The Well-Behaved Child: Discipline that Really Works!

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A parenting workshop in a book!

The biggest frustration felt by today's parents is in the area of discipline. Family psychologist, best-selling author, and parenting expert John Rosemond uses his thirty-six years of professional experience working with families to develop the quintessential "how to" book for parents. Rosemond's step-by-step program, based on biblical principles, traditional parenting ...

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The Well-Behaved Child: Discipline that Really Works!

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A parenting workshop in a book!

The biggest frustration felt by today's parents is in the area of discipline. Family psychologist, best-selling author, and parenting expert John Rosemond uses his thirty-six years of professional experience working with families to develop the quintessential "how to" book for parents. Rosemond's step-by-step program, based on biblical principles, traditional parenting approaches, and common sense, covers a wide range of discipline problems applicable to children from toddler to teen.

Sections include:

  • Essential Discipline Principles
  • Essential Discipline Tools
  • Perplexing Problems and Simple Solutions
  • Not Your Everyday Problems
  • General Questions and Answers (Troubleshooting)

Filled with real-life examples that anyone who's ever been around children can relate to, this book is sure to be one of the most valuable, helpful resources parents have ever stumbled across.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780785229049
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Pages: 215
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John Rosemond is a family psychologist, popular speaker, featured guest on major television talk shows, author of thirteen books on parenting issues, and syndicated columnist for more than two hundred newspapers. He and his wife, Willie, have been married more than forty years and havetwo adult children and seven grandchildren.

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Read an Excerpt

The Well-Behaved Child

Discipline That Really Works!

By John Rosemond

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2009 John Rosemond
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4185-8630-0


Why Children Misbehave

This book exists because children misbehave—not some children, all children. Some are blatant and loud about it, and some are subtle and quiet about it, but they all misbehave. It would be one thing if their misbehavior were the result of ignorance, of not knowing that they were misbehaving, but children misbehave even when they know what they're doing is wrong. It is therefore necessary, at the outset, to explain the "why?" behind this ever-present feature of their nature. In other words, for you to discipline your child successfully, you must first understand what makes children "tick." That makes sense, doesn't it? After all, you can't train a dog successfully without knowing what makes dogs tick.

If asked "Why do children, all children, misbehave?" most psychologists (of which I am one) would employ one or more of the following words or phrases: unresolved issues (or unresolved conflicts), anxiety, stress, conflicting messages, cries for help or attention, trauma, post-traumatic, power struggles, chemical imbalances, and genes. Nope. Some of those words may help us understand why four-year-old Jonathan Schmedly-Jones of Omaha refuses to obey his parents, but none of those words explains why all children misbehave, and deliberately so. As it turns out, the explanation is simple—so simple that most psychologists never think of it (and if they did think of it, they would deny they thought of it): children are bad. They do not misbehave because their innocent nature has been corrupted by bad parenting or chemical imbalances or rogue genes or "issues" (although, and again, explanations of that sort may apply in some small way to some relatively small number of children). Children misbehave because they are bad, and the sooner parents understand and accept this, the better for them and the better also for their children. The incontrovertible badness of children is why it takes most of two decades to fully socialize them. Their badness is the reason for this book.

I fully realize that kicking things off with the assertion that children are not good by nature will surprise, if not shock, many parents. It would not have shocked parents of bygone generations, but then those were parents whose common sense had not been drowned in a deluge of postmodern psychobabble. When their children began to misbehave, they were not surprised; rather, they fully expected it. They understood that good parenting, no matter how good, did not guarantee good behavior. Because their child-rearing feet were planted firmly on the solid ground of common sense, bygone parents were able to maintain their sense of parenting balance and respond to bad behavior authoritatively, with generally calm purpose.

