Professional Review

How to Raise Disciplined and Happy Children
Bernard Salzberg, Ph. D., J. D. – September 19, 2011
Author of The Art of Parenting
5 of 5 Stars
With over 30 years of experience as a parenting coach and child psychologist, Jerry Adams knows what does and does not work.

In How To Raise Disciplined and Happy Children, Dr. Adams skillfully blends theory, practice, anecdotes, and effective answers to the types of real world challenges that frequently cause parental distress, for example, bedtime without a fuss, bickering siblings, lying, stealing, shyness, self-esteem, doing homework, and the inevitable “But all my friends’ parents let them do it.”

This book is a treasure trove of information, both for parents seeking general guidance about raising children and those looking for concrete answers to specific behavior problems. More than just a collection of techniques, How To Raise Disciplined and Happy Children provides parents with a comprehensive approach to parenting that will be useful from infancy through adolescence and into young adulthood. The book presents the practicality and wisdom Dr. Adams gained during his long career of helping parents and children. It embraces his philosophy that a healthy child is more than the mere absence of negative thoughts and actions; rather, a healthy child embodies a reservoir of emotional resources and behaviors which help him/her interact with the world in productive and positive ways.

Children are not born with these abilities, they are learned, and How To Raise Disciplined and Happy Children teaches parents how to guide their children to acquire these skills without resorting to common parental tactics of yelling, bullying, demeaning, and spanking.

However, there is one caveat: parenting takes work, and while the principles taught are simple , their application requires parental effort and commitment. Thus, merely reading and understanding the principles that How To Raise Disciplined and Happy Children teaches will not be enough to give your child the guidance he/she needs. You will need to be an active and involved parent with a plan to guide you, and that is where this book comes in.

My conclusion is simple: Raising children? Buy this book! I give How To Raise Disciplined and Happy Children a five star rating!

Reviews posted on

Convincing strategy to train chileren

By Prakash Acharya — October 2, 2013

I have only read this book so far, but not applied to kids yet but it presents a compelling argument that with positive reinforcement you can train your children to be well behaved, understanding and happy. I will try this with my kid (expecting soon) and update here with a report in a few years.
The best parenting book!

By Gil Hanoch – August 28, 2012

5 of 5 Stars

I read a large number of parenting books, and this is the best parenting book I have ever read. I tend to research at length and perfect all important things in my life, and the approach presented in this book is the best I can think of. The idea behind the approach is simple: feedback reinforces behavior. You probably know that if you praise a child on good behavior, you can reinforce it. But, you may not realize that if you punish a child on bad behavior, you may also reinforce it. If you heard the sentence: “my child would do anything to get my attention”, you get the idea. The book describes in detail a practical way to follow this principle all the way, including one of the toughest parts – avoiding feedback for negative behavior. I believe that this is the most important parenting book you will ever read. The time spent on reading the book is going to be a tiny fraction of the time saved on parenting for the rest of your life. I have used this book successfully in parenting and other relationships with family members and my clients.

When my 5-year old daughter misbehaved, I asked her to go to her room and relax until she feels comfortable and cooperative. I made it clear that it is not a punishment, but just time for herself until she is ready to come back. She was so excited about the mature treatment and the control given to her that she very quickly came out extra nice and loving towards us. Interestingly, sometimes she would spend a few seconds, and once she spent at least half an hour. It felt so good to accept her choices and see her behave so nicely, much more easily and quickly than before. While my younger daughter (2½) understands a lot less, even she behaved better with this attitude.

When talking to my clients, I am less judgmental and focus more on the positive that they do in following my advice. While I can’t be sure about their opinion, I feel that we end the conversations on a more positive note, with more good will on their part.

I found the book so valuable, that I would recommend reading it for every parent and non-parent. I hope and expect this to become part of the high-school curriculum that every person studies. Until then, you are going to be one of the lucky who found this priceless source of information.

Great resource for all families!!

By Mike Adams, M. D. – March 29, 2012

5 of 5 Stars

Well written and user-friendly, this book makes the case for a positive approach to parenting and then gives a useful road map to make it work for any family.

As a physician, I have found this book and the strategies inside it to be helpful for young families who are looking for ways to improve child behavior and bring more order and calm to their lives. Not only do parents and grandparents benefit from this method, but I have seen it help kids feel more confident and comfortable too.

As parents of two young kids, my wife and I try to use these same principles in our parenting and have found them to be very helpful. More importantly, this book gave us an easy-to-follow path to make it work in our own home.

Kudos to the author – it’s a book worth getting for your family and recommending to your friends!

Give it a try!

By Eva-Maria – March 8, 2012

5 of 5 Stars

Having believed as a teacher and later as a parent that rewards for good grades or good behavior were bribes, I am quite taken with the notion of such an organized and thoroughly researched book that suggests using rewards rather than punishment to encourage acceptable behavior.

After reading Psychologist Jerry Adams’s “How to Raise Disciplined and Happy Children”, I find that I could have benefitted from this book as a teacher and a parent. This book gives many examples of annoying behaviors and carefully outlines ways to encourage the desired behavior.

Any parent or teacher struggling to deal with discipline problems could do no better than give this new work a try.

Not So Difficult

By Lee Merton – March 7, 2012

5 of 5 Stars

“How to Raise Disciplined and Happy Children,” a revision and second printing of “Discipline Without Anger,” both written by Psychologist Jerry R. Adams, is a culmination of over twenty years of working with parents who were struggling to deal with disciplining their children. Dr. Adams devised a program and now shares the results of his research and his development of sound methods of working with children in ways that reward them for good/appropriate behavior rather than punishing them for bad/inappropriate behavior.

