Discipline has been given a bad rap, according to author and clinical psychologist Dr. Ruth Peters. In the purest sense, discipline means "teaching," using a combination of explanation, reasoning, and action to help children understand acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, explains Peters in It's Never Too Soon to Discipline
. Too many parents equate discipline with harsh reprimands, spankings, and criticism. As a result, parents who are striving to create an intimate and child-sensitive household often shy away from disciplining children. We've all seen the upshot--resentful, out-of-control children and frustrated, overwhelmed parents.
The straightforward, "low-stress" program outlined here teaches parents how the fundamentals of discipline can be applied to every stage of development, starting with defiant 1-year-olds. For babies and toddlers, Peters recommends, the most realistic tactics are to ignore the behavior, distract the child, and change the scenery. Six-year-olds respond well to negotiation, bargaining, and clear consequences. Other chapters include "Challenging Kids" (with an excellent discussion on "How Parents Lose Control"), "Outmanipulating the Manipulator," "The Smiley Face System for Ages Three Through Six," and "Single Parents and Stepfamilies." Peters's writing style is anecdote-driven and advice-laden, which can sometimes seem formulaic. Parents who are looking for deeper conversations about guiding children's behavior may also want to read Robert Coles's The Moral Intelligence of Children: How to Raise a Moral Child. --Gail Hudson
From the Publisher
"Too many parents today behave as though they were afraid of their children. Dr. Ruth Peters helps parents find the courage to discipline, to be proactive, and to get control of their families...and to do so early, while their children are small." --Richard and Linda Eyre, authors of Teaching Your Children Values
and How to Talk to Your Child About Sex