004 – Introduction – Part 3

How My Program Can Help You

The program described in this book will enable you:

  1. To understand basic principles of human behavior relevant to what produces change in it. We will concentrate on the concepts central to how children learn to behave responsibly.
  2. To grasp fully the significant differences between successful parenting practices and those that tend to inadvertently strengthen the very behaviors that most distress parents. You will learn to eliminate advantages to children of their inappropriate behaviors.
  3. To understand the components of a carefully designed proactive program of behavior change for use in your own home.
  4. To develop a list of target behaviors which define changes you want your child to master. You will learn how to select those behaviors you want to change, how to clearly and effectively convey your expectations to your child, and how to make suitable adjustments over time.
  5. To design a system through which your child can meet important needs through responsible behavior, by defining a reward list tailored to your child’s interests and your family’s resources and by establishing a simple way to track successes and provide the rewards.
  6. To create and implement a comprehensive program incorporating all of these elements, specifically tailored to achieve your family’s goals.
  7. To continue teaching your child to behave responsibly by extending your program and your influence into situations where you are not present.
  8. To take calm and effective action on occasions when your child does behave unacceptably, whether at home or away, in a manner that respects all of the principles discussed here and thereby avoids new problems.
  9. To monitor regularly and systematically how successful you are and to adjust your program as needed, based on your judgment of your child’s progress and on changes in your child’s responses to the program.

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It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself.
                                                                                                ~Joyce Maynard

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My intention is for you to understand all this so fully that you will be able to think through challenges in parenting as they arise and to have a clear basis for making whatever modifications become necessary over time. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of seeing parents rapidly master these concepts and practices, and I am confident that you can be just as successful.

This book was undertaken to capture my experience of working with a great many families over many years. To the extent that I have succeeded, the many parents with whom I worked deserve your thanks for their contributions to my understanding of how best to guide children to responsible behavior.

In order to give the concepts more vibrancy, I have included anecdotes throughout this book that illustrate common concerns and experiences of families working with this approach. To maintain the privacy of the families involved, each of these examples has been altered enough to hide actual identities while maintaining what is useful in each.

You have my best wishes for developing the proactive and positive parenting style most likely to get you and your family to your goals and for great joy as you watch your child blossom into a responsible, capable, confident individual who finds equal joy in mastering life’s challenges.


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