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Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Program for Parents of Two- To Six-Year-Olds
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Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Program for Parents of Two- To Six-Year-Olds

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  332 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
The first-ever self-guided program for managing a disruptive two- to six-year-old that is based on a clinically proven treatment program.
Published December 31st 1996 by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary (first published April 1st 1996)
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Oct 24, 2008 Kris rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I'm working my way slowly through this book because it's got several skills that you are supposed to spend a week perfecting before moving on and I'm not really in a rush. This book is very research based and in the first chapter I learned that I don't really have a strong willed child (Oh, man, the stories they have in there- so glad I don't have to deal with that). But, I decided I could still stand the skills training, so I plugged on. The first skill is 'attending'. You are supposed to take ...more
I didn't know I had a strong willed child until I had one that wasn't. I figured all 3 year olds were awful. I figured it was my lack of parenting skills that were to blame for the deaf ears and blank stares. Turns out some children are naturally more "strong-willed" than others. Hopefully this book will give me some tips for dealing with the child that makes me want to tear my hair out...

Again, another parenting book that only works if you actually do what it says.
Feb 17, 2015 Mia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I should qualify my four star rating by saying the stars are for the actual methods recommended in this book, not for the presentation. I found the writing stiff and overly full of the kind of jargon that drives people away from Psych 101 in droves. That said, I'd wager that most parents who utilize the skills Forehand is presenting here will find they work very well.

A large part of my job is helping parents to improve their children's behavior, and this book was recommended to me by
Tanya W
Nov 04, 2011 Tanya W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was recommended by a friend who is a psychologist and works a lot with children.

Part I includes information about strong-willed behavior, why children become MORE strong-willed, other factors, and ADHD. It then goes on to preface a five week skill building program starting with one skill and adding another skill each week.

I really like it so far. I'll adjust the rating later after I have more experience.
Mar 09, 2013 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While we did pick up some great ideas and working strategies, we found the "program" to be impossible to follow and still take care of our other children. Might work better for smaller families.
Bonnie Jack
Jun 23, 2012 Bonnie Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i failed at following the 5-week program, but still got a lot of good strategies out of the book.
Sep 06, 2008 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is definitely worth your time if you're concerned about your preschooler's strong-willed behavior. And if you're willing to work at improving it. I learned quite a bit and have been moderately successful with the strategies outlined by the authors. To summarize, they advise noticing (verbally) the good your child does, praising him/her explicitly for it, ignoring as much inappropriate behavior as possible, giving directions carefully and positively, and using time-outs effectively. Eac ...more
Not very helpful

