Table of Contents

Table of Contents



The introduction sets the stage for the rest of the book by identifying for whom it was written and by outlining what the reader will learn.

The Goal of this Book

How My Program Can Help You

Chapter 1        Parental Disciplinary Practices and the Ways Children Learn

This chapter discusses serious limitations to common approaches to discipline, including the many counter-productive aspects of punishment. It highlights the various ways that children learn and how you as parents can use your understanding of how children respond to choose an effective approach. It then presents the framework for a comprehensive and coordinated approach to teaching children to behave responsibly.


What Parents Say About Disciplining Their Children

Things We Know About Punishment

Ways Children Learn

Toward Establishing More Effective Discipline

Chapter 2        Power Struggles, Discipline, and Responsible Behavior

Chapter 2 recognizes the self-defeating results of power struggles between you and your children and describes what drives these destructive interactions, including the fearfulness that often underlies a child’s challenging behavior. And it prepares you for a constructive alternative that reduces any anxiety your child may experience, while ensuring harmonious parent-child interactions.

Observations on How Control Struggles Develop

The Way the Process Works

Resolving Power Struggles and Overall Discipline

Chapter 3        Exploit the Power of Positive Reinforcement

This chapter establishes the foundation for a structured proactive program focused on eliminating advantages to your children of their inappropriate behavior while assuring that they can meet their important needs by behaving responsibly. It also describes how you can eliminate already established inappropriate behavior without giving undue attention to inappropriate behavior.

Developmental Factors and the Learning Process

A Strategy for Constructive Discipline

Putting it Together: Summary of the Basic Rationale

Chapter 4        Three Steps to Develop a Custom-Made Home Program

Chapter 4 describes how to develop and operate a proactive home program to meet your family’s specific needs. It spells out how to specify for your children the exact behavior you expect and how to avoid potential pitfalls that can undermine your program. Next it details how to establish a simple but powerful reinforcement program that makes it good for your child to comply with your expectations. Finally, the chapter discusses how to operate and monitor the program, using a simple behavioral chart and a brief but powerful daily reviews to assure ongoing constructive focus by all.

Step 1: Specify Your Expectations to Your Child

Step 2: Help Your child want to do what you Expect

Step 3: Build Your Program into Your Family Life

Chapter 5        Challenges in Developing a Home Program

To assist you in implementing the steps for constructing and implementing the home program discussed in Chapter 4, Chapter 5 presents a series of relevant questions from other parents about challenges arising in their homes.  Illustrative examples are provided for each step.

Step 1: Challenges in Specifying Expectations

Step 2: Challenges in Establishing a Reward System

Step 3: Challenges in Managing a Home Program

Chapter 6        Maintain the Program while Your Child Is Away from You

Chapter 6 describes how you can influence your children even while you are away from them, with specific attention to while they are at school.

Step 1: Create a Partnership with the Teacher

Step 2: Develop Shared Expectations

Step 3: Develop a School Behavior Chart

Step 4: Establish Operating Procedures for School

Chapter 7        How to Reduce Inappropriate Behavior

Since even the most compliant child sometimes misbehaves, Chapter 7 describes how to intervene without giving undue attention to unacceptable behavior. Since this powerful tool is so often misused, the pitfalls to avoid and the rationale for effective use of it are carefully discussed. Further, applications of the technique outside the home, specifically while at a sit-down restaurant, shopping, and in the car are discussed in detail.

Misconceptions about A Powerful Tool

How to Apply Time-out In Your Home

How to Apply Time-out Outside Your Home

Chapter 8        Monitor, Maintain, and Adjust Your Home Program

To assure long-term effectiveness, Chapter 8 discusses how to monitor and adjust the home program in response to faltering progress, to the child’s mastery of behaviors, and to changing circumstances. Included are how to review, assess, and adjust the program. The chapter also includes a section on troubleshooting for times when the program appears stagnant.

Review Progress and Adjust Your Program

Adjust Your Program to Changing Circumstances

Troubleshoot Your Program

Chapter 9        Actual Families, Actual Challenges

To further full mastery of this material, this last chapter presents a series of vignettes taken from my clinical work. Each addresses a question about how to manage specific aspects of developing, implementing, and operating a structured home program. My responses are intended both to address the specific questions raised and to illustrate how I think through the answers, to further your capacity to flexibly and effectively tailor the approach to your own family’s characteristics and needs.

Rewards or Bribery?

Learned Helplessness?

Focus on Self-initiated Responsibility

Managing Parental Stress

Managing Sibling Conflict

Differing Parental Expectations

When Saying “No” is too Difficult

When Your Child “Quits” the Program

Assisting a Child with Attention Deficit Disorder

Your Program and Children of Divorce

A Program for Parents, Too


The three appendices are included to provide you with sample materials to support your efforts to build and operate your own home program. Each is explained at the beginning of the page.

Appendix 1            Identify Target Behaviors

Appendix 2            Blank Home Behavior Chart

Appendix 3            Sample Prize Game Board – Pre-Reading Age Child

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