SMART DISCIPLINE: Fast, Lasting Solutions for Your Peace of Mind and Your Child's Self-Esteem

Larry J. Koenig, Author
Larry J. Koenig, Author . HarperCollins $23.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-621239-5
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Parents of children ages four to 16 are sure to devour this book, if not from cover to cover, at least through the first section where Koenig outlines the Smart Discipline method. Koenig, father of five, founder of the national adolescent self-esteem program Up With Youth, and a family therapist, offers parents a simple approach to getting their children to act right. Koenig directs readers to link their children's most irritating behaviors to their favorite activities, so that being able to do the latter depends on improving the former. This relationship should be illustrated in a prominently posted daily or weekly chart that tracks the child's behavior. There's nothing new about this general approach—it's the rigidly systematized charts themselves, which should be used consistently and automatically, that will, according to the author, eliminate the need for nagging, threats and lecturing. Once parents have dealt with behavior problems, they can nurture constructive relationships that boost self-esteem. In the remainder of the book, Koenig urges parents to find their child's "center of brilliance" and identify his or her strengths. Koenig gives Smart Discipline seminars regularly, an experience that seems to have influenced his writing style, which has a kind of chirpiness that is sometimes off-putting in print. Even with this shortcoming, the book has much to offer exasperated parents. (Apr. 2)

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