According to a continuing poll I take with my numerous parent audiences per year, today's parents are far, far more likely than were their parents to yell at their children. This relatively recent upsurge in parental yelling is a sign that parents have lost confidence in themselves. That has happened, I submit, because parents have been listening to professional voices for more than forty years instead of listening to their elders. Reclaiming that confidence—that sense of balance and authority—requires a restoration of common sense where children are concerned, and the cornerstone of parental common sense is the understanding that in any given situation, a child is inclined by nature to do the wrong thing, the self-serving thing, the bad thing. Parents who refuse to accept that are in for a rough ride.

A child's badness awakens from the slumber of infancy sometime during the second year of life. Parents put a sweet little eighteen-month-old angel—a child who's never given them a moment's trouble—to sleep one night and the Demon Spawn of Satan wakes up the next morning, raging. When she's picked up, she rages to be put down.When she's put down, she rages to be picked up. When picked up again, she bites or scratches. She rages for milk, but when given milk she knocks it to the floor and rages for orange juice. Given the orange juice, she rages for milk. And so it goes.

The mentality of the awakened human being, otherwise known as "a toddler," consists of five related beliefs:

1. What I want, I deserve to have.

2. Because I deserve what I want, the ends justify the means.

3. No one has a right to deny me or stand in my way.

4. The only valid rules are those that I make.

5. The rules, even ones that I make, do not apply to me.

That same set of beliefs is also shared by criminals and dictators, and indeed, the toddler is at turns a criminal-in-the-making and a tyrant-in-the-offing. As such, it is a measure of God's grace and mercy that, of all the ambulatory species on the planet, human beings do not to grow to full size in one or two years. It's one thing to deal with a tantrum in a toddler who is twenty-four inches tall and weighs the same number of pounds. It would be quite another to deal with a tantrum from a two-year-old who was five feet ten and weighed 160 pounds. America doesn't have enough emergency rooms!

One does not need to teach badness to a toddler. They are factories of antisocial tendencies. As soon as they learn to talk, they begin to lie. They assault people who don't give in to their demands. They steal other people's property. (I said this to a group of parents once, and someone rejoined that this age child does not know he or she is stealing. They take things because they are curious, she said, to which I simply asked, "Then why do they hide them and deny they've taken them?" End of discussion.)

No psychological paradigm exists that will explain the antisocial behavior of the toddler. How is it that a twenty-month-old who has never seen an act of violence or heard one described, who has been the recipient of nothing but love, slaps his mother across the face one day because she has told him he cannot have a cookie? How is it that a two-year-old who has been treated generously by everyone in his life is malevolently selfish? Why does a toddler who has never been screamed at scream at his parents when they do not obey him? I am describing here not just the behavior of two toddlers, but the behavior of all toddlers. I repeat: toddlers are criminals-in-the-making. Behavioral theory—which posits that all behavior is learned—does not suffice to explain their misbehavior. Humanistic psychology says human beings are by nature good, so we can toss that out the window with a big guffaw. Not one of Freud's notions concerning the nature of human beings rises to the occasion. The only explanation that fits is that humans are born this way; it is their nature to be cruel, to be criminal, to be Lords and Lordettes of the Flies.

Parents who understand that badness is the natural state of the child will not be knocked off balance when the Demon Spawn awakens.They will simply look at one another and shrug their shoulders, realizing and accepting that the honeymoon is over. Prior to this sea change, they were merely caretakers, concerned primarily with making their child feel welcome and wanted, as well as keeping her healthy, comfortable, and safe from harm. Now, however, their real job—the task of raising Master or Mistress Bad-to-the-Bone out of a state of narcissistic savagery into a state of prosocial civility—begins. From this point on, parents are exorcists. Their job is to exorcise those demons that can be pried loose and help their child learn to control those that refuse to let go. The end result is a child who willingly walks the straight and narrow path toward good citizenship.

