Shure, Myrna B. and Roberta Israeloff. Raising a Thinking Preteen: The “I Can Problem Solve” Program for 8- to 12- Year-Olds. Holt, 2001. ISBN 978-0805066425 272 pp. $19.99
Developmental psychologist Shure shares her method of encouraging kids to think for themselves, by learning and mastering a specific set of skills to become good problem solvers, make good decisions, and resolve conflict. Chapters discuss the wrong ways of parenting (explaining, suggesting, and overpowering) and recommends parents try the problem solving approach. Shure offers games to play to develop skills in such as thinking about how other people are feeling, recognizing conflicting emotion, planning alternative solutions, planning in a sequence, and considering consequences. A quiz at the end offers additional ways to test and hone these skills.
At the beginning, Shute states that children must learn pro-social behaviors. Social withdrawal is not something one outgrows, and encourages adults to draw out the wallflower, loner types. Parental involvement is key.
Examples were always very clear, but sometimes the answers seemed too perfect. Not every child is a textbook case. Most of the book focuses on three different children, and more cases or different types of children might have been included. Still the premise is good, modeling behavior is recommended, and the techniques appear to work.
All of the studies she cites are 13-18 years old, a point of concern, and the book loses a bit of credibility. However, the ICPS method is supposed to very good for kids with ADHD, a current hot topic. Updated research would lend more authority to the work. She frequently makes reference to colleagues with giving much explanation of their work, a minor frustration. References are cited at the end in a bibliography oddly divided by chapter, but without numbered or detailed notes. The author kindly includes her own mailing address, email address and URL for questions, concern and feedback.
Not having any children of my own to test Shure’s theories out on, I hope to put them to use in dealing with some of the young adults I work with. Frustrated parents may find this book works for them; stock it in your parent teacher section.