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on March 6, 2009
Since reading this book (~30 days ago), I have put three suggestions into play at our house.

1) "I notice..." As in, "I notice it took you 15 minutes to brush your teeth. Do you want to tell me about that?" Followed up with listening. Or, "I notice that you have not eaten your carrots. What is your plan?" My very verbal four-year-old has started saying it to me -- wow! He said, "Mommy I notice that you forgot to read me a story. I want to choose it today."

2) Choices. As in, "Good morning, darling! (hug) You told me you'd like to make your own lunch today. You can choose to get ready for school quickly and come make your lunch, or you can take your time and I will make it all by myself. I'll start making lunches at 7:15. I love you, sweetie! (kiss) Don't forget breakfast is at 7:30! Yumm yumm!" Or like this, with a pre-schooler: "Tomorrow is crazy-shirt day at school. Do you choose this shirt or this shirt? Great choice! I'll hang it on your hook so you can get ready all by yourself in the morning."

3) Make sure you are in the same room before making requests of children. I have mentally added ("or husband") at the end of that statement. This has cut down on a lot of me repeating myself, which makes me a happier mom!

The whole act-don't-talk philosophy is lovely. I'm getting a lot of mileage out of it. And I use this phrase all the time: "You kids are very creative. I'm sure you'll imagine a way to get that done. I can't wait to hear how you work it out!" It has put a quick stop to tattling and arguing.

As a rule, I believe that parents need to be in charge at home. Parents set the tone for the whole family. This book will help you do that.
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on August 21, 2011
I did get some helpful tips from this book (especially Act, Don't Talk). However, I feel like it is not a good match for my personality. I tend to be the type of person who parents largely by instinct and reason, and I also feel like if your children know that they are loved and that you're there for them, things will turn out okay. If you are like me, then this may not be the book for you.

As a mother of a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old, I was looking for some help in curbing emerging sibling issues, and preventing some of the defiance my 5-year-old is starting to display. I recently read How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk, and I loved it but wanted more practical tips. I was hoping this book would consist of tips in the same vein as that book. While there are a lot of similarities, the overall positive and reassuring tone of How to Talk was MUCH more appealing to me. This book felt very preachy to me, and seemed to make all parenting issues black and white. If there's one thing about parenting that I'm fairly sure of, it's that there is no one right way to do anything, as all parents and all children are different. After reading this book, I felt very stressed that I will say the wrong thing (as a lot of it is apparently down to semantics). I felt that so much of the book is telling you that if you say this instead of that, your child will do fill-in-the-blank-horrible-thing. Basically, any little quirk or problem your child has or will have as an adult is a direct result of something you did or did not do, or something you said incorrectly. Maybe that's not what the author intended, but that's how it came across to me. I'm all for taking responsibility as a parent, but I don't care for scare tactics. I also didn't care for the inflexible directives on handling bedtime, nor did I appreciate the first sentence of the bedwetting section: "If your 4 or 5 year old is wetting the bed, it is cause for concern." Really? Not according to my pediatrician and other medical professionals. I don't need a book to give me more things to worry about; there are enough issues that come about naturally through parenting!

I will stick with How to Talk, and I also like the Pocket Parent for quick tips. I am giving this three stars because I did find some of it useful. I just can't get past the judgmental, almost dictatorial tone.
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on February 6, 2010
I think this is a good book for someone who has a more authoritarian parenting style and is looking for middle ground between that and true gentle discipline. I think there are some excellent tips and I appreciate the A-Z categorization for easy reference. What I found conflicting was the advice given for sleep and a small tidbit regarding breastfeeding. While the authors respect the choice of parents who co-sleep, they take a very firm stance against it and advocate for Ferberizing/CIO. I find this conflicting because the rest of the book encourages parents to support the emotional well-being of their children and yet they should abandon that at the bedroom door? I think the authors would have done a better service to their readers if they actually examined ways to gently encourage better sleep habits (and yes they do exist).

They should also examine current research in regards to "Crying it Out" and the negative effects it has on infant brain development, in addition to attachment theory and the importance of responding to infant cries for communication. The greatest injustice a parent can do to their children and themselves is ignore their intuition when something feels wrong, and I was sad to see the authors encouraging this. In addition, I'm unaware of any lactation training that either author has, but they also encourage night weaning at 3 months of age. Anyone with even a smidgen of lactation training knows what a bad idea this is, and I would encourage readers to go elsewhere for accurate advice, such as La Leche League.

