The One Minute Father

The One Minute Father


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The One Minute Father is the seminal One Minute book. A man who sees that he has been a better provider than parent learns by trial and error how to be more nurturing. He first learns a more effective way to discipline -- applying One Minute Reprimands. Then his children help him discover two even more important parenting methods -- One Minute Praisings and One Minute Goals. Using these practical methods, a father develops more confidence in himself as a parent, as he and his children enjoy a happier family life. The One Minute Father begins where most fathers are and takes them to where they want to be.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780688144050
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/16/1995
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 450,383
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.28(d)

About the Author

Spencer Johnson, MD, is one of the most admired thought leaders and widely read authors in the world. His books, including the #1 bestseller Who Moved My Cheese?, are embedded in our language and culture. Called "The King of Parables" by USA Today, Dr. Johnson is often referred to as the best there is at taking complex subjects and presenting simple solutions that work. His brief books contain insights and practical tools that millions of people use to enjoy more happiness and success with less stress. Over 50 million copies of Spencer Johnson's books are in use worldwide in 47 languages.

Date of Birth:

January 1, 1940

Place of Birth:

South Dakota


B.A. in psychology, University of Southern California, 1963; M.D., Royal College of Surgeons

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Search

One day a successful man saw that he was lost-and had been for some time. He began at once to look for an answer to a problem he had never even realized he had.

It began soon after the sudden death of his wife. He was left alone with his five children.

He and his wife had both tried as well as they knew how to raise their children with love and discipline. They did, basically, what they had seen their parents do.

The man never realized, however, how difficult parenting was on a day-in and day-out basisand how much his wife had assumed that responsibility.

He was beginning to understand what she had been trying to tell him.

Now the more time The Father spent around his children, the more he realized how unaware he had been. He remembered how often his wife had said that she was frustrated because she felt the situation with the children was getting worse. But he never wanted to acknowledge the problem.

The man now saw how challenging her task had been. He knew now that it would have been better if they had mutually supported each other in the raising of their children.

The man then began to look at his children's behavior-undisguised by their mother's peacekeeping and nurturing ways.

He wondered how often she had simply been trying to protect him from his children's misbehavior. Or was it they who had been protected from him?

The more he saw for himself, the more he realized how unruly his children were; how unappreciative they seemed of all that he and their mother had done. And what was that look in their eyes-their own confusion?

He knew he had started hisfamily later in life than most men-he'd been so busy. But was he that much out of touch with the younger generation?

Were all children this way? How and when did his children get this way?

As time went by, The Father began to see the beginnings of serious problems in his family-the kind he had only read about-and always, of course, in other families.

For the first time, he began to be disturbed by the news reports on television and in the newspapers. He didn't want to think about the things he knew were happening elsewhere: the increasing incidence of juvenile drug use, vandalism, illegitimacy, delinquency-even violent crime and suicide. It was too disquieting.

He tried to block it all out of his mind. But when he saw his own children staying away from home a little longer, a little more often, he thought about the increasing problem of juvenile runaways.

He allowed himself for a moment to realize that families everywhere were experiencing the personal pain behind the impersonal statistics.

The man loved his children. He decided to do something about it.

But what? What would he do first?

The once unaware man now looked at his family with new eyes. Then he saw what he hoped was the answer.

"I have not held my children accountable," he thought. "They get away with a great deal. And that is not good for them-or for me.

"What my children need is more discipline!" he decided. And the man was right. His children did need more discipline. And so he began to discipline them more-the best way he knew how.

At first the man did more of what his parents had done. Whenever his children misbehaved, he either grounded them, threatened them, sent them to their rooms, removed their privileges, or spanked them.

But he did not get the results he wanted.

So he disciplined them even more-doing more of what he had already done. He was exhausting himself, but his children's behavior improved temporarily.

Their attitudes, however, did not. They grew more obedient on the outside but more resentful on the inside.

The man could feel the tension in his home. He was becoming frustrated. It seemed as if the harder he tried, the worse the situation became.

He knew that he did not know what to do. However, The Father had been in this situation in other areas of his life and he had always found a successful answer. So he did what-had worked for him so many times before.

He looked for someone who knew.

The man introduced himself to the physician who had just poured him a cup of coffee. He explained, "I don't know why I can't run my family as well as I run some of the other aspects of my life."

The physician, who specialized in family behavior, said, "I know what you must be feeling."

Then he quietly asked, "Why do you think you have to 'run' your family?"

The man paused and listened. He hadn't thought of that before. He assumed that it was his responsibility. As he listened-especially to himself-he began to learn.

"Which do you think would be easier on you," the man was asked, "to run your children's lives or to have them successfully run their own lives?"

"Now that you ask, I guess I'd like them to be able to decide wisely what is right for them. I want what all parents want. I'd like my children to be happy and to grow up to become the kind of people they would like to be."

"What is your biggest problem now?" the physician continued.

"Discipline!" he answered. "I can't even get them to behave for me, let alone be happy."

"Behave for you?" the physician asked.

"OK, OK," the man said with his hands raised in mock surrender, "for themselves."

The man introduced himself to the physician who had just poured him a cup of coffee. He explained, "I don't know why I can't run my family as well as I run some of the other aspects of my life."

The physician, who specialized in family behavior, said, "I know what you must be feeling."

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One Minute Father 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book because of it's presentation of difficult concepts in a simplified manner, especially for those parents with younger children. The author has enhanced my journey to strive to be a better father. Having grown up in a completely dysfunctional family and having an incomplete repertoire of emotional experiences and in the midst of a separation/divorce, I have had a difficult time working with my adolescent boys in the past couple of years. This book provided me with the general answers that I needed for short-term fixes, regarding discipline and restoring respect for one another. It is not a 'fix-all, cure-all' book, but it is encouraging. While employing it's concepts, you must have complete follow-through and provide consistency, consistency, consistency....