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Books about positive discipline

Reviews of books that teach you how to discipline your child or teenager in a positive manner

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Click here to register for your free ClubMom membershipWhen Little Kids Curse

By Jenifer Whitten Woodring

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. Unless they come from the mouths of babes—my babes, that is. I'll never forget when my son, Patrick, then a darling two-year-old with angelic curls and adorable blue eyes, began saying, "Damn it, Mommy!" with both feeling and enunciation. How could I teach a toddler who was just learning to talk that some words are better left unsaid?

Preschoolers have an uncanny ability to pick up words—all words—that they hear. In my case, I must admit, Patrick probably heard it from his parents. And what kids pick up on TV, on the playground, in the store, or at child care is bound to stick. Eventually, your angel is going to utter something downright demonic, no matter how much you try to shield him.

Your little one's first cussing episode may seem funny at first, but don't laugh. "Swearing can get them into big trouble when they go to school. It's better to teach them now so they don't have to suffer the consequences later," advises Kathy Burklow, a psychologist at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Curbing a Cusser

While there are many ways parents can help children avoid bad language, there is no substitute for avoiding it yourself. James O'Connor, the author of Cuss Control (Three Rivers Press), suggests trying alternative exclamations like shoot, blast it, nuts, phooey, for crying out loud, and dagnabit. Silly terms—malarkey, balderdash, hogwash—will get your kids to laugh, making them more likely to want to imitate them.

Most children under three won't comprehend that certain words are unacceptable. Often, ignoring the offense may be the best defense when dealing with the very young. But after their third birthday, they're more likely to understand that some words are naughty. So take action. "Get down on your knees, look your child directly in the eye, and tell him, 'That's a word that we don't use in our family,'" recommends Linda Metcalf, the author of Parenting Toward Solutions (Prentice Hall). "Make the words—not the child—the culprit to give him a chance to move away from the behavior."

If your child persists in using such language, show him you mean business with disciplinary action. For a four-year-old, that may mean calling a short time-out or taking away a favorite toy. Kids a little older may benefit from time spent in their rooms.

Fortunately, Patrick's transgression turned out to be an easy fix: We convinced him to substitute the more acceptable "darn it." It didn't take long for him to start correcting adults who failed to use this alternative.

Writer Jenifer Whitten Woodring has two children and lives in Pennsylvania.

Copyright © 1999-2004 ClubMom, Inc. All rights reserved.

Backtalk: 4 Steps to Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids
by Audrey Ricker, Carolyn Crowder (Ph.D.)

A Great Help!
Reviewer: Dale A. Blanchard

   If you have young children (under 14) who 'talk back' to you, you may find this book to be of some help in undoing what can feel like a hopeless battle. My own 9-year old began talking back when he got into first grade, picking up snappy statements from TV and peers. I tried to excuse it at first as just the way modern kids talk to modern parents (I have offspring as old as 32, all boys, who never talked back this way).
After deciding this really was unacceptable behavior, and recognizing that left unattended it was getting worse, I started taking steps to stop it. This book has been one of the aids (not the solution). It doesn't expect the parent to make a friend or equal of the child (rationalize, debate, etc.), but it also doesn't encourage setting up a dictatorship. As with many things, the solution to problems is sometimes in the difficult to maintain moderation arena, which actually requires more work by the parent.

   I like this book because it worked - despite being difficult to do at first, once the child gets the message, repeat performances are rare and easy to stop. The book itself is short and to the point, with just four simple steps to follow. They are common sense - I suspect most of us who have this problem will recognize them - but busy, often-stressed parents will appreciate the gentle support and reminders this book offers.

1) Recognize what is and isn't backtalk. (if it hurts, embarrasses, annoys you, its backtalk. If the child is just relaying his feelings about something, its an opinion) 2) Choose an appropriate consequence (unlike 'punishment', a consequence is a result that makes sense to the child) 3) Enact the consequence 4) Disengage from the struggle with the backtalker (don't take it personally, or you're doomed).

   Sounds so simple you want to click the "this review wasn't helpful button?" It IS simple -- so simple we forget, so simple it seems to good to be true. The hard parts of these steps are #3 and #4. No book can give you the solution, but books can offer help and reminders.

   There are details in the book that I still find helpful -- the backtalk has pretty much stopped -- all I have to do is remind my son now that "backtalk isn't allowed" and he immediately stops.

   In addition, there are short chapters for backtalk from Adult Children (!), from Children in College, for Single Parents specifically, and Backtalk in the Media. There is a bit of information on support groups and other resources (not a lot), plus ideas on starting your own support group, as well as a chapter dedicated to responding to people who disagree with the methods in this book.

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Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, Energetic
by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

"Raising Your Spirited Child" could save your sanity!
Reviewer: An Customer

   Does your child resist going new places, refuse to wear a coat when it's freezing outside, and fall apart at the slightest change in plans? My son does, and for the longest time I thought I must be doing something wrong. Fortunately, I found this wonderful book and it saved my sanity (if not my life)! Raising Your Spirited Child will help you understand that your child's behavior has little to do with you; it's just the way he/she is. Rather than trying to "change" your child, you will learn techniques to respond constructively to your child's intense reactions and how to work through difficult situations together. After awhile you'll begin to predict your child's response to a particular situation, know how to prepare him/her (and yourself) for what's about to happen, and maybe even circumvent disaster! I first read this book about five years ago when my son was in preschool; I recently re-read the book and it is just as relevant for my eight-year-old as it was when he was younger. Raising Your Spirited Child is a favorite book to loan to friends; I have even recommended it to my child's teachers!



Disciplining Your Preschooler and Feeling Good About It
by Susan K. Golant, Mitch Golant , Ph.D.

