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The Discipline Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Better-Behaved Child From Birth to Age Ten
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The Discipline Book: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Better-Behaved Child From Birth to Age Ten

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,014 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
Everything you need to know about discipline to raise a happy, well-adjusted, well-behaved child-from America's foremost baby and childcare experts Disciplining children means equipping them with the tools to succeed in life. In this unique guide, Dr. Bill and Martha Sears, the pediatrics specialists whose books on birth, babies, and parenting have become widely praised be ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published February 15th 1995 by Little, Brown and Company (first published February 1st 1995)
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Sep 27, 2009 Kellygirl rated it liked it
I thought this book was helpful but I get a little frustrated with Dr.Sears at times. Every solution begins with "practice attachment parenting." I get it, and if I had to name a parenting philosophy that we follow, this would be the closest one. Now that my son is two and a half, I need some more solid advice than co-sleep and wear your baby from the moment they're born. I was pleased with the advice he did offer, I just thought the book was a little thick with the "discipline starts the moment ...more
Smita Jha
Aug 24, 2011 Smita Jha rated it really liked it
Shelves: child
The edition that I read actually calls the book, "The Good Behaviour Book" and I think that is probably a better title.

I borrowed it from a friend and have kept it for months! Am finally returning it.

The chapters kept me sane as my daughter morphed from an adoring monosyllable infant into a 22 month old chatty, decisive (No! Not blue!) and highly opinionated toddler with occasional night terrors, meltdowns and constant picky-eating. It really calmed me down and let me view it all with a better
Sonya Feher
Jan 02, 2009 Sonya Feher rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
This book is divided into three sections: 1) Promoting Desirable Behavior, 2) Correcting Undesirable Behavior, and 3) Discipline for Life. Section One is worth reading. Its coverage of a variety of discipline issues is comprehensive and it explains how child's developmental stages, environment in the home, and parenting philosophies/practices influence discipline. The next two sections do not seem consistent with the first. Though Sears says he doesn't support spanking, they have a whole section ...more
Oct 21, 2014 Stacy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
This book was a game changer for me. I was already familiar with Dr. Sears' philosophies from reading "The Baby Book", and have tried my best to use "attachment parenting" principles because they make sense to me.

This book made a lot of sense to me too; I found myself agreeing with pretty much every idea presented. They are not all always easy to DO, but they all make sense.

The main idea that struck me was this: Discipline isn't about using any certain discipline, but rather about creating the r
Jan 08, 2013 Nicola rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Parents
Shelves: parenting
BRILLIANT BOOK! The Sears approach to parenting in general and discipline in particular is one full of sensitivity, love and flexibility and yet this compassionate approach does not undermine the emphasis on correction and guidance - it underpins it. Instead of putting forward a one-size-fits-all type of discipline strategy, it helps the reader understand that the stage of development the child has reached and the temperament that the child was born with will effect his/her behaviour. Children c ...more
Sarah B.
May 02, 2008 Sarah B. rated it really liked it
Shelves: given-away
There are a gazillion parenting advice books out there, and you don't have time to read them all. I read five or six, and this one resonated the best with me, so it's my go-to book for parenting. Every time we come up against a challenge I'm not sure on, I reach for this book and read the calming, gentle, rational, loving solution I need to hear.

Dr. Sear advocates Attachment Parenting, which is certainly controversial but worked well for me. This book extends that approach beyond infanthood and
Jun 27, 2009 Inder rated it liked it
Recommended to Inder by: Ida Acton
I'm not sure whether this is less helpful than other Dr. Sears books I've read, or if I've just overdosed on him a bit, but this is definitely not my favorite. The way Dr. Sears explains it, the answer to all discipline problems is attachment parenting in infancy. I'm a proponent of attachment parenting (with a grain of salt), but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's not going to solve all of my discipline problems later on.

