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Positive Discipline

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  2,310 ratings  ·  217 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
Paperback, 349 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Ballantine Books (first published 1981)
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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,310 ratings  ·  217 reviews

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Sep 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
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
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm a yeller. It's one of the things I hate about myself as a parent. But this book has legitimately helped me shift away from my crazytown.
Seth Roskos
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Robert Whitcomb
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Daniel L.
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baby
I borrowed this from the library; now I'm going to buy it so I can highlight and return to it often.
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it

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
Michael Escalante
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
The writing is certainly nothing special and many of her ideas felt pat and underdeveloped, but I thought this book was highly practical and personally relevant. I've realized that I could be a much better Father and that I have stopped doing some things that were once habit. In general I need to do better at processing behavioral challenges AFTER emotions subside. My children are in no place to learn from mistakes when their emotions are still high (or worse - when my emotions are high). I can ...more
Aug 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I probably would have gotten more from this book if I didn't teach lower elementary students in a departmentalized setting. I can adapt the activities for the little people, but the daily circle routine won't work well for us.
Jeanette Lukens
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book, I learned a lot, and the strategies are already very helpful.
Sep 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Sarah Stewart
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had a few bad experiences with parenting books when my son was a baby and I was dealing with postpartum depression, and I swore off parenting books completely. It finally got to the point that it was impossible to deny that I didn't know what I was doing when it came to boundaries and discipline. I talked to another Mom who told me about this book and I felt like I got a lifeline. She said that it centered around the idea of treating children with respect. I'd thought my choices were to either ...more
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting, 2014
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
Tanya W
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
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
Ben Paulson
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Took a while to read, but this is a great book for parents (and teachers too). I wouldn't necessarily recommend it before having kids, but as our son is now 4 so many of the examples begin to ring true. You can clearly see how your own biases and frustrations can translate into how you approach discipline for your child and this book really helps to re-frame the picture. Will have to read this again in the future to more fully incorporate some of the teaching involved. highly recommended!
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
This is like no other parenting book I've ever read. The parenting philosophies come closer to the way I WANT to parent than anything else. I just need to practice now. I have found that when I use the techniques discussed in this book, EVERYONE in my house is happier. Including me. This book came at the perfect juncture in my life. I feel like it was perhaps divine intervention that led me to this book.
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A great parenting book with so many useful tools. I think I need to re-read this book because it was chalk full of great parenting ideas. I will have to retrain myself as a parent to raise my kids a little better.
Sammy Barnes
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Good Book! I agree. It doesn't have to be a power struggle. Putting the decision of the outcome into the child's hands is key.
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Now to implement the concepts. I'll definitely be re-reading this again.
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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!
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A must read for parents!
Nyssa Hoerner
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional
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.
ruth ann christensen
must read for every parent
Aug 03, 2017 rated it liked it
One of the concepts repeated in this book is that discipline is not about consequences it is about solutions. The point of discipline, Jane Nelsen believes, is to motivate change, not shame or criticize the child. Nelsen’s criteria for effective discipline is as follows:

Positive Discipline Criteria
1) Is it kind and firm? (respectful and encouraging)
2) Does it help children feel a sense of belonging and significance? (connection)
3) Is if effective long term? (Punishment works short-term, but with
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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.
“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.” 2 likes
“You can’t make another person treat you with respect, but you can treat yourself with respect. Walking away is treating yourself with respect—and” 2 likes
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