Positive Discipline: The First Three Years: From Infant to Toddler--Laying the Foundation for Raising a Capable, Confident Child
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Positive Discipline: The First Three Years: From Infant to Toddler--Laying the Foundation for Raising a Capable, Confident Child

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  436 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Make a Difference During the Most Important Years of Your Child's Life
The months leading up to the birth of a child are filed with joy, dreams, plans—and a few worries. As a caring parent, you want to start your child out in life on the proper foundation. But where do you go for the answers to such questions as: How do I communicate with an infant who doesn't understand wo...more
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Published March 27th 2007 by Harmony (first published 1998)
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This book says that any negative disciple will place self doubt and poor self esteem in kids. It does not recommend time out, spanking or saying NO. It tells to lead by example. For instance, if your child tries to play with the stereo, instead of saying no, redirect them to their toys, even if it takes 1,000 times. I don't have a toddler but I don't know very many people with the time or patience to do what this author says.
Positive Discipline's ideas and advice about raising children really feels right for me as a parent. Their most basic point is to have a consistent "kind but firm" manner when disciplining your child - kind to show that you validate their feelings and respect them as their own person, but firm to let them know you mean business. On a day to day level this approach really takes lots of patience, but when doing it, and seeing it work, it just feels right. Another strong point they make is that whe...more
This book was great in parts, disappointing in others. Nothing new, really, but lots of good reminders of what is helpful and what is self-defeating in dealing with toddlers. I think the biggest disappointment for me about the book is the authors' apparent attitude toward childcare. They seemed to be advocating a child being in a high-quality childcare center over being at home with the mother. At the very least, they presented them as equally good choices.

To me, this really discredits them. It...more
Ch. 4: "A word about attachment...Erik Erikson found that an infant's development of a sense of trust in the first year of life is directly related to a mother's sense of trust in herself."

Ch. 5: Temperament

Activity level

Rhythmicity - how consistent & predictable a child's eating, sleeping, bowel movements

Approach or withdrawal


Sensory threshold

Quality of Mood

Intensity of reactions


Persistence and attention span

Ch. 9: Self Reliance & Confidence

"Children under the...more
missy lambert
Why do I keep reading parenting books? I don't like them that much. I'm usually just reading to find someone who validates my own ideas about how I should parent--and I'll never find a perfect match, because nobody else has ever had my daughter. I know her best and I need to trust my intuition. So if I'm just going to tune out the parenting books as soon as they say something I don't already know, what's the point in reading them?!

Still...the I'm-almost-2-years-old-now-and-I'm-mad-that-you-don't...more
It will make you think differently about your child's "misbehavior". The main theme of the book is that kids learn (and their brains develop) through exploration and play. Kids that seem like they are acting out or being bad when they hit or get into things are usually just exploring their bodies and their surroundings. They are developing ideas about what they are capable of. Kids need guidance with rules, but they can be taught good behaviors without punishment and actually turn out better dev...more
I had to stop when I got to the chapter on eating. Are these authors for real? This is an actual line in the book: "La Leche League suggests expressing (that is, pumping) breast milk into a bottles and freezing it (it looks like milky dishwater) . . .". Really??? Dishwater???? Goes on to say "keeping babies on the bottle or breast after they are ready to stop may squelch the first blossoming of their sense of autonomy.". Huh?? I'd like to meet a child that is forced to breastfeed after they are...more
I like this book. In fact, some of the strategies have helped already, such as redirection, distraction, turning tasks into a game (we picked up crayons so they could "hide" in the box) and just laughing together. I also like the info on the different types of temperaments, I thought there were only 3, difficult, medium, and easy. ha ha!

My only beef with the book is the sleep chapter. It tells you that to be a good parent and show love you must let your children cry it out to sleep if they won't...more
Definitely one of the more reality-based parenting books I've read in that it's actively willing to acknowledge and engage with the idea that most parents aren't living the breastfeeding-til-preschool, stay-at-home-parent, organic-crunchy-Etsy-nursery ideal. Most parenting books take great pains to point out that this ideal and remind parents that if those ideals aren't being met, well, you're already behind the eight ball and you should really go and fix those things before trying to proceed fu...more
Aban (Aby)
I bought this book for my daughter who was expecting her first baby in February, but I read it before passing it on to her!

