Book Review – Kids Who Outwit Adults

 By: John R. Seita/Larry K. Brendtro

Disclaimer: This book review is my opinion of the book. If you have a different opinion of the book that is great. I know I have loved several movies and books that other reviewers have not liked and disliked movies and books that receive great reviews. I think we all have. If you would like to submit your own review, I may consider posting it. Otherwise feel free to share you reviews on the Forum. Thanks.

“Kids Who Outwit Adults” is my official introduction to “Positive Youth Development” the jist of which is rather than trying to control children and change their behavior you work to build a relationship with them and enlist their expertise about themselves to develop strategies for positive change.  It also focuses on recognizing the strengths of the child and building upon that, rather than looking at the negative behaviors and trying to change them.  In other words it is basically what I have always believed – Care about and build relationships with the children in your care and it will be much easier to bring about positive behaviors.

I think this is an excellent book and would be a good read for anybody working with or caring for youth in foster care or residential placement and everybody that might want to.  It is light on technique but very heavy on philosophy and theory and would be very helpful to build your foundation.  I wish it would have been available 11+ years ago when I became a houseparent.

It is also very good at relaying the perspective of youth in care.  The author – John Seita spent the majority of his youth in foster and residential care and brings first hand knowledge about the experiences of a youth in care and the things that make a difference in their lives.  The book also includes stories and insight from many other children that have been in placement and some of the techniques, both positive and negative, they have used to cope with their situation.

I highly recommend it for every program director looking to develop a program or looking for more positive things to incorporate into their program.  I also recommend it for all care providers and highly suggest you incorporate it into the care you provide.

The book is published by Solution Tree, Bloomington, IN.  Copyright 2005.  It is only available in soft cover and  is 147 pages long, though it is actually about 110 pages worth of reading. 

Click here for more information about this book at

I also have two other books on the same subject that I am reading: “Reclaiming Our Prodigal Sons and Daughters” and “no disposable KIDS”.  Check back for their reviews later.

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