This book hasn't been updated since the 90s, and you can tell. The emph
Lisa Wuertz
Apr 06, 2010 Lisa Wuertz rated it liked it
While this book does have some really great tips and suggestions for discipline, most of it just seemed like common sense stuff to me. I also got really annoyed by a *million* statements like, "We find that attachment parented kids are basically perfect and don't act up." The authors may not have said it exactly like that, but even though I ascribe to many of the attachment parenting philosophies reading those statements over and over again often left me questioning if the reason for my daughter ...more
Sep 29, 2007 Deb rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
I like the Sears and their approach to child rearing in general, but their insistence on carrying your child around all the time gets wearying. Apparently, not practicing attachment parenting from birth will cause all sorts of problems, including poor behavior later. This is not that helpful when you're past the baby stage. If you're having discipline issues, you get the subtle message that it's largely because you didn't carry your child around enough and didn't do their kind of attachment pare ...more
Jul 30, 2011 Kelly rated it it was ok
While I am not entirely on board with the AP thing, I do like the Sears library. I don't co-sleep or carry my child contstantly, and my style of discipline is a bit more authoritian than the average AP parent. I do appreciate the emphasis on connecting with your child and listening to them in order to understand why they are "misbehaving". I mostly started to read this book to see if I can pick up some new ideas. So far, nothing stands out.

Update: Not something I was capable of reading from sta
Trish Boese
Jan 25, 2016 Trish Boese rated it it was ok
2* This book has some good ideas. The suggestions are a bit too perfect though, like the following advice for weaning a toddler from a soother: "Encourage the child to use his plug in private. Mention that older children doing things that babies do bothers some adults. "If you really must use your pacifier, please use it in your room." By approaching it this way and making the pacifier less convenient to use, the child will soon wean himself." That sounds totally unrealistic to me! It wouldn't h ...more
Rachel Fatoorachi-Shprintzen
Jul 28, 2013 Rachel Fatoorachi-Shprintzen is currently reading it
I'm only on page 44, however I will say that the beginning seems to say that the only way to raise well-behaved children is if you start from birth with the attachment parenting model. If you can get past that part and the guilt trip if you haven't exactly followed the attachment parenting model (baby wearing, co-sleeping, etc) it does go on to give very good tips on how to redirect a child (infant, toddler and on) when they are acting out or doing something "wrong." I would say flip through the ...more
Sep 12, 2008 Leahjoypro rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I had a similar feel about this book as I did to Dr. Sears book, "The Breastfeeding Book". It's pretty heavy and reads a bit like a text book. However, I enjoy his philosophies and agree with a lot of what they have to say. Although I read the whole thing, i was so overwhelmed with all the knowledge that I am afraid I don't remember much. I think it will, however, make a great reference book to have around as I come upon struggles with particular behaviors - he gives great specific advice relati ...more
Aug 06, 2014 Becca rated it it was amazing
This book is wonderful! It takes a very sensitive and respectful approach to disciplining children. This is started by loving and connecting emotionally with your children. It will be my go to book for mothering throughout my parenthood!
Kiesha Garrison
Jul 29, 2014 Kiesha Garrison rated it really liked it
Helpful anecdotes from their own lives and experience that take the child's perspective into account. But it's a style thing- if you are 100% committed to corporal punishment, you won't appreciate the advice in this book very much.
Michael Hentrich
Mar 11, 2013 Michael Hentrich rated it it was amazing
I have to say I really learned a lot from reading this book. Especially I learned how much I don't know about parenting. There were some points where I realized some of the mistakes I had made even in my short history with kids. In some ways, it was very humbling, but at the same time I am glad I learned these things before my children get older, so hopefully I will have a chance to improve my parenting abilities.

My wife encouraged me to read this book in exchange for her reading "The Metabolic
Oct 21, 2008 Aneesa rated it liked it
I'm not in love with this book. I did drag it out over the course of at least a year, so maybe that made it less helpful, but I really didn't glean a lot of information or techniques that helped me as a parent. I enjoy the philosophy of gentle discipline, and the writing style was okay, but I didn't grasp the ideas well enough to even begin to know how to implement anything with any sort of consistency. I have read a lot of parenting books, and I would recommend most of them over this one. I was ...more
Sep 21, 2012 Molly rated it liked it
Shelves: parenthood
I agreed with most of the concepts in this book, though much of it was simply reminders of how I already feel, such as have the discipline logically connect to the misbehavior (if kiddo leaves the bike out, temporarily put the bike up in the garage rafters for a few days). It's good to remember where my toddler might be coming from, and to read those basic tenants regarding impulse and desire and such. My biggest concerns are fairly specific, and thus weren't addressed in the book, though I thin ...more
Audrey Jenkins
Feb 28, 2016 Audrey Jenkins rated it it was amazing
Recommended for positive outcomes, attachment and confident parenting, this is one of my top Martha and William Sears books, and it's never too early to read.
Jul 26, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
It was solid, but not amazing or ground breaking. He does explain some things well, such as why one shouldn't spank, or why certain behaviors should be taken for the developmental process that they are. He does advocate some punitive measures, however, such as timeout, but thankfully does not recommend doing so before 2 when kids can actually understand the action. All in all, a good book for someone who already attachment parents or is interested in doing so, but others may be turned off by his ...more
Jun 13, 2008 Laura added it
sears is always good food for thought.