The book has a great premise, but I found it to be quite repetitive without a lot of deep information about why or how the strategies work. Resolved cases in the book seemed contrived and didn't reflect the realities of living with a challenging child. I did gain some strategies that helped here and there, but the shiny promise of no more difficulties that the book presents isn't realistic. I do agree with the basic argument that many behavior problems stem from parental behavior
Peter Heinrich
Loved the first part of this book, which explains how we nag our children (even the those not rockin' the "strong-willed" moniker) and how they tune us out in self-defense. The counter-examples are so intuitively the right way to turn this around that it's hard not to feel optimistic about becoming a better parent, especially since you're bound to have stumbled on the technique at least once by accident. At the time, perhaps you didn't understand what was happening, but as you read the book you ...more
Feb 23, 2016 Sabrina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as part of the curriculum for a class in my Master's program. Although I do not have any children at this time, the information was useful. It provides a perspective for working with children but also when working with families. It's a great resource to utilize!
I didn't finish this book. It tells you to not read ahead and to practice each thing it talks so I thought about doing it but frankly I lost interest. Then it was due back to the library and I just returned it. I did read most of it but it didn't really seem that helpful. One concept that I thought was interesting was trying to interact with your children for a specified period of time without telling them what to do or ask them any questions. I actually found it really challenging. I didn't thi ...more
Mar 24, 2011 Amy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book presented a few generic strategies for "good parenting," mostly involving minimizing conflict and fostering an actual relationship with a child instead of dominating him or her. But I didn't find the useful insights I was hoping for about helping children channel their strong wills and use their power of choice to make good decisions. This book seems targeted to desperate/naive parents ("my child won't do everything I say immediately!") who have never thought much about parenting strat ...more
Mar 09, 2011 Lil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the first chapter, I realized this didn't really apply to my sitation. Yes, my younger son is strong-willed, but he definitely doesn't qualify as a behavior problem. It just takes A LOT of energy to parent him! The basic message from this book is to spend time w/ your child and allow them to direct the play and be in charge when it is appropriate. I skimmed the book and think it would be suitable for children w/ true behavior disorders (in which case I would hope the parents would seek pro ...more
Kris Irvin
If you are really struggling with your child and haven't done much research on how to keep them in line without beating or killing them (don't report me to CPS please, I don't beat or kill my child. Mostly.) this might be a good read. If, however, you've read scores of parenting books and done research up the wazoo of how to handle a difficult beastie, this isn't any new information. I had hoped that reading this book would solve all my parenting problems and that in five weeks my two year old w ...more
Nov 04, 2009 Rachael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: special-needs
I had to take it back to the library before I could finish it. I got as far as the first week assignment - "attending" - which is a form of attentive listening and prompting. I liked the concept of a 5 step program because it feels like something I could get my mind around. What I read might make you feel like your child isn't as strong willed as you thought, but the principles taught would be beneficial for all children. I'll put it on hold and try again soon. :)
Alexandra Whittington-jones
I have 2 strong-willed children (and one 'normal' one. It is very helpful to know that you are not the only one with kids like this. And that you can take practical steps to work through it. Have had some success with the steps and keep the book close to dip in to when necessary!
Jun 23, 2009 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book but nothing really new to anyone who has read parenting books before. I think I learned the most from the chapter on "attending" because I am always feeling like I can never give my strong willed child enough attention and this was a great way that she seems to respond to. However, I thought the chapter on time-outs was a bit- well idealistic...
Jan 12, 2010 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Had to put this down after chapter three because it is overdue at the library. It is a five week program that seems like it is really good. Got through week 1 of the program and already saw an improvement. Geared more towards older kids, still had a lot of great techniques to try on tantruming toddlers. Will have to add this to my library to refer to it often!
Oct 19, 2011 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone want to guess which child prompted me to read this book? Haha.

I didn't actually read this book in it's entirety because it was due at the library and on reserve. I thought the advice was relevant and do see small improvements in his behavior. Now I have to go google what the remaining steps were for each week since I no longer have the book...
Feb 28, 2008 Laurel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent information... really emphasizes positive reinforcement techniques for the child who demands attention in the worst ways. The attending/ignoring philosophy seems so common sense yet until I sat back and thought about it, it wasn't something I'd been putting to use.
Jamie Hergott
Excellent book with lots of very helpful suggestions. Have it three stars because I always take parenting books with a grain of salt...everyone has their own instincts and own style of parenting that fits their child. This one is worth a read though.
Lauren Florence
Jul 29, 2015 Lauren Florence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm so glad we read this book! We have only partially implemented the strategies and we've still seen big improvements in our son's behavior. Highly recommended!
Fastener Gal
Oct 18, 2008 Fastener Gal rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all parents
Recommended to Fastener Gal by: Dr. Padilla
This is my parenting Bible. You don't have to have a strong willed child to read this but this book has a lot of earmarked pages to refer back to. One of the best parenting books I've read...and trust me, I've read MANY!
Mar 02, 2010 Jenna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to return it before I got to finish it but I liked what I read. It had good suggestions that made me more aware of the impressions I give to my daughter. I'd like to get it again and read more.
Jun 08, 2009 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recommend this book to anyone that has any relationship. It has great ideas for improving all relationships and excellent insight into the whys and hows of human behavior.
Amber Morse
Dec 02, 2010 Amber Morse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ideas in this book have really helped my relationship with my preschooler. She's a difficult child, but has responded to my efforts that I learned reading this book.
Mar 14, 2013 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book could be renamed "common sense parenting for any child". Not too many original or earth-shattering insights for stubborn kids. Good strategies for all parents though.
Kitty Frye
Aug 02, 2010 Kitty Frye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like most parenting books this one offers a lot of pretty obvious advice but there are also some novel ideas that I did find helpful and for that it was worth reading.
Oct 19, 2011 Jessie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've already read this once and I'm already needing to read it again. It's a good book so I don't mind. Just hope this time the techniques work. >_<
Feb 17, 2014 Crystal rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not care for how the author spoke of strong-willed children, as if they are crazy brats who need to bend to the will of their parents.
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“The philosophy "Do as I say, not as I do" does not work. Modeling is more powerful than words in teaching your children how to behave. Set a good example for your child!” 1 likes
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