Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach” as Want to Read:
Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  471 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Shifting the intense child to new patterns of success and strengthening all children on the inside.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 21st 2005 by Nurtured Heart Publications (first published January 1st 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Transforming the Difficult Child, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Transforming the Difficult Child

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  471 ratings  ·  61 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Not only has this book helped me understand the psychology of oppositional behavior, which I have been observing in my son for 14 years, it has provided the key to unlocking the mystery of how to parent this child. Since I started reading this book, I have stopped feeling so hopeless and frustrated when trying to parent him because I now know the best way to deal with him. The book has altered my perspective and I'm now seeing and commenting on good things he is doing, rather than the wrong. I t ...more
Ellis Amdur
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is Pollyanna sweetness to this book that drives me up the wall (hence, the 4 star rating). BUT, it is, nonetheless, a wonderful resource for families who have children with behavioral problems. The approach focuses on kids earning points to get privileges, but NOT gold stars that are meaningless. Points are used so that the child becomes responsible for earning all the good things in life through good behavior. It has the best way of imposing consequences that I’ve ever seen, taking into a ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting, favorites
This is a book that one frazzled parent recommends to another. A friend recommended it to me and I recommended it to my sister and another friend, when they called to chat about kids. I’ve read a lot of parenting books over the years, but this is the most practical, confidence-inspiring one I’ve encountered so far. The title, however, is misleading and probably steers too many parents away who would actually benefit from reading it. The very practical, specific advice in this book would be helpf ...more
The Badger
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Nurtured Heart definitely works, but it seems to be an offshoot of Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and the Child Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE) approach. While Nurtured Heart is expensive and time consuming to teach to all staff members in a school or facility, CARE can be taught in a couple one-hour staff meetings. Nurtured Heart is aimed at educators, but fails to take into account the other people children see during their usual day: the custodian, the clerk, the bus driver, th ...more
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
So I have one kid who's autistic and one kid who definitely has sensory issues and may very well be diagnosed with more things when she is older. They are good kids, but the younger especially is a tough kid. A lot of defiance, a lot of testing, control issues, high anxiety, many screaming tantrums that can last an hour, etc. I'm autistic with spd and anxiety too, so we all ended up triggering and exhausting each other, and the older the kids got, the worse it was all getting. I have read a lot ...more
Mistiemae1 Downs
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mistiemae1 by: child psychologist
I was given this book to read after finally visiting a child psychologist to get help dealing with my very intense, difficult son. I was extremely skeptical and resistant at first, but after implementing just the first step of the Nurtured Heart Approach, I saw instant improvement in my child. This in turn gave me confidence that I needed to continue on my parenting journey in a positive, heartfelt direction.

Do not be put off by the title. Though the book is specifically geared towards the "diff
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
After taking a new job as Day Treatment Facilitator for Treatment Resistant Children and working for about a month, frustrated and ready to call it quits, I found this book, read it in it's entirety in one weekend, went back to work on Monday, started applying the techniques and immediately saw changes. Not only was I impressed, but so was my boss and the owner, whom happens to be a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). She read the book and it became the cornerstone of how we run the program ...more
Carey Cavanaugh
Jan 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Doesn't matter what kind of child you have. This is an incredible philosophy that respects and finds successes in children.
Alli Todd
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I will definitely re-read!
Molly Ricks
Sep 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: help-books
I've been reading this book slowly, implementing each step as I learn about it. I've actually seen a big difference in behavior in both of my boys so far.
Brenda Schenck
Mar 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Have begun using this approach at work with all students and have decided to commit to it for the school year to see how it goes.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Main concept: our kids want our energy. If they can’t get it in a positive way, they’ll take negative. We unintentionally end up rewarding bad behaviour by giving more energy to it. Think about asking your kid to put on pajamas: if they do it, you say thanks and move on to the rest of getting ready for bed. That’s pretty low energy and you are moving towards separation. But if kiddo doesn’t put on pajamas? Maybe yelling, wrestling the kid into the pjs - which is much higher energy.

I’ve taken pa
Janelle Kuntz
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Unfortunate title but excellent book for learning how best to parent kiddos with intense, big feelings....."orchid" kids. Repetitive at times but probably necessary to drill these concepts into the parent brain. The Nurtured Heart Approach is just a great philosophy to adhere to for all relationships.
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not sure the Shamu analogy has the same connotation that it did in the pre-Blackfish days, but there's a lot that does still seem to apply since the 2013 update.

I have started using the positive focus and video tape moments with my students. It occurs to me that this really is rewarding and worthwhile for all kids. And really, all adults. What can it hurt to honestly tell someone that they're doing things well? Plus it is affirming to take time to focus on what is going well in my class instead
Catherine Gillespie
Jan 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
I read Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach after seeing it recommended as a resource for calm and effective parenting (particularly about getting kids through their homework without fuss, although the book is more comprehensive than just that!). It took me a bit to get past the title. I don’t refer to my children as “difficult,” nor do I find that title helpful even in kids who are difficult. The authors use the term “intense” in a couple of places, and I wish they woul ...more
Derek Jones
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Some children don't respond to traditional parenting well. They have some combination of low attention, low empathy, attraction to risk, and high energy that makes them an exhausting and sometimes embarrassing undertaking. I've attended Dr. Glasser's classes, which cover much of the same material here in this book, and he does a great job of pointing out that these personality attributes don't have to be negative -- but they do have to be managed differently.

