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Positive Discipline

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,268 ratings  ·  142 reviews
For twenty-five years, Positive Discipline has been the gold standard reference for grown-ups working with children. Now Jane Nelsen, distinguished psychologist, educator, and mother of seven, has written a revised and expanded edition. The key to positive discipline is not punishment, she tells us, but mutual respect. Nelsen coaches parents and teachers to be both firm an ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published May 25th 2011 by Ballantine Books (first published 1986)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,951)
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Beth
I am re-reading this book after losing it on the bookshelf for 15 years. Wow! Why didn't I memorize it way back when? This should have been on my nightstand right along with my scriptures. I have very recently been researching how to have more meaningful discipline. I had already come to the understanding through my studies of Waldorf education and prayerful meditation that the child's soul is a tender and beautiful thing that needs careful nurturing and guidance. Harsh, humiliating punishments ...more
Stuart
This seemed to be just what I needed at this juncture with our children. Lots of core messages resonate strongly

-- A misbehaving child is a discouraged child
-- Children simply want belonging and significance
-- It is wrong to think that we must make children feel worse in order to do better.

And I could go on.

One challenge with a book like this is that you will still hunger for exactly the right words to use in your own situation. I've read it all the way through and still struggle for the right
...more
Deb
This is an interesting book on discipline using the Adlerian approach. It's a different way of thinking about raising kids than most people do naturally. It encourages parents and teachers to stop adding shame, blame, and pain to kids' misbehavior because that doesn't achieve the long-term results in character that parents have as the goal for their kids. I recommend this book--there's a whole series of them for all different life situations: one for preschoolers, one for classrooms, one for sin ...more
Leta
For those of you familiar with gospel principles, this book is full of them. Some one told me this lady is LDS, I don't know if it is true but her concepts support Christ-like ways. The theory of "positive discipline" stretched my mind and heart to new places about how I can parent more lovingly. Some of her one liners that are so true; "A misbehaving child is a discouraged child." When a child is misbehaving, the last thing they need is a spank. The misbehavior is a plea for love. Also, "We don ...more
Seth Roskos
OK, I haven't quite finished it yet, but this book has changed my life and more importantly changed my relationship with my kids. It is a must read for every parent. Would you like to hug your child instead of punishing him and in the process teach him to be a capable, confident problem solver? Put an end to power struggles? Understand what is appropriate behavior for each phase of a child's development? Do you know why your child acts up and whether your response only makes the situation worse. ...more
Lisa
I love the concept of the book and while haphazardly implementing what I was learning as I read, my daughter (5) endorsed the book. I saw her copying the cover and asked her what she was doing and she replied that she liked it. When I inquired why, she told me that I don't "yell" as much since I started reading it. And while I don't yell, I must raise my voice more than I realize (and more than I want to). So, I asked why she was copying the cover, I already have and am reading the book. She rep ...more
Teanne
Positive Discipline is designed to have mutual respect, see a misbehaving child as a discouraged child, use encouragement as the basic motivator, and teach life skills.
The section that dealt with the concept that a misbehaving child is trying to tell us “I don’t feel I belong or have significance, and I have a mistaken belief about how to achieve it.” was really helpful to me. It goes into detail about why children misbehave: power struggle, attention, etc. And it guides you on how to deal with
...more
Daniel L.
Winning Children Over Rather than Winning Over Children

In his 1923 classic, How to Love a Child, Janusz Korczak warned against relying on manuals when raising children; rather, the adult should listen and be attuned to both the children at hand and maintain an awareness of what it means and how it feels to be a child - in short, the ability to use one's empathy and moral sense to understand the life of the child by being able to see the world from a child's perspective.

Of the many books on "disc
...more
Tanya W
Well, I have read a lot of parenting books... maybe by the time I have read 50 I'll be an "ideal parent" for my children! I find this parenting theory really resonates with how I feel parenting should be... a type of parenting that is very respectful and unlikely to leave children with damage or baggage from being overly permissive or strict or overly "child-centered" or whatever else!

Now that's the best thing about substitute teaching high school... I can read a book... I have been wanting to f
...more
Natali
This book has a really great philosophy, although it becomes a little repetitive. The chapters on eating and potty training could have been combined because the philosophy is the same: your child will figure it out. Have empathy for their growing pains.

