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

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

by Larry J. Koenig

Would you like your kids to follow the rules the first time you ask, without backtalk, bickering, or screaming matches? Now, the creator of the most popular parenting seminar in the United States explains his amazingly simple, stunningly effective system of discipline that enables parents to help children ages 3 to 16 become self-motivated to follow the rules at


Would you like your kids to follow the rules the first time you ask, without backtalk, bickering, or screaming matches? Now, the creator of the most popular parenting seminar in the United States explains his amazingly simple, stunningly effective system of discipline that enables parents to help children ages 3 to 16 become self-motivated to follow the rules at home and at school.

Parents can set up the five-step Smart Discipline system within an hour or two. It can be used by any caregiver and is easily tailored to differences in age, temperament, and the needs of children with ADD/ADHD.

The book shows parents how to use this system to quickly solve common problems such as: messy rooms, disrespectful language, chores, fighting and bickering, lying, whining, and homework problems. It also empowers parents to get their children self-motivated to behave properly at school. Most parents will see results within several days of starting the system and they can continue to use it effectively for years to come.

Once Smart Discipline is part of the home, parents can stop the nagging and criticism that destroy children's desire to achieve. Dr. Larry J. offers powerful self-esteem builders for children, including showing parents how to identify children's unique talents, encourage them to develop their abilities, and celebrate their successes.

With this book in hand, you can implement the system that more than a hundred trained mental health professionals teach in more than three thousand schools, churches, hospitals, and civic organizations nationwide. Practical, straightforward, and effective, Smart Discipline is the wise choice for all parents who want a family life that sets the stage for their children's success.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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6.24(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.84(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Getting Started
with Smart Discipline

Stop your children's fighting and bickering? Get your kids to do what you ask the first time — without having to yell and scream at them? You bet. These are both doable. And what a wonderful difference it will make when your children are self-motivated to follow the rules at home and at school.

Smart Discipline is used by thousands of parents who have wearied of the daily battles with their children. These parents now know that parenting can be a great joy. They have found out firsthand that parents and children can live together peacefully — and that children can learn to get along without being miserably difficult.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could get your children to

  • stop their fighting and bickering.

  • stop their whining.

  • stop interrupting you on the phone.

  • do their homework — on time and without hassles.

  • go to bed on time — and stay there!

  • get up and ready for school on time — without your having to nag.

  • follow the rules without being warned dozens of times.

  • do their chores — before you ask them.

  • be respectful — to youand to their siblings.

  • pick up their rooms.

  • behave at school.

Each of these things is possible. Hundreds of psychologists and family therapists in the United States and Canada teach Smart Discipline in their practices. Some even require the families who are their clients to use the system. When I ask them why, they tell me simply, "Because it works." They explain that while there is lots of good parenting information out there, Smart Discipline is the one system that is both easy to use and remarkably effective.

Here's how I know they aren't just paying me lip service. These same psychologists go on to say how they use Smart Discipline with their own children. One recently related to me how his six-year-old son told him at bedtime, "I could have had my snack if I would have chosen to pick up my room on time. Tomorrow night I think I will just go ahead and do it early." This father/psychologist said to me, "I couldn't have taught my son this. This is a lesson Smart Discipline taught him."

My wife, Nydia, and I know firsthand what he meant. We developed Smart Discipline over several years in our own family. We, too, wanted peace in our house. The bickering, screaming, arguing, bad attitudes, and intolerable behavior had reached a crescendo. Too often we were going to bed frazzled. The next day we would resolve to do better, only to start the day with jangled nerves just trying to get everyone off to school and work.

This is not to say that our children were bad. They were not. But they had developed some pretty maladaptive ways of getting what they wanted. Fortunately, we were able to teach them more civil and peaceful behavioral choices. To do so, we realized we had to come up with a method that would fit into our busy lifestyles, would work for both of us, and was something we could be consistent in using.

The Smart Discipline System was the result. Nydia and I were stunned that our children's behavior and attitudes changed in a matter of several days. Rules ignored before were now being followed without complaint. Schoolwork was being done and handed in on time. One of our children who used to bring bad behavior reports home from teachers started to bring home notes extolling her virtues as a good student. Best of all, we stopped the yelling and screaming that we hated so much.

Both professionals and other parents now get passionate about Smart Discipline. Over three thousand Smart Discipline seminars are planned each year by schools, hospitals, churches, civic groups, and employers. They are the most well-attended parenting seminars in America. The participants consistently report the same results that Nydia and I experienced with our children.

It is my hope that you, too, will find Smart Discipline to be of great benefit in your family. First, like thousands of other parents, you should find behavior and attitudes to improve rather quickly — within a week or two. Second, as you use the ideas in this book, your children's beliefs about themselves should strengthen. This is a good thing. I firmly believe that children who have positive beliefs about themselves not only do better in school and in life, but are much better behaved while they are growing up.

There is one last major benefit to Smart Discipline. You will strengthen your relationships with your children. The reason this is so very important is that there are millions of teenagers today who have lousy relationships with their parents. This is tragic. Many mothers and fathers have their hearts broken over their children's defiance of them. This is totally avoidable.

Smart Discipline gives parents an effective way to discipline while building and strengthening their bond with their children. You will find that it is perfectly reasonable to be able to inspire good behavior and even to punish bad behavior without destroying your relationship with your children. When you can inspire both cooperation and love at the same time, you have it made as a parent. It is my goal to show you how to do precisely that.

Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn't it? But if you are like most parents dealing with the same old problems day after day, part of you is likely saying, "Oh, man! I sure hope this works. If I could get my children to behave like normal human beings, this book would be worth its weight in gold!"

Having children who willingly and respectfully obey their parents is a wonderful thing. It is even better, though, to have children who have both healthy self-esteem and self-confidence.

The good thing about having children who feel good about themselves is that they tend to be very...

Smart Discipline. Copyright © by Larry Koenig. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Larry J. Koenig, Ph.D., trained as a family therapist, is the founder of Up with Youth, the nation's leading self-esteem program for adolescents, which has benefited thousands of teens nationwide. He is also president of the North American Society for Parent Training and Development and creator of Up with Parents, a dynamic program that helps parents effectively gain control of their children's behaviors and attitudes. At his parenting seminars, he is well known for his delightful ability to pinpoint exactly what is going on in people's homes and for giving meaningful and practical advice. The parents of five grown children, Dr. Koenig and his wife Nydia live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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