Parenting read: ‘Before Your Kids Drive You Crazy’ by Nigel Latta

About a year ago I finished this book by New Zeland children’s psychologist. I read it in one day, (which is very unusual for me) and here is some feedback.

I must say, I started reading this book after crashing the remains of my parenting skills against my daughter’s almost constant tantruming. After reading a couple of generic ‘How to cope with tantrums’ articles, I realized that the issue is not that simple. Luckily, I got the title of the book from some commenters.

Nigel Latta is a psychologist from New Zeland, with 2 scientific degrees, more than 20 years of experience, a couple of kids of his own, and a decent sense of humor. His book is full of simple practical advice, tough real life examples and amusing comments. Easy reading. At the same time, the book provides doable techniques for coping with such difficult issues as tantrums, feeding, potty training etc.

Latta built his own parenting system, the core of which is 10 main principles (which in my head generalized into 6 rules):

1. The most important thing is relationships with your kids

2. Kids need and demand attention and will do anything for getting it

3. Any behavior is communication. And our task is to figure out what our kids want to communicate by their behavior

4. Praise good behavior and ignore the bad

5. Kids need boundaries and a consistent system of rules

6. Accept the chaos – it is a natural state, especially with small kids

In his book, Latta teaches how to listen and understand kids, how to identify the problem and solve it.

I won’t lie – I have my doubts regarding some of the methods described in the book. For instance, I’m not big fan of cry-it-out method. In general, Latta bases his system upon the concept of parents dictating rules to kids. Democracy and negotiations only lead to anarchy, degrading and even family collapse.

Being perhaps a too soft Mom, I’m not using some of the toughest advices. But in general, this is one of the best parenting books I’ve read so far. At least, it’s funny and enjoyable to read. So, would definitely recommend it to anyone interested.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: