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Today's families are at an exciting crossroads. The destructive values that governed traditional hierarchical, authoritarian families are being transformed. Instead we can choose to embrace a new set of values based on the assumption that families must be built not on authoritarian force or democratic tyranny but on dignity and reciprocity between parent and child.
Children are emotionally competent -- that is, they always tell the truth about how they are feeling. Parents must begin to listen to and learn from the honest feedback they receive from their children. When we feel unhappy or dissatisfied with a situation in the family, it is almost always because we were unable to convert our loving feelings into loving behavior. To do so, we need to become fluent in what Juul calls "personal language" -- a language less concerned with "shoulds" than with our own emotional honesty.
Using examples from families in many different countries, Juul has written a book that challenges parents to see the years with their children as an exciting time of growth and development for the whole family.