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Positive Discipline: The First Three Years: From Infant to Toddler--Laying the Foundation for Raising a Capable, Confident Child (Positive Discipline Library) Paperback – March 27, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Make a Difference During the Most Important Years of Your Child's Life

About the Author

Jane Nelsen, Ed.D., coauthor of the bestselling Positive Discipline series, is a licensed marriage, family, and child therapist. Her books have sold over a million copies. She lives in Salt Lake City.

Cheryl Erwin, M.A., is a marriage and family therapist and the coauthor of numerous books in Prima's Positive Discipline series on raising great children. She lives in Reno, Nevada.

Roslyn Duffy, also a coauthor of several Positive Discipline books, is a child care director with over seventeen years of experience, a counselor in private practice, parent and education specialist, and public speaker.

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Product Details

  • Series: Positive Discipline Library
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 2 Rev Exp edition (March 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307341593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307341594
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Shannon B. VINE VOICE on January 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am so divided on this book. On one hand, I like the philosophy and it has given me a whole new view on my toddler. I now realize he is no longer a baby and I need to give him more independence, like letting him try to put on his own clothes, or giving him tasks like asking him to put things away. In many ways, it has made me stop and think about my reactions to his natural explorations - and I've been able to change my reaction or use a more effective tactic to redirect him.

Similar to The Happiest Toddler on the Block: How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful, and Cooperative One- to Four-Year-Old: Revised Edition, it has the philosophy that you will not need punitive time-outs (or other punishments) if you work with the toddlers' nature. If you give your child the attention they need, as well as plan ahead for difficult situations like visits to a jewelry store (to give one example from the book), and understand their natural inclinations and development stages, you can avoid many discipline problems. It was great to understand that "No, don't touch that." is completely ineffective; I've stopped interacting that way with my 18 month son. Now, I instead say "could you give that to mommy?" and he does.

But the authors make the mistake of explaining every good technique with a bad example. In other words, I am forced to read sad stories of misguided parents, children who are spanked for asking questions, kids in bad childcare, and what ill effects it has on the kids.
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Format: Paperback
I was very disappointed in this book. It is largely based on opinions, and unsupported old-fashioned ones at that. While I agree with the Positive Discipline approach of staying away from punitive measures, understanding child development and what's behaviorally normal, focusing on solutions, etc., the authors seem to subscribe to and advocate a very outdated view of "spoiling". They suggest that "cry-it-out" is the only method to get your child to sleep and that anything else teaches children that they aren't capable. On weaning, they suggest weaning by 10-12 months (earlier than the AAP recommendation of at least one year). They say " We know people who advocate nursing children as old as six or eight years old", suggesting that it's either wean around one year, or nurse for that long! Most children who are allowed to wean themselves wean long before 6-8 years! About spoiling babies they say "Don't worry about spoiling your baby during the first three months of life. It can happen, but it is very rare." What?? I would love to know exactly what a spoiled three month old looks like and where the authors got their information on the rate of such spoilage They don't cite any evidence for these ridiculous claims. Of course not -- it doesn't exist!
All in all I wish I had not spent the money on the book. While I'm sure there are some good ideas for positive discipline, but I think they can all be found in much better, more evidence based books.
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This is a good resource for parents who want to be proactive with discipline matters with their toddlers. It gives a solid, basic overview of all the different areas where discipline might become an issue: sleep, eating, potty training, behavior towards other children, tantrums, etc. What I didn't like about the book was that it didn't give enough specific examples on how to handle certain situations. It took a more philosophical approach, which is great, but not very good on specifics. For example, the author mentions that breastfeeding during the night makes the child more demanding of you during the day (and being an all-night breastfeeding co-sleeper I know what she means), but then she does not give specific advice on how you could wean your child at night. She champions CIO methods, which I don't support at all, and doesn't give any other alternative. So when you finish reading you stay with the impression that only parents who make their child sleep alone in a separate room are the only ones who can have a capable, confident child, which goes against co-sleeping research. However, she gives what I think is very sound advice in other areas, especially when it comes to the notion that you cannot make a child feel capable and confident about him/herself when you constantly "discipline" him/her through spanking, shame and humiliation.
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I don't understand all the negative reviews for this book. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book and I think it has been wonderful for my son and me. Before reading the ideas in this book, all I knew to do was say no, stop and don't. I didn't have a clue that my son was too young to understand these things yet. We'd both get frustrated at each other and I'd sometimes end up giving him a little spanking, then feeling awful about it afterward. I looked for help and found this book and it has made a wonderful difference. I understand my son's developmental stages now and what he is able to understand and do. I've learned some great techniques and he and I are happier and haven't had a spanking since. Yes, the book promotes distraction and redirection, but that's what children this young seem to understand. They need to know what they can do and not just what they can't. The other principles of the book work to build self confidence and good self esteem in your child. What couldn't be good about that? I've recommended this book to all my new mom friends and I'm getting my husband to read it next.
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