I started Raising a Self-Disciplined Child last week and having read several parenting books in the last year , I quickly recognized the book's formula: Lots of anecdotal examples of parents and their parenting dilemmas rounded out by the author's analysis, observations and alternatives. That is not a criticism, just an observation. It seems that the only way to talk about parenting styles is to give parenting examples. The examples seem realistic and plausible.
But so far, what has been of the greatest interest to me, and possibly the most useful, is the concept that discipline is about teaching, not about punishing. In my mind, prescriptive 'rules' for parenting can't and won't work. No one can possibly follow a step by step plan for parenting. Step by step plans about what to do and say and when to do and say them don't take into account the differences in children, parents, cultures and lifestyles and they don't give you any flexibility. They also don't encourage you to listen to your instincts or trust your own judgement. However a concept like thinking of discipline in the context of its meaning as it relates to teaching rather than punishing is a good foundation from which you can work and idea to keep coming back to as you find your way through parenthood.
I also found the questions on page 31 a good basis for discussion, either with yourself or your partner or other parents. I like these kinds of questions because they help you step back from the forest to see the trees. I like the big picture idea. Take every moment and day as it comes, but keep the vision of where you are going in mind. Asking yourself "What kind of person am I hoping to raise my child to be and how is what we are doing today helping to get us there?"
Anyway - those are my thoughts on the book so far. Anyone else have any thing to add? Agree? Disagree?