Unlike many parents, Dr. Joseph R. Novello doesn't belong to the school that believes children get up in the morning plotting how they're going to wreck Mom and Dad's day.
He doesn't classify himself as a hard-liner."But I'm not a softy either," the Georgetown University Medical School child psychiatrist said. "I believe that someone has to be in charge of a family. I believe that `someone' should be a parent - not a tyrannical child."
If those words are music to your ears, you'll probably want to hear Novello's speech Nov. 18 at Sen. Orrin Hatch's Utah Women's Conference, "Discovering the Diversity and Unity of Women.
In Novello's new 357-page book, "How to Survive Your Kids - From Prebirth to Preteen," he covers such topics as smoking during pregnancy, infant depression, breast-feeding, intelligence, working parents, bed-wetting, the effects of TV, and the pros and cons of adoption.
Novello readily admits his isn't the first self-help parenting guide.
He said there are so many books on "how to parent" that parents have become confused as to which is the most effective method to rear their children.
He offers an easy solution.
"When it comes to communicating values to children, no one should take the place of parents," Novello said in a telephone interview. "Parents, therefore, should seek authors whose philosophies and value systems are similar to their own."
Also examine the author's expertise, he urged. Ask if he qualifies as an expert in child development and pediatrics.
Novello, an associate professor of pediatrics who has a weekly advice column for parents in Woman's World Magazine, has also written "Bringing Up Kids American Style."
It is a guide to helping children tolerate differences of others, show grace in victory and defeat, and maximize their potential.
The self-stated goal of Novello's new book is to help parents work themselves out of a job. "The game plan is to gradually turn over the responsibility to the child," he said.