excited about the possibilities.

I'm Not Just Reviewing It, I'm Giving One Away.
Amy McCready sent me a copy of "If I Have to Tell You One More Time" with a request to review it. Although I was under no obligation to do so, I liked it so much that I not only am recommending it, but I asked if she would consider offering one more copy as a giveaway! 

So, if my review has intrigued you and you'd like to understand your children better, have more cooperation in your house and actually have some great tools in your toolbox for handling misbehavior, then leave me a comment below and let us know why you'd like a copy of the book. Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you if you win! If you'd like a double chance of winning, become a subscriber to my blog as well. I will choose a winner at random (through on Friday, August 12th at noon and announce the winner on my Facebook page. 

I look forward to your thoughts about this book. Do you think it could help with some of your own parenting issues? 

Thanks for reading!
The Twin Coach
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24 Great Comments Made By Clicking Here!:

Christina Ward said...

Appreciate the thorough review - adding to my "must reads" soon!

Sarah said...

Sarah here. A newly single Momma of a near 4 year old boy. And yes, I would LOVE a copy of this book! I find myself giving him literally everything bit of me I have and I still find these moments of combatting each other. I could write SO much but I'll just leave it simply said, I want my son to feel loved, listened to, and understood... especially in this hard time we're in. Thanks.

Mia said...

I'm so intrigued. I have heard about the idea of spending 15 uninterrupted minutes with each child but how do you do it without a babysitter? I'm going through a challenging time with my older son, he's not listening and testing boundaries and exhibiting some sibling rivalry. We don't do time outs or punishments and we do a lot of talking (too much perhaps?) and I'm sure I could be doing this better but I'm not sure how to go about doing that, so please include me in the drawing!

Mama Goose said...

I can't thank you enough for the review of this book. My husband and I have been struggling lately with our youngest and I've been searching for something, anything really, that will give us a fresh perspective. We've tried time outs, 1-2-3, and consequences, but we haven't found the right mix yet. I love the sound of Amy's approach and can't wait to include some of her ideas in our search for sanity. (Starting tonight with special one on one time with them both!) Thanks again. I'm very much looking forward to reading the book.

Mama Goose said...

Oh, and I'm subscribed too! Love your blog!!

Janet said...

I have 5 children, the youngest of whom are 2yo twins. My house is a hotbed of sibling rivalry, and to be honest, I'm at my wits' end trying to deal with it.

Not to mention the complete lack of regard for getting things done. One child dumping their stuff wherever they walk is messy, five is just ridiculous. In the end, I'm the one who cleans up because I get sick of yelling, and I've run out of motivation to try anything different!

Jodie said...

I have an almost 2yr old and a 3mth old. My two year old is really starting to test the boundaries and while a lot of other mum's I know are using the naughty chair and time outs etc, I've felt that that's not right for me but I don't know what else to try. I know he is doing most of his misbehaving as an attention seeking trick, you can see it on his face as he does it! :-) I don't want to become a nagger or a yeller. I want to get on top of it before it gets out of control. I loved your review and found it really helpful in deciding if this book would be suitable for me and my kids. Thank you!!

Jenn said...

There are so many reasons why I would like to read this book. My almost 3 year old test his boundaries everyday. It's funny you talk about the food issue with your daughter, I feel like I am going through the same thing with my son, he's always wanting 'something else' it's test my patience every meal time! I have been following Amy McCready for a couple months now and I enjoy her advise on parenting. I would love to read her book. Thank you

Alison said...

Thank you for this review - it sounds like a book my husband & I need. I've been following Amy on FB for a while and have known at some level that she's a great potential resource, but you really grabbed me with "how connect to your children in a deep, meaningful way and how to speak and react to them so that you are bringing out the best in your children." We have three kids (a four year old and twin two year olds), and I work outside the home, so my mind is reeling a bit from figuring out the logistics of 20 minutes a day per child. But before I have two three year olds, I know I need to read this book and learn how to implement this and the other 23 tools! Thank you!

Lindsey said...

I need this book! My three-year-old twins are starting to act out a bit in the midst of a new baby sister and a new house. I know this book would offer great tips for me!

Jill said...

I could totally use this with my three-year-old boys. The yelling and whining has escalated recently!

jcyoda said...

I would love this book to help both my husband and myself deal with things that push our triggers.

Amy McCready said...

Dear Twin Coach,

Thank you for the lovely review of If I Have to Tell You One More Time! I'm thrilled that you're seeing such rapid and measurable results! I can't wait to share the book with one of your readers!

Thanks again, Gina, for taking the time to review the book and write such a thoughtful and thorough review!

With gratitude,

Amy McCready
Founder, Positive Parenting Solutions

Jennifer said...

Gina, thanks for this very timely review. As you know, in our family, we adults are looking for positive ways to deal with some of the challenges of age 3.5. Who knew it would be like this! Not I! Would love to read this book to get some fresh ideas, especially the sibling stuff, which is an ongoing topic of interest. I look forward to reading it!

Donna said...

Great review - I am intrigued. I think I might want to try some of these techniques on my husband!

andrea said...

Thank you for the great review. I would love this book. My girls are 20 months apart and trying to spend 1:1 time with each is challenging with a traveling husband. love the philosophy of the book, as it fits with many of my beliefs, and think it will help me develop as a parent.
thank you!

Nora H said...

Oooo, I would love to have a great book to add to my arsenal. I have four birth children 2.5-9, and 3 bonus 9-13. I need some more tools. Snything I can get, that can help me out just a bit helps!

ranchers.wife07 at

Summer said...

well you know WHY I need this book. My son is 6, going on 13....

Should say it all. =)

summer at


nickandkatherine said...

This would be great to win. I too have 5 kids, and am always saying that. Today it was all about not turning the hosepipe on AGAIN!. I could use some help.

Altaira Barrezueta said...

Hi Gina,

Thank you so much for this book review. I enjoy reading books about different parenting techniques. My husband and I can always use new information in our arsenal while parenting our twin two year olds. Both of us had a lack of parenting growing up so we do not have anything to fall back on but new knowledge.


Aris said...

I'd love to read this book. I have 2 1.5 year olds so I'm not quite there yet, but I'd like to be prepared...

Kara S. said...

Oh my gosh, this review couldn't have come at a better time. I need it. Who knew 23 mo olds could be so strong-willed!

Nadia said...

Good timing for such a great review. I am somewhat struggling with Miss N (30 months) and sometimes feel bad when I lose my patience after the fifth "pick up clean up" request. With baby #2 due in a few months, I am getting anxious that I need to really nip this in the bud sooner than later !

The Twin Coach said...

Thank you all for your wonderful comments. I wish I had a copy to give away to each and every one of you. I announced the winner on my Facebook page & it was Summer.

For anyone else interested in the book, please go to to find out how you can use your purchase of this book to donate online parent training to military families.

Good luck to all of you. I hope you will all continue to read my blog and share your struggles - I really believe that each of us has great wisdom to share and you never know how your story can help another!
~ Gina

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