The approach to child rearing in this book is EXCELLENT. It is based on creating trust and bonding. Its approach is, above all, one of respect. It aims at guiding a child towards independence and social skills. The goal of the Positive Discipline approach is to empower a child, at every stage, by making him/her feel loved and valued, by helping the child feel competent and c...more
The book was barely about discipline- there was really only one chapter about it, but it still had some good information and gets you to think more about your child's point of view before getting upset at them and about letting them be involved in what your doing and help them to become more independent by helping them find solutions to their problems with your prompting. I wish they provided more examples to show the discipline concepts they talked about. The beginning of the book referenced st...more
This is a discipline book that I feel I can actually implement daily. As a main point, it says to use a combination of kindness and firmness when disciplining your child, in all areas. It also emphasizes that I need to be aware of what my children are capable of understanding developmentally, and then tailor my approach.

Also, it says that you can't force a child to do anything (eat, sleep, potty-train, etc.). Instead, kindly and firmly guide the child to decide to do those things on his own. Th...more
Heather Clark
This book is not what I expected. I wanted a book with a whole lot of hands on "do this, not this" sort of tips with a little bit of theory. This books is a WHOLE lot of theory (albeit, good theory), with the expectation that you'll figure out how to apply that theory.

Maybe my brain is just slow these days....but I need it spelled out for me, not me left to draw conclusions.
Jul 09, 2012 Crystal rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents
Shelves: baby-books
This book contains some fascinating observations from experts about how the mind of a child works. It also classifies nine temperaments, which were an especially interesting way to understand my child's behavior in certain situations.

I'm taking away quite a few helpful ideas and tips!
I read 50-70% of this book and couldn't spend time on anymore. My goals in parenting are similar: confident, capable kid. We are here to help them learn and positive methods are very powerful in doing that. (Thus, why I picked this up. A few more tools are always helpful.)

My basic beliefs about children are opposite. This book believes toddlers never misbehave, do not understand no, and cannot be taught to obey. They are simply exploring and learning. I disagree. The lack of any punishment is ha...more
Loved it, especially the practical examples!
First, I want to say that this isn't really a discipline book, so if you're expecting that, you will likely be disappointed. The authors explain why discipline at such a young age is not only difficult, but frequently counterproductive, as the toddler is unlikely to grasp what you're saying or why they're being reprimanded. This book is really about understanding the different stages of development babies and toddlers go through, and then using that knowledge to help guide children toward approp...more
Leandra Cate
As with most parenting books, I got a few good ideas from this one but I have to give it one star because of the false information on breastfeeding/weaning and contradictory attitude toward sleep.

Good stuff: Instead of 'NO' try to think of what you want your child to do instead. I have found this tip quite useful. Also the emphasis on offering choices (which of course I've seen elsewhere) is a good reminder - though it doesn't always go as neatly as the authors suggest.

