Recommendations for a Good Parenting/discipline Book

Updated on August 17, 2009
J.M. asks from Chandler, AZ
6 answers

My two boys have gone through a lot of changes over the last two years between a divorce, a move across country and then back to AZ, me going back to work, me going back to SAHM, new relationships for both mom and dad, new siblings on both sides, plus their step mom is sick...a lot and I'm sure it affects their time over at their dads. They are about to go through some more tough times with more changes at their dads house. I have the boys 4-5 days a week and lately 5-6 because of things going on at their dads. I stay home with them but I do watch a few kids here and there through out the week to supplement income. We try to make this a fun house (with boundaries) and are very active in our kids lives. Their step dad is the most amazing man I've ever encountered and is always involved with the kids when he's not working.

Both of my boys are very strong willed, energetic and loveable. Lately I've been struggling with my 4.5 listening to directions and following through. Often, he just outright disobeys right in front of me, tells me no, or throws a fit. He'll even look at me and continue on like he's in control even though he always gets disciplined for that. I've tried all the classic discipline techniques and am feeling hopeless. My 2.5 is about the equivalent of 2 or 3 kids. He's is so strong willed, defiant, energetic and LOUD. He is exhausting. He doesn't listen at all and thinks it's funny when he disobeys or does something mean like take a toy from another child. For both I've tried time out, time out in their beds, spanking, talking at their level, etc. For my oldest I've also tried writing out everyday priveledges on a tongue depresser stick. I decorated them with foam flowers and bugs and put them in a little clay pot. When his behavior warrants it, he loses a stick. That means he loses that priveledge for the day. Examples include, a special drink at dinner other than water, going to bed at the same time as the older kids vs. going to bed with the 2 year olds, no nap for the day, etc. This hasn't really helped either. I need advice on how to get them both on track. They are both loveable and good kids...IF they wanted to be. Has anyone read a good book on child behavior/discipline that changed their lives for the better? What have some of you tried? I am so frustrated and exhausted from them and I'm beginning to be angry all the time and I've noticed I'm losing my patience and yelling too often. HELP!

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answers from Phoenix on

Hi J., We are also in a blended family...and the poor kids...they have SO much to deal with...all the different houses, and relatives, and friends of the family, school, different rules, etc. And no matter how wonderful their step dad is...they want "mom and dad" to be together, no matter what. My ex has my 2 kids every other weekend. They ALL have xbox's in every room, that's ALL they do ALL weekend when he has them. We DO NOT have any game boxes or even a computer for that matter and try to have true "family time" on the weekends that we have the kids. I have heard the book 123 Magic is good as well as Love and Logic. We will be getting one of these to try ourselves. These kids are young and do not understand your 'adult' life. You just need to be patient with them and really show them love, extra love, all the time. You can also google "blended families" and a bunch of articles pop up. They are very good to read too. I guess I mostly want to say I understand, I have been going thru it too...I hope you find something that works...if you want someone to chat with that is in the same situation, email me anytime, my email addres is [email protected] luck..I feel for you! ~F.

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answers from Phoenix on

I have three grown children and I direct a preschool in Tempe. I've had much experience with children and the author I love to recommend is Dr. Kevin Leman. He is faith-based, and oh-so-practical. He deals with "reasonable and logical consequences." He has several books, all of which are good! "Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours" is an older one, and might be under a new title now, but it's definitely worth the read. Do a search of him and see what you come up with.
Blessings to you on this journey!



answers from Phoenix on

I was impressed how a friend handled her son's defiance and she gave me her book 123 Magic and I found it very helpful for me to learn to stay calm and consistent with my boys who are now 3 & 6.



answers from Phoenix on

1-2-3 Magic is a great book for discipline no matter the age group



answers from Phoenix on

I would recommend any Love and Logic books. I've read most of the younger child parenting books...great stuff!



answers from Phoenix on

I HIGHLY recommend taking Love and Logic classes. You can call the Love and Logic company at 800-588-5644 to get the contact info for people who teach classes in your area (I just called and a real person answered right away and was very helpful). Or if you're in Arizona, go to for our local facilitator. I loved taking Keri's classes.

The Love and Logic approach is all about tough love--being firm and consistent in letting children suffer the natural (logical) consequences of their actions, while doing so in a very gentle and loving way, having true empathy in your heart. My mom parented this way, and I really appreciate my upbringing. I feel she was a very effective and loving parent who helped prepare us for the real world. And make sure you choose your battles carefully and avoid being too controlling. This is a struggle for me, but I realize these toddler years are a dress rehearsal for teenagedom and this is a great time for me to practice letting go of the small things.

If classes aren't available near you, check out some Love and Logic materials at the local library for free or buy them at Here are some I recommend: a seminar on DVD "Painless Parenting for the Preschool Years," the book "Parenting with Love and Logic." They also have some great CDs full of wonderful advice and real-life applications that you can listen to in the car while driving.
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