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Honey, I Wrecked the Kids: When Yelling, Screaming, Threats, Bribes, Time-outs, Sticker Charts and Removing Privileges All Don't Work Paperback – February 9, 2009

25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover



If you have a "discipline-resistant" child, then you already know that the old standby parenting tactics just don't work on this modern era kid. Naughty mats, counting, time-outs, removing privileges…all the things that seemed to work just fine on other kids are actually making things worse with this one.

"Sometime between removing the door to stop him from slamming it and pushing his shelf into the hall so he couldn't chuck storybooks at me when I sent him to his room, I thought to myself−this is crazy. We can't go on forever disassembling the house. I need help!"

—Shirley, mother of two

Psychotherapist, bestselling author and nationally sought-after parenting expert Alyson Schaefer finally provides what perplexed parents everywhere have been waiting for: the blueprint to understanding−and correcting−misbehavior. This isn't an assertiveness course for permissive parenting, and it's not a PR makeover for our autocratic, punishing methods. With her characteristic blend of outrageous humor and uncanny insight (yes, she does peer into your living rooms at night), Alyson will show you how to diagnose and reverse the root cause of all misbehavior (even the most baffling) so that you can rediscover the joy of parenting your kids. Sound too good to be true? Start reading.

About the Author

Alyson Schafer, M.A. Counseling, B.Sc., OACCPP

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of the nation's leading parenting experts. She's the author of the bestselling Breaking the Good Mom Myth (Wiley, 2006) and host of The Parenting Show. The media relies on Alyson's comments and opinions; she has appeared on The Montel Williams Show, The National, BTV, and you can find her interviewed and quoted extensively in countless publications including Today's Parent, Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest and Chatelaine.

Visit her online at


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley and Sons; 1st edition (February 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470156031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470156032
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Sid on March 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
UPDATE: Been using the techniques in this book for about a year now. My son is 4.5 and really testing limits. Everytime we're stuck in a power struggle, or he's just acting cranky or becomes tearful, frustrated, or oppositional for reasons I can't understand, I go back to this book and reassess what's going on. Then try again. The strategies work. 9 times out of 10. The only child development/ parenting book I refer to regularly.

Clear, logical, effective. Easy to read. Well laid out. No kidding. This is a book you'll go back to over and over again. I had no idea how freeing it would be to focus on the interactions in our family and step back from defining and understand my son (as a "spirited" kid etc etc) until I opened Alyson Schafer's book and read through the introduction.

I've got advanced degrees and have worked in education, including special education for years. And I've trained other teachers and professionals who work with kids with language development problems, including autistic and kids with severe behavior problems. I'm very familiar with all sorts of behavioral approaches, tokens, charts, reinforcement schedules, behavior plans, etc etc etc. But in my gut I've never been 100% comfortable with these approaches because I knew their effect is limited. They only deal with the surface. In fact, I don't use stickers or other sorts of reward systems or charts at home (although I tried them with potty training, to no avail when the novelty wore off). Real change in behavior goes much deeper. It really does come from within the individual. It's based on a sense of satisfaction that comes from warm, respectful relationships with others and a sense of pride and capability in oneself.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Random Amazon Consumer on March 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book when my wife and I had become completely frustrated with what we perceived as rebellious and stubborn behavior in our 9-year-old son. We really thought that we had "wrecked" him in some way dispute all our friends constantly telling us what great parents we are and what an amazing little boy we had.

If the book taught me anything that stuck, it's that my kid isn't so bad. I give him much more slack and try to be more diplomatic with him. As a result, my son is always smiling and singing and dancing around. He hates doing homework, but makes sure to get it all done before moving onto play time. He's responsible and compassionate and smart.

None of that, it turns out, is a result of reading this book. He's been that all along. The book helped me to put in perspective our expectations of him. It taught me to respect his boundaries a bit more and think more diplomatically about how I address him and explain my expectations to him.

I give it four stars because the book provided comfort to my wife and me when we were at our wits end. It didn't change our lives though. It's well written and easy to grasp. I just think the concepts in it are too much like a "hippy commune" mentality that seems to lack real discipline.

We as parents are our children's guardians, confidants and mentors. It's a big responsibility. It helps to look at how to deal with all that from different perspectives so that you can get a better handle on your own parenting style.

So even if the methods in it aren't for you, this book is cheap enough and light enough to be worthy of the investment of time and money. Your kids won't know you've read it, but they will likely benefit from your greater understanding.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Brian on February 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
I read the book in 4 days two weeks ago, I haven't yelled at the kids since. I am more relaxed and so are the kids. They are already behaving better and more respectfuly. Best of all, they seem happier too. This book is funny and easy to read but the information is still presented thoroughly and logically. A must buy for any parent who wants an easier and more respectful approach to living with their kids.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Flood on November 7, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book three weeks ago, along with a few other books on parenting, and I've already seen so many amazing results from this book that I just could not wait to post a review. This is, by far, the most useful book I've found for raising my 2 1/2 year-old. When I see other parents confronting their kids, like in a supermarket, I have to resist the urge to offer advice that seems ridiculously obvious after reading this book by Alyson Schafer. Alyson covers the nuts and bolts of child psychology, and teaches you how to see the motivation behind the behaviors that children exhibit. She gives plenty of real-world examples, so it is easy to start analyzing "negative" behaviors right away. After teaching you what the child is "really" after, Alyson gives what I have found to be the best ways to handle the situation. Again, she gives plenty of examples on how to respond appropriately. This is a book about truly "raising" your children, not about controlling them. It turns out that by empowering our children and allowing them to grow, the fights just stop happening. Instead of ordering my daughter around, I'm empowering her to make choices, and the results have been astonishing and immediate. I want all of my baby-sitters to read this book.
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