Jerry Adams, Ph. D.
By way of introduction, I am a retired child psychologist. As is true for most clinical psychologists, my initial training was with adults. Much of that training focused on adult struggles with unresolved problems begun in childhood and on ways for adults to overcome those struggles. Later on, while learning to work with children, I concluded that helping children to thoroughly master the challenges of childhood could avoid many of the major struggles later in adulthood. As a result, early in my career I chose to specialize in work with children.
In a kind of ironic twist, while working with children in psychotherapy, it became clear that the way I could be most helpful to the most kids was by assisting their parents to be more effective in their efforts to guide and teach their children. After all, as a therapist, I could spend an hour or so a week for a limited number of weeks with each child, while their parents spend many hours of each day with them. In response to this recognition, I reluctantly reduced the rewarding and delightful hours I worked directly with kids and increased the more effective and efficient time I spent guiding their parents toward developing and implementing more effective parenting practices.
Over time I recognized that a good deal of what I was doing with parents was applicable from family to family, so I found myself repeating the same concepts and principles over and over. In response, I developed, and then refined over many years, a systematic approach for parents to teach their children to assume suitable levels of responsibility for their own behavior, in the form of a class for parents which I called “Discipline Without Anger.”
Throughout the years of presenting this class I invested myself in learning from each group of parents what was acceptable and what was not, as well as what worked and what didn’t work for them. I also provided increasingly detailed handouts for parents, as a guide to be used long after the class was over. However, frequently parents suggested, “You should write a book” encompassing the entire approach that could stand on its own either in support of the class or even in place of class attendance. When I retired and had time, I decided to write the book, guided by the hope of capturing my years of experience with hundreds of parents. My first effort, Discipline Without Anger: A Parent’s Guide to Teaching Children Responsible Behavior was the result. Feedback from readers suggested that the book would be more useful with some substantial changes, and with help from several people I went on to write the current book.
To learn more about how I developed the approach described in How to Raise Disciplined and Happy Children, click the button below.