Despite the length, I enjoyed the author's philosophy and research very much. It is a great read for anyone raising a toddler to help them understand what life is like for them.
Holly
What if the next time you made a mistake at home or work, your boss/spouse said "now you just go to your cubicle and think about what you've done". So why are we surprised when our kids bristle at that, what were we expecting? When we were kids, did that ever work on us?

The book "Positive Discipline" claims to be hold kids accountable without being punitive, claims to be the middle ground between authoritarian and permissive (then again, most books on this topic claim this). It's written for bot
...more
Robin
This is a slow read with some frustrating, non-functional "just remember the three r's and an h" type helpful reminders that aren't helpful for really remembering anything. They said, the book is full of lots of interesting and constructive ideas, good advice, abs reminders that you won't always get it right.
The "real" examples/stories feel a lot more like parables and would be easier to believe they way, abs though they sometimes reach to the extreme they do get the point across.
I had some di
...more
Jenny
Amazing book! So what is Positive Discipline? It is the concept of using encouragement to create positive behavior in children. “The primary goal of Positive Discipline is to enable both adults and children to experience more joy, harmony, cooperation, shared responsibility, mutual respect, and love in their life and relationships (p. 289).” It is an interest concept that I am working on meddling into our family’s daily dynamics. This book provides basic concepts that are like a tool box. You ca ...more
Kelly
Thank goodness... finally a discipline book that appeals to both my common sense and my moral compass. Rather than giving you a script for specific situations, this book outlines an approach of kind but firm respect when interacting with children that you can apply to any situation. This was on the recommended reading list for my son's preschool, and I read it cover to cover a week and a half ago. I then ordered copies for my mommy friends in his playgroup, I thought so highly of it.

It's been le
...more
Bridgid
INTRODUCTION

Based on teachings of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs

"The foundation for healthy self-esteem is the development by children of the belief "I am capable". Children don't develop this belief when parents do any of these things (do too much for them, overprotect them, rescue them, don't spend enough time with them, purchase too many things for their children, do homework for their children, nag, demand)...Nor do they develop the skills that help them feel capable when they are always t
...more
Jill
i love the book Good and Angry, it's phenomenal. however, it requires a lot from the parents in the way of steps and methods, etc. and with six kids, it becomes difficult to wade through all of the platforms without coming into it totally familiar with their technique. this book, Positive Discipline, is phenomenal because it works across the board - there are steps to take to help the children behave, but many of the steps are ones i take as an individual and see as a parent, and are easy to app ...more
Andrea
I think my mom gave me this book -- somehow, it ended up in the "pediatrics" section of my little library, and after reading "Between Parent and Child" I thought this would be interesting, too. Maybe it was Wes' mom? Not sure.

Anyway, this book was a little different in that it was geared towards parents and teachers, but the approach was the same -- love the child, get to understand them, and then use firm and logical consequences when necessary. It also talked a lot about agreeing upon rules an
...more
Robert Whitcomb
In my opinion, this is the most important book on parenting one can read. The tools is provides you with, the mindset it imparts will assist you in having a great relationship with your children as well as providing them with the firm and loving discipline that is needed. I highly recommend reading this book before reading any other parenting book. It won't cover every situation, but it will give you a complete set of parenting tools as well as excellent guidance to look for help.
Jason
Phenomenal child-rearing philosophy, based on the universal human needs of community and love. Describes children's misbehavior as a function of attempting to "belong" and to "feel loved" and offers common-sense approaches to interrupt non-useful patterns of parent-child interactions, in the process teaching children self-sufficiency and perpetuating respect and love in the parent-child relationship. A paradigm-shifting parenting strategy that is approachable for everyone.
Lisa
I just finished this book that I got for free at a library sale this summer. The author is an educator, so she writes this book for teachers as well as parents. I think reading it through I got more insight into my teaching than parenting. One thing I really liked was the section on Class Meetings or Family meetings. I used some class meetings but was not confident in facilitating them, so I didn't stick with it. I wish I had read this book back then! The same idea can be carried into the home b ...more
Dani
I have a whole library of parenting books, but this one I actually read for a seminar I took at the kids school and I am not sure if that is what made the difference or not, but I thought this book was brilliant. I am testing out almost all the tools outlined in this book and since my kids are old enough I'm explaining that this is what i am doing, The strategies really seem to be working to keep things positive. It is about half understanding how your behavior affects the dynamic and half how t ...more
Camille
This was an interesting read. I liked the basic premise of the book, that lots of common parenting tactics just add blame, shame, and pain instead of leading to a long-term solution. And that misbehaving children are really frustrated children. I really could have used more examples of the practical application of her ideals though. I did read an older edition...perhaps this newer version includes better examples.