Some children submit to their exorcisms more easily than others. "Why?" is anyone's best guess. These days, children who cling to their demons for all they're worth are usually called "strong willed." But all children are strong willed. They all want their own way, all of the time. So do you. So do I. (You and I, however, have accepted that [a] we can't always have our way, and [b] it's sometimes better in the long run to let someone else have their way.) Some children, as is the case with some adults, simply go about trying to get their own way more subtly, more cleverly than others. They charm adults into giving them their way. To charm means to cast a spell, and casting spells is evil. These very charming kids, therefore, are just as bad as children who, lacking the talent of spell-casting, go about trying to get their way in clumsier fashion.

Exorcising a child's demons requires punishment. The operative principle is simple: when a child does something bad, the child should feel bad about it. Unfortunately, when they do bad things, children do not feel bad on their own. A conscience does not fully develop until early adolescence, at best. Therefore, when they do bad things, children need other people, adults, to help them feel bad. That requires punishment. What a wonderful world it would be if that weren't the case! What a wonderful world it would be if children could be talked out of misbehaving!

In the 1960s, mental health professionals decided that reasoning with children was possible. Where they came up with that idea is beyond me, but they did.Lots of dumb ideas emerged during the 1960s,most of which have fallen by the wayside. This particular bad idea has proven especially stubborn, however. Today, nearly every issue of every parenting magazine contains an article suggesting that children can be reasoned with. The truth is they cannot be, period. The phrase "reasoning with a child" is an oxymoron, which means only morons believe it's possible. When a child is old enough to be successfully reasoned with, he is no longer a child. He's ready to leave home—and he should.

Adele Faber, the coauthor of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (can you tell that Ms. Faber and I are not on the same page?), once accused me of being "hung up" on punishing children. That's the equivalent of saying that a successful gardener is "hung up" on yanking weeds out of her garden. Punishment is every bit as necessary to raising a well-behaved child as weeding is to growing a successful garden.

The analogy works at several levels:

• Gardeners do not enjoy weeding; they simply accept that it must be done. Likewise, parents should not enjoy punishing; they should simply accept that it must be done.

• If not pulled, weeds will eventually choke the good plants and take over. Like weeds, bad behavior is more powerful, more insistent, more aggressive, more tenacious, and more insidious, than good behavior. It has to go.

• A garden cannot weed itself, and children cannot discipline themselves (until they have been successfully disciplined).

• Any experienced gardener knows that the most critical time to weed is when the garden is young. The more effectively one weeds when the garden is young, the less one will have to weed later. The same is true as regards the discipline of a child: the more effectively parents punish early on, the less they will have to punish later.

• A garden that's virtually weed free is a happier, healthier garden. Its flowers will bloom more vibrantly. Its vegetables will be more nutritious. And so it is with well-disciplined kids: they are happier, healthier, they bloom more vibrantly, and my analogy breaks down at that point because I can't figure out how a well-behaved child is like a broccoli floret. But you get my point.

Before going any further, it needs to be said that effective punishment can only be done out of love. A child who is not completely secure in the knowledge and feeling that his parents love him without reservation will not accept their punishment. You do not need to worry about this though, because the only parents who take the time to read parenting books are parents who love their children without reservation. Now that that's been taken care of ...

While punishment is regrettably necessary at times, it is not the only means of skinning the cat of bad behavior. Sometimes, it is better to confuse the misbehaving child, to mess with his mind, than to simply punish him. This is nothing new. Your great-grandmother called it "reverse psychology." My good friend and fellow heretic-psychologist Kevin Leman, the author of Have a New Kid by Friday! (a recipient of the coveted Rosemond Seal of Approval) tells the story of a mom who came to him for advice concerning her seven-year-old son. He wouldn't eat the food she fixed for dinner. Kevin asked for an example, and the mother cited spaghetti, to which Kevin simply told the mom to fix spaghetti that evening but not to set a place at the table for her son. Don't even call him to dinner, he instructed.

"When your son wanders into the dining room and asks why no place is set for him," Kevin said, "just point out to him that you're having spaghetti, and he doesn't like it, so you didn't include him in the meal."

The next day, the mother called Kevin and reported that when her son discovered he'd been excluded from the evening meal, he promptly went over to the stove, smelled the spaghetti sauce, and said, "But Mom, I like this spaghetti."