Bad Stuff: Um, no, your...more
Alexis Pullen
May 17, 2008 Alexis Pullen rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beginners in childhood development
So far, this book is really just a review of things that I already know from both my education and from being a parent. It's a good, basic intro to how to deal with young kids, and merges lots of theories of social psychology and development. For the most part, the advice is kind of a no-brainer and some of the examples they use are a bit mellow-dramatic. (Who on earth would mistake a creative toddler telling you about a lion in the back yard for fibbing? Then spank them? You've got to be kiddin...more
I agree wholeheartedly with much of what this book is conveying--the under-three set isn't "bad" when misbehaving but expressing emotions in experimental ways, in the only ways he or she knows, in ways that follow the example of adults, etcetera. The ways we've been dealing with things we don't want our just-turned-one-year-old to do is essentially what this book has suggested--redirecting, encouraging and such. While I can't say I've never yelled or said NO!, I try not to do so, and I believe s...more
This book changed my whole life, but also it just helped name how my life already was. This is, in my opinion, the most peaceful structured way to raise a child- positive enforcement, redirection, avoiding "no"...but the individual tactics are what you'll learn when reading the book. I'll just say this: I have never encountered a more joyful child-rearing program, and I doubt I will. Because I'm done looking- this is the one for me, that I was trying to do on my own. Now I don't have to go it al...more
I previously read Positive Discipline for Preschoolers: For Their Early Years - Raising Children Who Are Responsible, Respectful, and Resourceful, for guidance with my eldest. I decided to read this one for his sister. (I never read the original, Positive Discipline). This provided the same information but tailored to a different age. This was sometimes helpful, but mostly it was overkill if you read other PD books. It still has value, though, because it puts PD in a slightly different context....more
Roslyn Ross
This book said nothing new and I didn't care for the organization.... but it might have been better than baby whisperer toddler years and there were a few good ideas/reminders:
-when baby pulls hair, kindly and quickly put him down and leave room for one minute
-when breaking habits, like bottles, pacifiers or lovies, you can limit times of day child is allowed instead of quitting cold turkey
-time outs should not be punishments but a way to help kid understand feelings and calm down so he can make...more
Sheila Derr
Jul 31, 2008 Sheila Derr rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents or educators of young children
This book was recommended as part our (my husband and I) adoption. A little over a year ago we had read a book on positive dog training, so we were well-prepared to dig into the principles behind 'positive discipline'. So far, the book has been very helpful in highlighting the development of young children and why the time-honored ideas of time-outs and other common discipline tools do not work. They exchange these ideas for the ideas of modeling respect, utilizing redirection and distraction, a...more
I think the positive discipline theory works best for this age group. Cognitively, children under three don't respond well to other forms of discipline. Unfortunately, the main form of discipline that is promoted in this book is redirection. I got this book in hopes of finding ways to stop my daughter from biting; this book didn't really give me any answers besides "it's a stage". The one good take-away I did get is that my daughter is developing normally and her behavior that I consider misbeha...more
I thought this was a pretty helpful book in making me reflect what approach to take in disciplining children. These are all theories for me so far, and I will see if they're actually useful in practice. There are a few things in the book I disagree with, particularly the extreme negativity toward television and video games. While I don't intend to keep the TV on all the time, I have to say that much of my knowledge of Chinese history today comes from Chinese historical dramas I watched growing u...more
The book speaks more toward changing parental behavior rather than the toddler's. It makes sense since parental stresses and fears are projected onto kids making matters worse. There is advice on discipline but it's, "Have patience," and "Distract the child from problem areas" because they predominantly understand your actions rather than words. Plus, there are nice reminders to: take a deep breath, enjoy the moments, and make your time with your child fun.

Only one quote stuck with me. It's in r...more
I'm all there on Jane Nelsen's ideas--offering toddlers choices, not spanking, positive time-out for kids over 2--though the execution is a bit weak here. The text is repetitive and overly simplified (this could easily have been half as long), and the examples of behavior NOT to emulate were so extreme that I wondered who she thought her audience was. I mean, who needs to be told, if they picked up a book called "Positive Discipline," that you shouldn't spank your two-year-old for lying when he...more
Sarah Becker
Another book I'm so glad I read! Really disproves some of the conventional discipline stuff (punishment, time out, "no", etc) that it seems everyone does, and that I'm sure I would have defaulted to assuming it was totally harmless. Not that most kids won't grow up to be functional adults with conventional discipline, but the author maintains there are gentler (and more effective!) routes. I really feel empowered to follow their kind/firm model and learned a TON about how to discipline according...more
I got some useful tips from this, and we'll see how they play out. The approaches in this book are friendly to all sorts of parents and all sorts of children. I especially appreciated the description of "positive" time-outs and teaching children to share.

But why, oh why, must books about childhood discipline weigh in on issues like breastfeeding and sleep? In particular, the breastfeeding and weaning advice in this book is just so ridiculously outdated and bad. Luckily, I doubt anyone reads disc...more
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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 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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