It is one of those books that you'd have to read several times to really grasp the
...more
Amanda Banks
Very thought provoking parenting book. Despite the title, it's actually about NOT disciplining your children. Nelsen believes all misbehavior is simply an attempt by children to meet their needs, so the way to react to a misbehaving child is to find out what they are trying to accomplish, and then coach them into gaining their objective in a more productive/socially acceptable fashion. Punishment is therefore counter-productive and even cruel. I really enjoyed it, and overall agree with Nelsen's ...more
Ashley
This book is considered a gold standard in discipline with kids and I would agree. I've been frustrated lately with my 2.5 yr old daughter; there's been a lot of time-outs and tears lately not to mention frustration on my part. I wanted another way to discipline her that didn't involve my loud voice and her facing a wall. This book has given me so much insight into how to get through to her in a positive manner. I've not got all the techniques down but there are already fewer tears and more coop ...more
Leslie
This is by far the best parenting book I have ever read. I read it in conjunction with taking the class, which
I highly recommend. I understand more clearly now why I parent the way I do and why I get the results that I do. I now know what I need to work on to achieve a different outcome. I love that idea that there are no perfect parents and mistakes are opportunities for learning. It takes so much pressure off of me to know that if I blow it, I can always go back to my child later and try agai
...more
Betsy
My son's preschool teacher recommended this book from her personal library of parenting books. The methods in this book were not new to me but a wonderful reminder and inspiration that there is a better option than the threat/punishment mindset I so easily slip into. Lots of examples and tips for real life scenarios. Probably the most effective and helpful tip was to always give 2 choices when something needs to happen: "Would you like to stop throwing toys or would you like to go to your room?" ...more
Kathryn
Excellent book. I just read this for the first time. It's now right up there with Kids Are Worth It as one of my favorites. It explains really well how to discipline in a kind, loving way while still sticking to limits and not letting kids "get away" with their misbehavior. I've been familiar with positive discipline and have used it with "my" kids for years but it was nice reading this book and reading about the same concepts presented in a slightly different way than I've seen before. And I li ...more
Nyssa Hoerner
This is one of my top three favorite parenting books. It teaches how to be a loving parent, a guide, and how to not need to blow your top or punish most of the time. I highly recommend this.
Kathleen
Some excellent strategies for dealing with the conflicts that inevitably arise in parenting and classroom situations. Nelsen's emphasis on providing children opportunities to learn cooperation, problem solving, and communication skills is inspiring. Problem solving with her suggestions may take more time, but they seem more educational for teaching children appropriate social and communication skills long-term. A main premise of the books is that a misbehaving child is a discouraged child, and I ...more
Julie
I learned so much about logical consequences from this book. I also learned how to let children manage their conflicts in an effective and uplifting manner. This is a must read!
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58603
Dr. Jane Nelsen is a licensed Marriage, Family and Child Counselor in South Jordan, UT and Carlsbad, CA.

She is the author and/or coauthor of the Positive Discipline Series.
More about Jane Nelsen...
Positive Discipline: The First Three Years: From Infant to Toddler--Laying the Foundation for Raising a Capable, Confident Child Positive Discipline for Preschoolers: For Their Early Years - Raising Children Who Are Responsible, Respectful, and Resourceful (Revised 2nd Ed) Positive Discipline A-Z: 1001 Solutions to Everyday Parenting Problems Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World: Seven Building Blocks for Developing Capable Young People Positive Discipline in the Classroom,: Developing Mutual Respect, Cooperation, and Responsibility in Your Classroom

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“When parents continue to dress their children after the age of three, they are robbing them of developing a sense of responsibility, self-sufficiency, and self-confidence. They are less likely to develop the belief that they are capable. Instead they feel a sense of belonging when others do things for them.” 0 likes
“It is interesting to note that two people with these opposing philosophies often get married. One has a tendency to be just a little too lenient. The other has a tendency to be just a little too strict. Then the lenient parent thinks he or she needs to be just a little more lenient to make up for the mean old strict parent. The strict parent thinks he or she needs to be just a little more strict to make up for the wishy-washy lenient parent—so they get further and further apart and fight about who is right and who is wrong. In truth they are both being ineffective.” 0 likes
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