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Positive Discipline for Preschoolers: For Their Early Years--Raising Children Who are Responsible, Respectful, and Resourceful
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Positive Discipline for Preschoolers: For Their Early Years--Raising Children Who are Responsible, Respectful, and Resourceful

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  760 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
Caring for young children is one of the most challenging tasks an adult will ever face. No matter how much you love your child, there will be moments filled with frustration, anger, and even desperation. There will also be questions: Why does my four-year-old deliberately lie to me? Why won’t my three-year-old listen to me? Should I ever spank my preschooler when she is di ...more
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Published March 27th 2007 by Harmony (first published 1994)
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Feb 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because you can’t highlight in a library book:
- Children have four basic needs: 1) a sense of belonging and significance, 2) perceptions of capability, 3) personal power and autonomy, 4) social and life skills. pg. 9
- Let children calm down and catch their breath before trying to solve a problem. "Children do better when they feel better." pg. 21
- "Mistakes are opportunities to learn" for both children and adults. pg. 36
- "If you want your child to be truthful, you must be willing to listen, to
Sep 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mommy-baby-books
A great book, but a little too redundant. Could have been much shorter, especially since its written for parents of preschool children who generally don't have a lot of time. The general idea and theory in the book is very positive and focused on loving your child and seeing through their mind. The reading is a little too light at times. I would have liked more scientific reasoning behind why children do what they do and think how they think. I think this book is a very good addition to Dr. Sear ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting-books
I like the concept that one of the biggest things you can do for your child to help discipline them and help give them self-confidence and independence is to teach them skills. The more your child is able to do without your help, the happier they are because they feel more autonomous and less reliant on others. I've absolutely seen this with with my son - this is a huge reason why parenting him has become easier the older he's gotten (he was 2.5 years when I read this book). Him being verbal and ...more
Marci Antoniuk
Dec 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had a lot of helpful ideas. I appreciated learning what I can reasonably expect from my two year old and what will take more time to develop. I also liked the philosophy of looking at the end game, how my goal isn't to have a child who (grudgingly)follows rules to escape punishment, but to look at what traits I want my son to have as an adult, and work toward that end. Because of this idea I've stopped using time outs, and instead we have a sheet of cool down ideas on the fridge to hel ...more
I waffle between a 3 and 4 on this one. I found the perspective aligned with my ideals (not that I am always great about doing what I think I should!): children can learn to respect while being treated with respect themselves; children behave better when they feel better; children are misguided, not misbehaving. Sometimes I am the one that needs to go to timeout, and not the kids.

What I still find myself wondering about at the end is how to encourage a 3-year old to "solve her own problems with
Jun 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I take all parenting books with a grain of salt, but this one caused me to take pause and reconsider some of the things that I'm currently doing. Not saying that I'm doing a complete overhaul on my approach to civilize my children, but this book makes some great points that I agree with...I had a few light bulb moments! While I would recommend reading the whole book, at a minimum read Chapters 11-15 which focuses on the differences between punishment and discipline...most of us use the two words ...more
May 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
I love all the positive discipline books, but this one is particularly special because it helps parents understand the stage of life preschoolers are in and how to relate to them. They are not mini-adults. They think totally differently, and I think the author does a good job of helping parents get in their kid's head. Also, I love the positive approach to trying to understand why a child is acting out instead of just using power to control the situation.
Not to try to get into a power struggle with a two year old.
Ginger Leroy
Common sense approach.
Jan 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Hey parents! let's sit and write about our own methods and experience. These books are so boring!
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I could, I would rate this 4.5 stars. Ultimately, I think this book helped me change my perspective on parenting in great ways. There were some things that I didn't like, but I feel like the good ideas far outweigh the bad ones.

What I liked:
This book inspired me more than ever to view my children as little human beings with genuine feelings. So many times, we get caught up in trying to establish authority and we think we can just treat them however we want in order to accomplish that. We migh
May 09, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really found this book laughable. I'm sure it was written by someone who had only one or two children. Its methods are highly impractical, and often I found myself laughing as I imagined integrating them into my daily life. For example, instead of sending a child who misbehaves into "time-out", the author suggests we ASK them if they need to go to their "feel-good place." If they say "no, Mom, I really don't want to, so there," we are supposed to offer to go with them. Even then, they have the ...more
Susie Nazzaro
This books offers an incredibly helpful and effective philosophy for raising young kids. It is also unfortunately an extremely repetitive, not entirely well-written book. It is absolutely worth reading if you have a pre-schooler or are a teacher of young kids, but you do not need to read every page to get the full value of the practices that this book offers. Definitely read the intro chapter, chapter 3 on developmental appropriateness, and chapter 5 on initiative. Chapter 9 is extremely helpful ...more
Mar 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because a friend of mine uses this parenting approach, and it seems effective. The premise is that you can discipline misbehavior in your child in non-punitive ways if you are coming from a place of mutual respect, you focus on solutions instead of punishment and you handle things with both kindness and firmness. There is a lot of focus on understanding where your child is coming from developmentally, which helps you discipline from a place of empathy rather than authority. ...more
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My neighbor let me borrow this book. There are several books in this series for different age groups. This book had lots of good ideas. I had to take notes so that I could refer back to them when I am slipping into my old ways. The big ideas I took from this book were to try to see the world through the eyes of your preschooler and how things appear to them. They are experience driven when we as adults tend to function in a task or goal-oriented way (Process vs. Product) I also liked how it expr ...more
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written for parents, teachers, and care-givers of kids up to age 5, it focuses on disciplining (the root word meaning TEACHING, not PUNISHING) children positively. I love learning about positive discipline; I wish I was an expert at implementing it! This book's teaching is so Love and Logic. I was about to re-read L&L, but this one stood out to me in the library. It focuses on disciplining with respect, being kind but firm, getting into your child's world (figuring out why she is misbehaving ...more
Sep 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
I liked that this book focused on the ways that we can use logical/natural consequences to teach, and that prevention is most effective for discipline. The focus on conversations and respect for children are ones that I have implemented. I am also trying out more discussions about consequences with my preschooler.