Imagine that! Spaghetti anorexia cured in one mealtime!

Here's another fact of living with children: they like to misbehave. The reasons:

• They think it's funny.

• They take perverse satisfaction out of upsetting adults.

• Sometimes they get what they want when they misbehave.

• Rebelling against authority gives them a sense of power.

• They often get a lot of attention when they misbehave.

• They discover that they can control certain people and situations by misbehaving.

For all those reasons, misbehavior is addictive, which means it is in a child's best interest that parents do all they can to make sure this particular addiction never takes hold, or if it already has, to cure it as quickly as possible. Paradoxically, children like it when adults help them not to misbehave.

"Now, just you hold on there a darn minute, Rosemond," someone is saying. "You're not making any sense at all! How could children like to misbehave, yet also like it when adults make them stop misbehaving?"

Because children don't know they like behaving properly until adults make them stop misbehaving, at which point they have an awakening of sorts. They realize they really don't like misbehaving; they really don't like being the center of attention; they really don't like entering into power struggles with adults, much less winning them; they really don't like getting their way when they really shouldn't. It's at that point that children begin to realize they are happier, more relaxed, more creative, and even smarter (and more like broccoli) when they do what adults expect and tell them to do.

That is exactly what the best research into parenting style outcomes has discovered. But common sense will tell you the same thing. Think of some very disobedient children that you know. Do they seem like happy campers to you? No, they don't. They are tense, driven, uptight, angry, rebellious, and petulant. That does not describe someone who is happy.

Now think of some relaxed, happy children that you know. Without exception, they are calmly obedient, aren't they? And just to put a myth to bed, they don't act like they're obeying because they're terrified of what their parents will do if they don't obey, do they? No, they don't. They just obey because they have come to realize, intuitively (children can't articulate these concepts), that obedience is the ticket to a happy childhood. Freedom is not the ticket (although obedient children tend to enjoy lots of freedom); money is not the ticket; having a lot of toys is not the ticket; a brand-new bicycle or the coolest and most expensive skateboard is not the ticket; a trip to Dizzy World is not the ticket. Obedience is the ticket! The wonderful thing is that not all parents can afford to give their children new bicycles or trips to Dizzy World, but obedience is free! It costs nothing! And so every parent—including you!—can afford to give the gift of obedience to his or her child.


Excerpted from The Well-Behaved Child by John Rosemond. Copyright © 2009 John Rosemond. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Read This First! (Because I Said So!) xiii

Chapter 1 Why Children Misbehave 1

It Wasn't Brake, but They Tried to Fix It Anyway (and Broke It) 13

Chapter 2 The Seven Fundamentals of Effective Discipline 19

Alpha Speech 21

Nipping It in the Bud 31

The Agony and the Godfather Principles 37

The Referee's Rule 52

The Penicillin Principle 55

Bite Off Only What You Can Chew 60

The Jeremiah Principle 62

Chapter 3 Seven Essential Tools 67

A Comes Before B 67

Tickets 69

Strikes 77

Charts 78

Daily and Weekly Report Cards (for School Problems) 89

Kicked Out of the Garden 97

Piling On 105

"The Doctor" Makes House Calls 109

Chapter 4 The Top Seven Behavior Problems of All Time...Solved! 113

Bedtime Battles (And Related Fears) 113

Food Fights 122

Stealing and Lying (and Other Deceits) 127

Sibling Warfare 139

Defiance 147

Tantrums 156

Refusing to Use the Potty 165

Chapter 5 Seven Tales of the Strange and Unexpected 169

Henry Bangs His Head 169

Megan Yanks Her Hair Out by the Handfuis 172

Roberta Won't "Unbond" with Her Food 176

Sammy Scratches Himself 178

Sonny Won't Poop Without a Pull-Up 179

Rafael Steals Food and Hides It 181

Chatty Cathy Tells Everybody Everything 183

Chapter 6 Seven Final Words of Advice 187

Parent Through Leadership 187

Create a Parent-Centered Family 189

Assign Chores 190

Put "Team Family" First 191

Help Your Kids Develop Hobbies 194

Banish the Idiot Boxes 195

Make Proverbs 22:6 Your Vision Statement 197

Read This Last! 201

Notes 205

Acknowledgments 209

About the Author 211

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 24 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 26, 2009

