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Your Defiant Child, Second Edition: Eight Steps to Better Behavior Paperback – July 2, 2013
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"Dr. Barkley is a leader in the field who provides families with proven strategies for dealing with very challenging problems. The entire book reflects his research, experience, and wisdom. The book is informed by feedback from the many parents who have benefited from this approach, and includes practical examples and pointers for putting the techniques into action."--Charles E. Cunningham, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, McMaster University, Canada
"Dr. Barkley provides sound advice for parents based on many years of research. This is a well-written, easy-to-follow guide for improving your child's behavior."--Rex L. Forehand, PhD, coauthor of Parenting the Strong-Willed Child
About the Author
Russell A. Barkley, PhD, ABPP, ABCN, is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Virginia Treatment Center for Children and Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Dr. Barkley has worked with children, adolescents, and families since the 1970s and is the author of numerous bestselling books for both professionals and the public, including Taking Charge of ADHD and Your Defiant Child. He has also published six assessment scales and more than 280 scientific articles and book chapters on ADHD, executive functioning, and childhood defiance, and is editor of the newsletter The ADHD Report. A frequent conference presenter and speaker who is widely cited in the national media, Dr. Barkley is past president of the Section on Clinical Child Psychology (the former Division 12) of the American Psychological Association (APA), and of the International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology. He is a recipient of awards from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the APA, among other honors. His website is www.russellbarkley.org.
Christine M. Benton is a Chicago-based writer and editor.
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To summarize the content, Barkely recommends that you begin by spending positive time with your child (15 minutes, basically every day). He gives concrete suggestions for how to do this, even if it seems impossible right now. He directs parents to implement only this one change for the first week, and to keep it up, basically, forever.
The second week, he guides the reader in setting up a system to reinforce the desired behaviors. He uses a token system. Some younger kids might struggle with that, but he does give a few tips on how to address that difficulty. I think most kindergarteners could catch on. Younger kids, I don't know.... I like that the kids are basically being asked to do the same things you would ask of any child. Then you set up the pricing guide so that they use most (about 2/3) of their points to buy things that most kids get for free. So it's not a cushy bribe, it's just the old method of taking privileges away, turned on it's head.
Then he begins to guide the parent through a series of steps to implement fairly mild, very consistent consequences for misbehavior. The consequences consist of losing the points they gained for doing the right things (above), and time out.
He also gives advice for how to work with the school, and how to fade out the intensive behavior-modification program described above.
What I liked about it:
1. Heavy on practical tips. (It's actually a cookbook approach, and the author does not really recommending customizing the program.)
2. Backed up all claims with research
3. With tweaking, the basic idea worked well.
4. The author is up-front about the time/energy required of parents in order to implement this system.
5. The book is clear on when to seek outside help.
What I thought could be improved:
1. No mention of how to integrate the new-ish research on emotional coaching being published by Gardener. With the heavy emphasis on research, I was surprised. Maybe it's not in there because it seems difficult to mesh the two ideas (but that's exactly why the extra help would be so beneficial).
2. If your child doesn't have ADHD, or has other issues besides ADHD in addition to a tendency to defiance, you will be tweaking quite a bit. (That's not really something I expect the author to improve, it's more of a buyer's heads up.)
3. The token system didn't really work at all with my 2 1/2 year old. And he's fairly bright, if I say so myself. The cover indicates that the material is appropriate for 2-12. I think 6-10 year olds would benefit much more than kids on either end of the range. Now, in the actual book, Barkely indicates the token system would work with children with a cognitive ability of 2 or higher. I think that might be accurate. A child of 8 with a cognitive disability is different than an actual 2 year old in many ways, however. And, as mentioned above, the parents will be adjusting like crazy, I would imagine.
4. Be aware that the author recommends against customizing the program. I can understand why, but if your child isn't the 'target kid' you will have to tweak it quite a bit.