The techniques do work! However, with
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Can I just say 'wow!' I have read many parenting books and have felt they all had merit, but never successfully implemented the ideas presented. This book, while just read and not implemented yet, has the most promising premise for parenting I have ever read. While written for parents of 'difficult' children, I think it would work for any child and possibly any adult that you interact with often. How can you go wrong with focusing on the positives, no matter how small? We all need positive reinf ...more
Aug 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
What I mostly got from this book was a better understanding of the emotional dynamics between parent and child when a child is acting out. It helped me to see some counterintuitive ways that I could help my child (and myself) gain self-control. This is not a book specifically for adoptive parents, but many adoptive parents of older children may find it helpful.

The book recommends eventually instituting a very structured points system for helping a child to gain privileges or treats from good beh
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
I don't agree with everything in the book, but it has made a big difference in how I correct my 11 yo son's behavior and his response to correction. I would recommend it for every parent of an Autistic child for sure, and for parents of difficult children as well. I wish it were possible for teachers to adapt this model in public schools, but it is so different that I don't think it would work with all children in class and would take so much time of the regular classroom teacher, but I think it ...more
James Andersen
Jun 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I give this book 4-stars, not five, only because it is somewhat hard to read, but the message of the content is great! If its content weren't so repetitive, which might allow the book to be just one-third its size, I would definitely give the book 5-stars. Regardless of the flaw, the book is well worth your read. A child's well-being, after all, is at stake!

I might add, the book's title is a bit misleading because the book isn't necessarily about difficult children, but rather about parents who
Christina Zable
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Recommended by Rachel Gollub.

The upshot of this book is, give as much of your praise and energy as you can to your kids when they're doing what you want, and as little energy as possible when they aren't. We're applying this in our family and, I think, seeing some positive results. Four stars instead of five because the book is very booster-ish and pleased with itself, and because I could have used more details on what to do with unwanted behaviors than just "ignore them" (e.g. when my kid is t
Sep 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
I didn't get through the whole book, although these types of books are difficult for me to complete. I liked the overall concept of changing how you interact with your child to make it more nurturing and supportive, but some of the suggested reward system is just too complicated. We tried it a bit when our daughter was younger and we all basically lost interest. There are too many parameters to track and too many tally points to mark up and count. A simpler system based on the same concept would ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't think I have a child I would label "difficult," but this has been a year about learning how my child works and how to support his learning. This book seemed like it would have some useful strategies, and it did! I love the emphasis on positivity and mindfulness and empathy, with the idea of applying positive energy and attention in working with your child (or any child!). The strategies here are ones that anyone can benefit from, and I think they are ones that can help build better commu ...more
Aug 21, 2016 rated it liked it
The first part of the book, which talked about acknowledging positive behaviors and not reacting emotionally to negative behaviors, made a lot of sense. The consequence system (e.g. time-outs, delivered neutrally) seemed like a reasonable strategy for many, although we haven't had much luck with time-outs in our house. The reward points system seemed waaay too complicated and I don't really like the notion that all things other than what's needed for life are privileges that can only be earned a ...more
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Out of desperation i bought this book.. Wasnt even sure if it would work. My son is 9 and I really thought he would scoff at the techniques this book teaches you. I can say it is honestly working. Its not easy to remain calm and consistent but this approach makes complete sense and he actually looks forward to earning points. I find that when i slip into my old ways of giving in and also yelling- his behavior also reverts. But if u stick withthe concept you WILL see a difference fast. I wish i s ...more
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I didn't actually read this entire book, but I read enough to put the first few steps in action, and those steps helped with my difficult child tremendously. I can already tell this is one of those parenting books I'll reach for again and again to reread sections. If you are dealing with a difficult child, pulling your hair out, and nothing you have tried is improving her behavior, this is a great book. You may feel a little silly implementing some of the steps, but they WORK! A good friend whos ...more
Angelica McMurtray
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I wish I didn't have to have a reason to read this book... But, I read it and it is a great approach! I've read a ton of parenting and child psychology books and this is one of my faves. The basic gist: do not give any attention, focus, or energy on the negative stuff. It's positive reinforcement on steroids. They introduce a credit system. It's hard to stay consistent, but I feel that this is helping :)
Liz Jones
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
LOVE this book. I have read many parenting books, this is the only one has had a positive shift in our house. My frustration levels have dropped significantly and my kids feel great about the the positive choices they make because those choices are acknowledged.
Highly recommend this book for every parent. "For the difficult child" maybe...but works great for all kids. They have a great website too you can find through Google
Sep 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I won't know exactly what I think about it until I read some more on the topic. It seemed to have some good insights about how it is easy to encourage problem behavior rather than good behavior with our attention, but was also more New-Agey and self-esteem-focused than I would have liked.
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome. It is really helping us as stressed out parents! We need some guidance. It is really positive and works as soon as you start using the methods. It makes our home a peaceful place. Our daughter loves it.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Parenting the Hurt Child : Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow
  • Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children
  • I Love You Rituals
  • Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Integration Issues
  • Direct Social Work Practice: Theory and Skills [With Infotrac]
  • Journey Of The Adopted Self: A Quest For Wholeness
  • Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure
  • Hearts at Home (Heavenly Daze, #5)
  • How Clean Is Your House?: Hundreds of Handy Tips to Make Your Home Sparkle
  • Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft
  • The Explosive Child
  • Growing Up Mindful: Essential Practices to Help Children, Teens, and Families Find Balance, Calm, and Resilience
  • We Belong Together: A Book About Adoption and Families
  • Meditation As Medicine: Activate the Power of Your Natural Healing Force
  • Your Child's Growing Mind: A Guide to Learning and Brain Development from Birth to Adolescence
  • Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected
  • Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children
  • Your Ten to Fourteen Year Old
See similar books…