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    The Well-Behaved Child by John Rosemond

    The Well-Behaved Child

    John Rosemond

    This book is about how to raise a well-behaved child. Part of the title says discipline that works. Does this book provide the answers? Can it help you raise a well-behaved child? I have read the book and I say it can lay the ground work to a well-behaved child. It is geared more toward the 2-12 age range, but if you have an older child, I would implement these rules first and proceed from there. In this book are many tried and true ways to have a well-behaved child. One quote I like from the book is "Children like to misbehave..misbehavior is addictive." The child learns they get a reaction from their parents when they misbehave, but they really want to do better.

    This book is about ways to cultivate a well-behaved child. "Punishment is every bit as necessary to raising a well-behaved child as weeding is to growing a successful garden." "A garden cannot weed itself, and children cannot discipline themselves." Parents have to take an active role in the discipline of their children. "Parental yelling is a sign that parents have lost confidence in themselves." This book shows you how to deal effectively with your child and teach them discipline in a loving way. "Effective punishment can only be done out of love."

    I like the way this book is set up and the ways John Rosemond shows you how to have a well-behaved child. It is very straightforward and filled with loving and understanding ways to get through to your child and teach them.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2009

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    The Well-Behaved Child

    I recently read "The Well-Behaved Child" by John Rosemond. In this book the author covers the 7 fundamentals to effective discipline with the understanding that the parent takes his/her role seriously. Mr Rosemond encourages no-nonsense parenting where children do as they are told ad parents are respected.

    I really struggled to get through this book. While I believe that children should be disciplined, I do not believe that this is the way to do it. I found the author to be very intolerant of any other parenting methods while bashing other child experts. I tried implementing one or two of his guidelines, but found that it did more damage than good. I have always tried to look to the Father as my example on how to raise my son. I don't feel that there are any Biblical principles outlined in this book. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

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    The Well-Behaved Child

    The Well-Behaved Child, written by John Rosemond deals with how to discipline our children in a way that actually works. This book is an encouragement to parents and a tool for those on the brink of starting a family. The message that the author gives is one of love, mercy, and consistency. We need to understand that yes, children misbehave, but they also have the capability to be good, well behaved children, when given the right structure.

    I personally felt that this book was a useful tool. The material the author gives helps to enable parents with the tools and resources needed to make a difference in the lives of their children. A highlight for me is the Q & A's that author has though out the book. The questions come from people who are sincerely seeking ways to make things better at home, and the author addresses them in a loving, yet stern way and lets the parent know that their at times needs to be change. But instead of leaving it there, again, the author gives tools to help make the change.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2009

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    Same ideas with a new twist

    I admit it. I have a 4 year old that is a problem child. She could scare Super Nanny away within 5 minutes! I have searched high and low for a book that would help me get her under control. After reading this book, I am still looking. Every suggestion in this book are ones that I have already tried and have already failed. This book just puts a new spin on the current methods that are already out there. This book would be great for a new parent of an infant to help them have a guide to start with, but since I didn't get to have this book from the beginning, I find myself still searching for the one thing that will work for me. Maybe these techniques can work for your child, so don't be afraid to try this book! Maybe I just have a stubborn child who refuses to listen to her mom!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2011

    Highly recommend for all parents

    This book should be required reading for all parents! I found it to be very useful. The discipline techniques coupled with Alpha speech really works. As a mother of 3 young children, our family will be benefiting from this book for years!

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Very helpful

    Rosemond uses basic principals and reminds parents they are the boss and can be "mean" but do it with love.