However, I didn't agree that time-out is not appropriate until age 3 and that all battles can be prevented through discussions and rule-setting. Some tantrums are inevitable and hurtin
Jul 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
This was more like a 3.5. There is some really helpful information, but it reads like a diet book. They spend WAY too much time talking you into wanting their advice instead of just giving it. If I'm reading a parenting book you can safely assume that I need the help.

Other than that, I liked the behavior problems that were covered and specific ways to address them. The narratives about age-appropriate expectations and reasons a child might display that behavior gave me a way to re-frame some th
Mary Havens
So, this book is a little conflicting for me. On the one hand, I feel like I need constant reminders on how to be a better parent so the therapy bills will be less in the future. On the other hand, I felt that the book was a little "if you follow these methods, and all the other methods we discuss in our book series and classes for a low price of" or infomercial-ly. I still photocopied a list of child reactions, reasons behind them, and how you should handle it and intend to post it on my fridge ...more
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I bought both this book and the original Positive Discipline book, and they've changed my daily experience and level of parenting frustration in under two weeks.

By teaching a system that you can apply to any situation, where you treat your children kindly but firmly, Jane Nelson armed me with confidence that left me always knowing what to do rather than wanting to run back and reference a parenting book for specific situations.

I'd recommend this to absolutely any parent or te
Sandy Champagne
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. I had been sort of lost in disciplining my days-from-four years old son. None of the tactics put forth in Positive Discipline for One to Three Years Old were working anymore so I was falling back on yelling, nagging, and taking away toys. I now have a full toolbox again, thanks to this book. I have been putting some of the suggestions to use with great results! I will be annotating earmarked pages and trying more of the suggestions. This is definitely a book to revisit dur ...more
Oct 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents, prospective parents
As these types of books sometimes are, I found that this can be overly simplistic at times. The general message ("Misbehavior is caused by a lack of feeling accepted and is solved NOT by punitive measures by increasing acceptance") is a good one, but does not explain everything as the authors might have you believe. On the other hand, it has already improved my interactions with my 3-year-old, and I definitely see a benefit. While the theory may or may not be accurate, there are many practical p ...more
Marcelle Winn
Jan 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents of pre-schoolers
Recommended to Marcelle by: New Book Shelf @ Library
I highly recommend this to all parents & caregivers of a preschool-age child. Great reminders about the intellectual and emotional development of our little ones and what motivates their behavior. I picked this up off the shelf because I felt like Parker and I were in a constant tug-of-war over just about everything (my 4.5 yr-old son) - taking a bath, getting dressed, etc. We incorporated just a couple of the ideas and really have noticed a much more positive, happy exchange between family ...more
May 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This overlapped with my parenting philosophy enough to be helpful. Reminded me that children really are little people that are emotionally sensitive to our discipline choices. Though Jonas frequently reminds me anyway--"Mommy, you hurt my feelings." But it didn't quite answer my main question about the best way to respond/deal with inappropriate behavior when there are still two other young children about. Most of their suggestions would work best in a single child home, so...I guess it's still ...more
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A lot of the ideas in this book are fine....they go along the lines of my preferred book - "Setting limits with your strong-willed child"

The key ideas of logical consequences are good, but the idea of "time-out" as used in this book is laughable as some others have noted. They also don't work when you have lots of kids!

In general there are some good tips here, but some ideas are definitely off the mark. I suggest taking this book with a grain of salt.

Dec 07, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay so I love this book because I really needed some help as a mom on a certain problem I was having with my preschooler and this book met that need. You know when you open up a book and feel like it was written for you?? That was this book in many ways. In my child developement class in college we used this book a lot but it was great to read it as a mom. Like any self help book you have to take from it what works for you, and I was able to take a lot from this book.
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Positive Discipline for Preschoolers all the stuff I learned in college and in the few years I taught suddenly came back to me. It's funny what lack of sleep does to your brain. I knew all this stuff, but definitely needed to be reminded. This book is great and I have already notice a difference in myself on how I handle different situations with my kids. In turn, I have noticed a difference in them.
Jan 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book from the library because it was recommended in Wild Things as a good resource. I have really appreciated it and have added to my wish list of books to own. This book is a practical guide for raising children rather than just being a book of good theories. I find I need practical help right now.
Oct 16, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Most of this book seemed to me like common sense. What didn't, I found I've already learned reading other parenting books. In short, preschoolers are hard and fun all at the same time. They are learning who they are and how to get along in this world. Nothing new there. I did find some good reminders, so it wasn't a total waste of time though. :)
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Good ideas, good reminders for me as a parent. Preschoolers are oftentimes just testing their limits because they don't know what acceptable behavior is yet and it's up to you to teach them in a loving way. Children have nothing to gain from permissive parenting, they need boundaries to protect their safety and make sure they grow up into nice adults.
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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...
“If you are tempted to “teach” your child by guilt, shame, or punishment, you will be creating discouraging beliefs that are difficult to reverse in adulthood.” 1 likes
“The challenge of parenting lies in finding the balance between nurturing, protecting, and guiding, on one hand, and allowing your child to explore, experiment, and become an independent, unique person, on the other.” 0 likes
More quotes…