This book is surely one of the classics of the parenting genre. First published in 1984 (when the author admits he was not himself a father, although was working as a family therapist), it has become one of the best selling parenting books in the English language. Why has this book become such a favourite amongst the plethora of parenting books on the market?
Firstly, unlike so many parenting books it is almost completely jargon free - pretty good for a therapist. The chapters have titles like 'Family Shape' and 'Kids and Emotion'. There is no 'shrink-speak', the language is aimed at normal people, not those who are self-help book junkies. Biddulph is British-born and resident in Australia, so the book is written to appeal to the sensibilities of both those nations. We are 'mum' and 'dad', not 'mom' and 'pop' in this book. Yet the book still has an international outlook, and reading it you do feel that he speaks to the whole world.
The next important thing is that it is written in a really entertaining style. You can sit down and read this book for enjoyment. It is no dry, dusty text book. There are laugh-out-loud funny bits, gentle chuckles and heart-warming anecdotes. The book throughout packs the information into such a good, entertaining read that you are almost unaware that you are being educated.
The book starts by explaining how our actions affect our children, what children want from their parents and how to listen to your child. It discusses what a family really is, how kids change as they get older and how to survive being a parent. There is also advice for many of the people other than parents who deal with children.
The books popularity may also be because of its great title (who doesn't like to know a secret?) The information is not exactly a secret, but Steve Biddulph presents it so much better than the others.