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  • Posted February 5, 2010


    I enjoyed and found this book very helpful. As he father of an eighteen month old boy I have quickly learned that raising a "well-behaved child" is quite the endeavor. John Rosemond takes a very practical approach in giving timeless advice to parents. I appreciate his appreciate to principles of discipline and not just case examples. The illustrations provided necessary tools to help implement the principles. The "Question and Answer Section" at he end of the book alone would make the book worth the purchase.

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  • Posted November 22, 2009

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    The Well-Behaved Child

    The Well-Behaved Child from Thomas Nelson is a book that helps parents learn how to effectively discipline children. In this book "America's most widely read parenting expert" John Rosemond discusses the fundamentals of effective discipline and discipline tools for parents to use. He has a chapter on seven common behavior problems--bedtime battles, food fights (this includes things like children refusing to eat), stealing and lying, sibling warfare, refusing to use the potty, tantrums, and defiance.
    Discipline is one of those issues every parent struggles with at one time or another. In my opinion this author has some good tools for parents to use to get their children to behave. The main point is that the parents need to make the issue, whatever it is, a problem for the child and not let it become a problem for the parent. For example, repeatedly making threats to the child or getting all worked up over their misbehavior isn't giving the child any incentive to stop whatever behavior you want stopped. However, if you give a consequence like sending the child to bed early that night for the behavior with no questions asked, then it gives them a problem. They don't want to go to bed early so then it becomes a problem for them. The author gives examples of parents who have used his methods with success.
    I read this book to count towards my continuing education hours. He made many references to parents and teachers working together to solve behavior issues.
    I was turned off by this book in the first few pages because the author referred to children as "demon spawn of satan." I couldn't believe this when I read this. I would never refer to my child in this way. I have spent time in the classroom and seen a range of children, and I would never classify any child in this way either. I was turned off because of this in the first few pages. Throughout the book the author discredits psychologists and others in the field that they are making incorrect diagnoses for parents regarding children's behavior problems. It seemed to me that he believes his way is the only way and all others are incorrect. I just don't believe this. I'm sure his methods do work; I do not doubt that. It just felt all a bit extreme to me in how he presented it and his attitude that came across to me in his writing.
    This book was easy to read and the stories he used from parents were interesting. This book gave me ideas of things to try in our parenting. I wouldn't tell you to go buy this for yourself though. Read it from the library instead if you are interested.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good Resource For parents

    As a parent of one young child, and another on the way, I think it's important to think about discipline practices and what works and what doesn't. There are so many different views on discipline and parenting, and from my experience not only as a parent, but also a teacher of young children, I think it's very important thing is to let children know what the boundaries are, have consequences and be consistent.

    When I was given the opportunity to review the book by Thomas Nelson Publishers, The Well-Behaved Child by John Rosemond, I wasn't sure what I'd think. I know his thinking is a bit different than my own in some ways, but I do agree that for children to learn from their misbehavior there must be a meaningful consequences in place. In some ways his thoughts may be a bit more extreme than my own, but overall, I think he makes a lot of good points, and this could serve as a resource for parents in many different situations.

    It's a book I'd recommend to parents. I think it offers a lot of good information and gives parents something to think about, and may be apply to their own parenting styles as they see appropriate.

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing Parenting Book!

    There are about a billion parenting books out there, and sometime, I think I've read most of them, but The Well-Behaved Child by John Rosemond is different. First of all, Mr. Rosemond is real...meaning, its not all about getting on the child's level, time out, and using a question at the end of a sentence type of child correction! Mr. Rosemond empowers the parent to become the parent again and free's the child to be a child again through solid guidance and rules.

    Mr. Rosemond takes the new "behavior modification" method and rewrites how children need to have rules, serious limitations and parents deserve respect, no matter what. He's very clear that there is a solid difference between loving discipline and abuse and makes sure you know it too.

    Read more:

    I personally cannot recommend this book enough! You can pick up a copy at The Thomas Nelson website or any bookstore!