All in all it's a decent book, like many books you take some information and you leave some.
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on October 8, 2009
Do you need fast, effective, AND thoughtful solutions to your everday parenting challenges with your children? Of course! That's why you're reading reviews on parenting books!

This one is organized effectively and consistently so that a busy parent can take in the core concepts of positive discipline and apply it directly at the most common yet at the same time very trying parenting challenges. For every concept, common challenges are used to demonstrate the problem and solution.

The core principles of this book use the rather new tenets of developing field of Positive Psychology. You know that popular cliche? "The carrot works better than the stick?"

Here's my favorite: my 6 year old son is now getting school homework. Obviously, the end goal is to have him do his homework.
Old School Method: don't use your mind. Just yell at the kid while whacking their behind if he doesn't do it!
After reading the book: I hand my son the kitchen timer and asked him to enter the number of minutes he'd like to play before doing his homework. My only rule was that he needs to start his homework before 5:30pm. He now has ownership of this decision. He also realizes that after he's done with his homework he can play as much as he wants before dinner.

Wow. Clever, simple, oh-so-effective, and thoughtful.
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on June 10, 2007
I was a bit skeptical at first, wondering how a Q and A format could possibly be sufficient. Would the book be full of pithy, useless, empty, overly-general advice? No, in fact, it gets right to the point and is relevant and helpful. I'm very impressed with the thoughtful discussion of many of the most difficult parenting problems. It has become on of the first places I turn for advice.

More importantly, because it is quick and easy to read, my husband is willing to read it too, which helps us stay on the same page when it comes to discipline.
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on January 17, 2016
If I had it to do over, I'd buy one of this author's other books. This one isn't super comprehensive about what positive discipline actually is or how to practice it, and the A-Z examples are not super applicable to us.
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on August 24, 2014
Good, solid advice and suggestions in an easy-to-find and easy-to-visualize format. BUT, the whole "Positive Discipline" approach is much deeper than this "try this in this situation" format. The authors came up with the idea and "wrote" the rough draft of the book while driving 1/2 way across the US. It's a great idea, and a great supplement, but it's not the whole kit and kaboodle.
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VINE VOICEon October 8, 2010
I've been experiencing power struggles, tantrums, crying, and disobedience with my 2 yr old son. So far, I was unsuccessful and did not see lasting/positive results with timeout, rules, yelling, and occasional spanking. Actually, I despise these parenting methods, they go against the very core in which we all are... LOVE!

I've read a handful of parenting books the last couple years and am pleasantly surprised with my current reading of "Positive Discipline A-Z" from Jane Nelson. I wish I had it sooner!! Actually I wish I can instantly transform my parenting into all of the 316 pages in her book!

I'm not completely finished reading the entire book because I have been trying to incorporate some of the lessons in the first part of the book. It seems to take a lot of effort to try to break the previous bad parenting habits, like talking too much! So far, I've tried to "Act, Don't Talk" more & be more kind instead of only firm. I'm trying to avoid "timeout" so we can focus on the underlying issue beneath the "bad" behavior. I plan to incorporate more of her lessons until I've managed to form a loving, cooperate home for him to thrive in!

Dr. Jane's method is all about respect and allowing your child be who he is while providing long-lasting teachable moments. Life skills children can learn. "Positive Discipline is not about punishment or control. Rather it is about instructing, educating, preparing, training, regulating, skill building, and focusing on solutions. Positive Discipline is constructive, encouraging, affirming, helpful, loving, and optimistic." If your finding yourself in a similar situation of the awful toddlerhood stage then you have to read this book!
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on November 9, 2008
I am only half way through this book, but already see a difference in how I approach discipline with my children. It has logical conclusions and helpful examples and ideas. I cannot wait to see how this changes my relationship with my children.
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on April 21, 2014
This is a great tool as a back up when you are desperate for re-assurance and a little guidance to disciplining all aged children. The writing is to the point and easy to understand. You don't have to read pages and pages to actually get to the point. The answers are right there. Deals with many topics.
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