All right, y’all. I’ve had a good rant building up for several months now after reading two terrible parenting books from the same author. So here you go…or you can totally skip this post and just promise me that you won’t read the books.
I read Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control, Volume 2, during our licensing process. It was “recommended” reading, so I snapped up the book, intent on showing my eagerness to be an adoptive parent. Dare to Love was recommended by our case manager when we were dealing with some really difficult behaviors from Boy. Both books are written by Heather T. Forbes, LCSW. She also co-authored Volume 1 of Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control. (Her co-author, Bryan Post, was reprimanded by the Oklahoma State Board of Licensed Social Workers for misrepresenting his Ph.D. credentials…)
I suppose the proper way to review books would be to give a thorough, unbiased take on what I read. Well, proper isn’t in the cards today, as I think that both of these books are pieces of whack-a-doodle trash.
Before I start tearing apart the books, I will say that I think the author meant well. I believe that she thinks this “completely new understanding of how to love and parent your children” is helpful. I think she’s crazy, but I don’t think she’s intending to be harmful. Although I think implementing her theory in any home would be harmful. Anyway…
Overall, these two books have a pervasive, off-putting, “holier-than-thou” tone. Forbes sees her methods as the only way to truly love children. Have you ever given your kid a consequence for misbehavior? Bummer. You don’t actually love your child. You suck as a parent. Turn from your “traditional” ways to the Beyond Consequence life, and you too can have a magical transformation in your troubled child.
I really do understand that with troubled kids, many of their misbehaviors are rooted in deeper issues. We’ve learned that Boy’s utter meltdown tantrums usually mean he’s missing his birth family. Ok, fine. We can deal with that. But he’s still not allowed to injure others or express his feelings in intentionally hurtful ways. Beyond Consequences would let him hurt his siblings and then would have me go apologize to Boy for not protecting him from his past hurts while ignoring the sobbing, hurt sibling. Thanks. As if I don’t have enough guilt with my kids, Forbes wants me to take on the burden of their past as my own fault. Awesome.
Throughout Volume 2 and Dare to Love, there are many sample dialogues that illustrate the Beyond Consequences method. Did you know that in seven simple sentences, you can get your kid from screaming “go to hell!” to pouring their heart out to you? Sigh. Fairy-tale, rainbow encrusted, trite dialogues that are passed off as being authentic really frustrate me. Can you have a meaningful moment in the midst of difficult behavior? Absolutely. Is it going to take a mere 30 seconds before you can skip off into the sunset singing show-tunes? No. And one meaningful moment isn’t going to change your kid, as is suggested in many of Forbes’ behavior examples. It’s going to be a small, though important, step on a lifelong journey.
To close, here are some summarized reasons to avoid this series:
- They are self-published. Or, rather, they are published by the Beyond Consequences Institute, LLC. Now, I have friends and family who use self-publishing to get their work out on the market. But maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t propagate a “revolutionary” parenting theory that no publisher was willing to pick up. Because lots of publishers publish lots of parenting books, good and bad. There’s a publishing company in Oklahoma that publishes a “Christian” marriage book that includes advice such as “have sex in a department store fitting room and get a boob job to spice up your marriage.” Yes, really. If even that caliber of publisher wouldn’t pick up your book, maybe it’s time to not see yourself as God’s gift to parents.
- Wikipedia is used as a reference, along with many other websites. Wiki-freaking-pedia. If I learned nothing else in college, it was that Wikipedia was never an acceptable citation in the academic world. Oh, and Dare to Love doesn’t even have a reference section.
- Your kid kills the family cat. Your response? “I would apologize to your son, letting him know that you did not help keep him safe while he was with the family cat…Take responsibility for not being able to protect him and let him know he is okay” (Dare to Love, p. 104). What. The. Crap.
- Your kid is cutting herself. Your response? Sit with her while she does it (Volume 2, pp. 85-87). Ew. Icky. Oh, and good luck convincing the police that you were just trying to love your daughter while she bled out. Because getting her professional, psychiatric help from a medical doctor would definitely not be loving.
- Forbes rewrites a Bible verse to fit her theory. Because God’s holy Word wasn’t good enough? I’m going to go ahead and stake my life on the Word of God, not the words of Heather Forbes.
Ok. So. I’m not quite sure how this series has made it into the hands of adoption agencies throughout the country, but I’m definitely going to request that our agency stop recommending it. And now, rant complete, I’m depositing my books in the trash because I can’t justify reselling these to some other poor soul.