    Read more:

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  • Posted October 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Finally a Doc Who Tells It Like It Is

    In a time when many parents refuse to discipline their children, it is refreshing to read the words of Psychologist and author John Rosemond:

    I think it is nothing short of tragic that American parents are seeking professional help for child-rearing problems in greater and greater numbers every year, which is not to say that professional help is never warranted. I am convinced, however, that the overwhelming majority of the problems in question could have been resolved ... with proper use of some good, old-fashioned, creative discipline.
    Rosemond's recurring theme in The Well-Behaved Child: Discipline that Really Works! is that far too many children are mis-diagnosed with an alphabet of disorders that he has seen "cured" by the creative use of such discipline tools as
    Report Cards
    and more... .
    By actually getting involved in their children's lives rather than letting them run wild and rule the roost, nearly all of the parents who have contacted John Rosemond for assistance with discipline issues have successfully avoided the diagnoses of ADHD, ADD, OCD, ODD, etc., and furthermore prevented their children from being put on medicine regimens that would only exacerbate the problem.

    As I first dug into Rosemond's The Well-Behaved Child: Discipline that Really Works!, both my wife and I were concerned that our "strong-willed child" (not a term Rosemond uses, but one of another child expert), I found it refreshing to read some of the many ways Rosemond suggests parents deal with their troubled tots -- from toddler to teen. In fact, without even implementing any of Rosemond's disciplinary methods, our son has already begun to be a better behaved, happier child.

    One evening, sitting at the family dinner table and explaining to my wife Rosemond's chart method, my son -- who was sitting at the table with us and within clear earshot -- quickly decided he didn't like what he was hearing. He immediately made it known that he wouldn't like the results of misbehavior that the Chart plan would include, to which I responded that if he behaved he would not have to worry about them. He hasn't become a perfectly-behaved child, of course, but he has certainly dropped many of the undesirable behaviors that drove me to read the book in the first place.

    It is my contention -- and the author's as well, it seems -- that by simply reading this book and putting into practice some of the methods he describes, parents might be able to avoid the embarrassing and potentially destructive tragedy of having their child labeled with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or one of the many other alphabet soup disorders that today's psychologists are so quick to diagnose. My point: what have you got to lose?

    Jeff Cole is an author, blogger, podcaster, and member of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger Program.

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  • Posted October 2, 2009

    The Well Behaved Child

    As a member of the Thomas Nelson Review Blogger program , I had the privilege of reviewing John Rosemond's parenting book, The Well- Behaved Child.
    Of all the parenting/ child rearing books on the market today, Rosemond's strategies, based on traditional common sense, have been the most enlightening. This book is based on the basic premise that children, by nature are prone to misbehave, and therefore require a parent to understand, address and discipline such issues so as to raise happy, well adjusted children. In fact, he states on page two, "the incontrovertible badness of children is why it takes most of two decades to fully socialize them. This badness is the reason for this book." Firstly, before anything else, a parent must understand the basic antisocial, selfish tendency of a child, and address it- rather than dismiss or rationalize it.
    This book dispels common child rearing myths which prevail in today's society. For example, he advocates leadership rather than ineffective reasoning. The parent is the authority figure and does not have to justify his/ her actions to a child. The parent need not and should not engage in debates or bargaining with a child also referred to as the "short and sweet" principal. Rosemond is a proponent of the effectiveness of "reverse psychology". Contrary to popular opinion, what works to train a dog will not work for a child. Behavior modification is simply ineffective and temporary. Furthermore offering rewards in exchange for positive behavior is just a short term solution and in the long run, it just promotes the cycle of manipulation and control the child has over the parent and authority in general. "Reward- based discipline .. teach[es] children how to manipulate parents [teaching] that misbehavior and underachievement are the tickets to getting special privileges". P 17 Additionally, time-outs are simply ineffective, akin to "trying to fend off a charging elephant with a flyswatter". P 13 These are just a few examples of some of the parenting techniques and philosophies.
    Using relevant case studies, and summing up basic strategies and principals, positive and effective parenting strategies are offered in this book in an easy to understand format. I would recommend this book to any parent who wishes to raise a responsible and well adjusted child.