Wonderful guidance
Reviewer: A reader from Michigan

  I found this book to be extremely helpful; I first read it when my child was two, and have referred to it often in the ensuing preschool years. Some friends of ours recently had a baby, and the mother-to-be pulled me aside and said, 'your daughter is so well-behaved, and you seem to say all the right things to her, and handle misbehavior so well. I want to know your secrets!" I was flattered, and gave her a copy of this book.

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Discipline Without Shouting or Spanking:
Practical Solutions to the Most Common Preschool Behavior Problems
by Jerry Wychoff, Barbara Undell

A Toddler Owner's Manual!
Reviewer: A reader

   "Discipline" offers practical advice on how to solve a variety of authors tell you *what to say*, *what to do* and *what not to do*. In a genre dominated by philosophical meandering, this book is an oasis of solutions. It is the Owner's Manual that parents never get with their two year old. Finally, someone took the terrible out of the two's!

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Parenting the Strong-Willed Child, Revised and Updated Edition:
The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two- to Six-Year-Olds
by Rex L. Forehand, Nicholas Long

It works!
Reviewer: M.Dewey from Vermilion, Ohio United States

  I bought this book 2 years ago when my child was 2 and saw immediate positive change in my child after only the first two weeks, unfortunately this prompted me to abandon the rest of the book. Two years later, I have found myself stressed and screaming and ready to pull my hair out again! I stumbled across this book again, as if by fate( I had been looking for something else). I decided to read this book and follow to the end. I am telling you if you're child is truly strong willed this book will work, but you have to be willing to put in the time and effort. My child was a negative attention hog. He is learning that positive attention is good, and he gets no attention for negative (nondestructive) behavior. I followed a lot of advice from family in the beginning but I had felt it made things worse. I always believed that if I ignored some of his bad behavior it would go away, but family made me feel otherwise. Have faith in yourself and your intuitions about your child. This book has helped quite a bit, now the true test is to continue on indefinitely.

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Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child : Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries
by Robert J. MacKenzie Ed.D.

I recommend this book to all parents
Reviewer: A reader from Rochester, NY United States

   This is not rocket science, but really practical, basic information about your child's temperment, your discipline style, and how to adjust the latter to work well with the former. I found it VERY useful. My son is definitely strong-willed, and adopting the methods in this book has made my child more responsive to my requests and has made me far more relaxed about parenting and discipline. This book is useful even if your child is not intensely strong-willed - the book teaches good discipline techniques which apply regardless of your child's temperment.



1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12
by Thomas W. Phelan Ph.D.

I wish I had read this book months ago!
Reviewer: A reader from Northern Virginia, USA

  We had tried everything to try and show our 3 year old son who is in charge. We couldn't go to restaurants (or almost and public place for that matter) without it ending in a meltdown and being bitten, pinched and hit by our son. Even at home if he didn't get his way he would bite/hit/pinch/scream. We agreed not to spank, but found ourselves yelling often. Many days I ended up in tears. My son's preschool teacher recommended this book. I stayed up almost all night one night reading it, and put it into action. It has changed everything! Not only does the counting method really work (I had sort of used my own counting before, but I wasn't following the "no talking no emotions" rule), but we just feel more in charge and in control, which our son seems to sense and respond to. He is much better behaved all the way around, but if he does have a meltdown it is gone right after "that's two". I can't believe what a difference this has made in my house!

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Whining : 3 Steps to Stop It Before the Tears and Tantrums Start
by Audrey Ricker, Audrey Ricker

A Must Have Book for Parents
Reviewer: Gina Campellone (Vernon, CT)

   I always believed that I had the most wonderfully behaved child in the world, and I patted myself on the back for being such a wise parent ... AND THEN MY SON TURNED FOUR! In my quest for a solution to the whining and antics of my preschooler I have read countless books on parenting and positive discipline. But none can compare to Whining: Three Steps to Stopping it Before the Tears and Tantrums Start. The information in this book is concise and practical. The techniques described (yes, there really are just three steps) are easy to understand and easy to implement. The book is short enough in length so as not to intimidate an already overwhelmed parent. I devoured it hungrily in one sitting, then read it again more slowly. In short, this book makes a lot of sense. My husband and I began using the three steps and noticed a significant improvement in our son's behavior almost immediately. Whining ... is an excellent resource to parents and anyone who works with children (or whiny adults, for that matter!)

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How To Behave So Your Children Will, Too!
VHS video - 2 tapes

This Video rated "G" for GREAT!
Reviewer: Julia P. from Charlotte, NC USA

   My 2 1/2 year old daughter was going through the terrible two's and dealing with the arrival of a new sibling all at the same time. Additionally her father traveled and the coming and going had her attempting to make him feel guilty by manipulation. With the stress/temper levels on the rise I decided to order the "How To Behave" parenting video so that my husband and I could jointly watch it .

   We would stop it after one hour and discuss what we had just seen. We then could discuss our toddler's negative behaviors and how we would both use the information from the video to consistenly and jointly apply loving discipline and teach her the right way to do things.

  WOW! The information was very well delivered and plentiful with examples of "How To's" .It really left no unturned stone in how to work with my child to help her and our family lead a more respectful and happier life.

  The best part is that after about one week of consistency we had GREAT results.



Handling Sibling Rivalry, Anger, and Temper Tantrums Effectively
VHS Video

No review available at this time

  • Director: Holly Tinsley

  • Format: Color, Full Screen

  • Rated: NR

Video Release Date: November 6, 1996

Color, Full Screen Sales Rank (VHS): 3,006



Preschooler Discipline: Making it a Positive Experience (1996)

Format: Color, Full Screen

Rated: NR
Studio: (studio name not provided)
Video Release Date: November 3, 1996
VHS Features:
NTSC format
Color, Full Screen

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