there was an interesting chapter on how to react to shyness (hint: don't push your child, pick up the child when requested), which I found very helpful. the less I push and 'label' my daughter as shy when she is having extreme separation anxiety, the more she ventures out. good insight on this topic.

otherwise, sears pushes the general principle of attachment parenting. the more 'attached' you are, the easier parenting generally is. true enough, but it doesn'
Mary Anne
Mar 14, 2016 Mary Anne rated it really liked it
Dr. Sears is a reassuring voice of common sense and respect among the dizzying diversity of family and friends' opinion about discipline.
Aug 07, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing
I love anything Dr. Sears puts out. I've read this many times.
May 10, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dr. and Mrs. Sears are kind of insane. But, my main gripe with this book is that the authors make claim after unsubstantiated claim of the harms of not attachment parenting. They even go so far as to say that adults will need "psychological help" if they are not attachment parented. I do understand the benefits of attachment parenting, but the tone of this book is preachy and judgmental. I would have given it one star but there are little nuggets of wisdom in here (after your child serves their ...more
Mar 21, 2016 Quacinda rated it it was amazing
One of the BEST books on parenting I have ever read.
Mar 11, 2010 Shannon rated it liked it
I was trying to get pre-emptive ideas for how to work with a 2 year old, but this book really mostly didn't have that. It had a lot of ideas on how to establish a good relationship with your toddler so you don't have to do a lot of discipline, but most of the discipline was aimed at older children. Which is probably appropriate, it just really didn't help me figure out how to get my daughter to stop hitting me when time out doesn't really seem to work for her yet. I'll have to give it a re-read ...more
Liss Capello
Nov 29, 2011 Liss Capello rated it liked it
I'm not a huge fan of Dr. Sears' writing style, and for something of this sort, I would have benefitted more from a different kind of format: something with bullet points for different discipline techniques, maybe. I came away with a sense that I could do this, but I'd be hard pressed to articulate any specific techniques, or how to apply them. Maybe better for rereading in regards to specific discipline issues (i.e.: what do I do about thumb-sucking! or such).
Sep 22, 2007 Leigh rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Parents
This book is FANTASTIC! I know that all people discipline their children differently, but this book brought new perspectives to me on how a child thinks and what should and should not be expected on a child at particular ages. Understanding this helps to discipline your child in an appropriate, age-specific manner. If you're discipling your child and it either isn't working or you're not feeling right about it, please read this book. You won't regret it!
Jan 21, 2013 Kathryn rated it it was ok
I love the Sears family but their discipline book is not worth it. It's too disjointed, doesn't clearly explain the positive/gentle discipline philosophy, and doesn't give good, concrete examples for how to handle various situations. And some of their advice I just didn't think was good at all. I greatly prefer Easy to Love:Difficult to Discipline and Kids Are Worth It for books that explain the whys and hows of positive/gentle discipline very well.
Jun 09, 2009 Danielle rated it really liked it
I haven't read this the whole way through- it is more of a reference guide or text than anything else. I do like a lot of their ideas. I have had some good luck with some of the things they suggest and will continue to refer to it. They have it all based on 'attachment parenting' and we used some of those ideas with Laneah from day one. We haven't used all of them though, so it is good to take what works.
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Dr. Sears, or Dr. Bill as his "little patients" call him, is the father of eight children as well as the author of over 30 books on childcare. Dr. Bill is an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. Dr. Bill received his pediatric training at Harvard Medical School's Children's Hospital in Boston and The Hospital for Sick Children in T ...more
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