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    Well-behaved behavior, but not from the heart...

    I'm always curious about new parenting books. And I'm especially curious when they mention discipline. The Well-Behaved Child is all about discipline. At first, I was impressed by the author's willingness to go against the grain and say some things that our culture today isn't very fond of. But, as I got into the book more and more I came disagree with the book.

    This book focuses almost exclusively on behavior as the problem. Near the very end, the author does mention the heart and scripture, but there are only a few mentions of praying and God in the book. I could readily recommend this book to someone who doesn't believe in God and I think if they were looking for a book about discipline, this would give them some ideas.

    But, as a Christian, I don't think I could follow this author's advice. It is missing grace. Our Father has grace for us--shouldn't we also as parents? In Shepherding a Child's Heart, Ted Tripp identifies that there are times for rebuke, times for instruction, times for warning, times for encouragement. As parents, we need to think about how to respond to a child's actions and behavior.

    John Rosemond jumps immediately to discipline. I'll be honest. Before I read Tripp's book, I was inclined to do the same! But, I was convicted several years ago that that is my folly--to jump immediately to discipline.

    I don't recommend this book. If you're an old school type parent, you may struggle with grace. If you're a co-parenting type of parent, you may find yourself too graceful and justifying your parenting to your child when you have to discipline him/her. This book is on one extreme and so I don't think it is the best book out there to encourage parents on either end of the spectrum. Grace is important--but grace doesn't negate the need for discipline and instruction.

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A book well worn and used before you even finish it. Rarely does a book spawn immediate desire for action and produce instant results. This one does.

    Rosemond is sarcastic and I love it. Being helped and encouraged in parenting never hurt so good. My copy of this book is already well worn and I've only had it for a few hours. My wife and I loved his syndicated column until the local paper snuffed it out because it didn't fit their liberal, psychobabble agenda. I am so thankful I obtained this book. Still raising five children often puts me at wit's end and Rosemond has been such a breath of fresh air. I love his format with such an easy going writing style that makes you laugh and think at the same time. Parenting books are a dime a dozen and I have read at least ten to twenty in my day. This one goes down in the top three. You'll be hard pressed to read a better written one any time soon.
    Parenting and politics are two subject that are sure to start an argument at any cocktail party and this one won't disappoint. He is wonderfully irreverent to the established experts on parenting. You won't disagree with too much but if you do I hope its because you recognize that some of his practical tips are not very biblical such as the whole "The doctor is in routine." Essentially its lying to your child that you talked to a doctor who has prescribed such and such treatment for a certain bad behavior. I have no doubt that the trick would work but lets not lie to our children to accomplish a good end result. This tip can easily be tweaked, however, by just stating what you believe to be facts on a certain behavior issue. "Son I believe you are not eating your meal tonight because you might are not getting enough sleep so we will cure that right now by putting you to bed early." In other words, Rosemond suggests that a child suffer agony over his misbehavior which will give him some excellent self motivated reasons for living rightly. If the discerning reader will over look some of the minors and focus on his majors you are in for a feast of usable tips that cut to the chase and expose the heart of a child.
    I wish he would have used more scripture to back up most of his points which are certainly common sense from good theology. I found the chapter on strategy much more helpful than the practical tips section. His 'leadership parenting' concept was very beneficial and hardly anyone has really addressed this in parenting circles like he does. I highly recommend this book to any parent or grandparent and will hope for a subsequent study guide containing more bible verses to help flesh out his unique parenting viewpoint. Five Stars and I will be using his tips and in fact already put two of his tips to work within hours of reading the book. I think my 17 year old has actually cleaned his room because I offered a 'deal he can't refuse'. Thanks for the tip. The godfather of parenting has written a deal you shouldn't refuse either.

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