It would be simplistic to conclude that the answer to disciplining children is to reward them when they are good. The author works out a detailed and thorough plan to help children understand that there are consequences for misbehavior but that punishment is not one of the consequences. Indeed, even the common “time out” is treated as a method only if it is explained and tied to a contract between the child and the parent.

After setting out a description and explanation of what discipline means and after discussing the reality of the power struggles that occur regularly between children and adults, the author explains the power of positive reinforcement.

The book, in fact, is in a sense a workbook that lays out steps to develop home programs that are really a contract between the child and the parents with appropriate behavior defined and the rewards delineated. The author explains in detail how to monitor and manage the home program without becoming overwhelmed or discouraged. Like any how-to program, this one requires making a commitment and sticking with it. To illustrate the positive reactions and possible successes from following the author’s program, he includes a section of actual cases with which he has worked.

There are, of course, numerous books on the market that deal with being a parent, raising children, but anyone hoping for an easy way, a way without conflicts and setbacks, will find the search difficult indeed. Here, at least, is one method that is clearly and thoroughly laid out so that, ultimately, raising your child to be both disciplined and happy may not be so difficult after all.

Great advice to raise great kids!

By Gary Kent “Realtor” – February 16, 2012

5 of 5 Stars

Author seems very knowledgable. Got some great advice that I look forward to using with my young adult children. Thank you!

Good to read, good for gifts, too!

By Don Newton – December 8, 2011

5 of 5 Stars

Shopping for Christmas gifts this year has been easy for me as far as choosing gifts for the many young parents that I know! Earlier this year, my sister gave me the idea that she was buying the book, How To Raise Disciplined and Happy Children by Dr. Jerry Adams, for baby shower gifts. I did that twice already this year myself, but then decided I would continue with that idea, and am giving this book as Christmas gifts—-the gift that can go on giving and loving, all year long!

My daughter has been using this book since the original copies first came out—and she’s very happy with the things that she has tried. It’s amazing how much she was able to apply in her teaching of her two year old, who is now four, and happily learning things that help her to make right choices. Obeying has become a fun and important thing for her and the simple rewards have really kept her focused. The “rewards” are often as simple as spending extra time with daddy, having a graham cracker for a treat, or having two books read at bedtime, instead of one! It’s also been exciting to see her trying to share some of this that she’s learned with her little sister now!

I can’t say enough good things about what I’m seeing! P.S. I have a copy being shipped to Uganda to an orphanage where gifts of all kinds are needed—and parenting books were requested, as well. I really hope that this book will be a great asset to the staff of people who are trying to make a huge difference in lives of children of all ages!!


By Makalia Luburd – December 7, 2011

5 of 5 Stars

This was a wonderful, refreshing and enhancing book! Thank you for writing such positive literature that any parent can benefit from . . .

A must read for any parent!

By Bettina – December 5, 2011

5 of 5 Stars

Being a parent is tough, and unfortunately we don’t get a manual that tells us what to do when our children are born. But books such as this one are the next best thing. I’ve have struggled – and continue to struggle – disciplining both my daughter (who is almost 16!) and my son (just 11). After having read this book I have found myself, like another reviewer, going back to this book and using it as a reference guide when I find myself stuck or needing a reminder about ways to approach certain situations. I especially love the real life  example questions and answers. Not only do they provide good suggestions, but they also help to reinforce that as parents we aren’t alone in the various situations we encounter with our kids. I would encourage any parent to buy this book, read it, and then keep it handy as a reference guide to refer back to often.

The most important fundamentals for Step-fathers out there

By Bret – October 8, 2011

5 of 5 Stars

Being a first time Dad I struggled with how to have a great relationship with my step-son and balance discipline with fun. Jerry Adams describes principles and a format for a simple proven program that anyone can follow that gets great results. Now I know exactly what to do and say to guide and motivate my son and  we are well on our way to having a great relationship. I am thrilled to know that I’m doing what I need to help set up my son for success in life.

Great Book!

By Fr. Joshua A. Resnick – August 26, 2011

5 of 5 Stars

I have read this book 2 or 3 times and am constantly referring to it. I have found so many of the ideas helpful. This book gives a positive approach that one can easily apply to a wide variety of parenting situations. I find that the ideas in this book help me to work together with my child rather than argue with  her so much. Even though it’s a positive approach, this book does not recommend hands-off parenting. It urges the parent to be the parent, which I very much appreciate. Also, the ideas apply to children of any age–up through high school. I think every parent could benefit from this book. A big thanks to the author!

You gotta get this book for your child’s sake, and yours!

Jim Dudl, M.D. – June 22, 2011

5 of 5 Stars

It’s so easy to just punish. All I did was what my dad did to me. And got rid of a lot of anger. Unfortunately it just reinforced doing what I wanted my son to stop.

The principles in this book really gave me the secrets of changing myself to do the exact opposite of punish: catch him doing what I wanted him to do and reward it. I was amazed how changing myself produced the ood behavior that I wanted in the first place.

If you do nothing else, try this now.  In a few weeks see if it isn’t one of the best tools for you to use not just with your kids but others, and if it doesn’t also help your children too. It’s a  true win-win!

If you were not raised doing positive reinforcement its not your fault. But only you can break the negative cycle. Don’t you owe it to your kids and yourself to invest your time in a a way that will pay back the rest of your lives?

Thanks to the author. This made a difference.

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