Ain't Misbehavin': Tactics for Tantrums, Meltdowns, Bedtime Blues and Other Perfectly Normal Kid Behaviors

Ain't Misbehavin': Tactics for Tantrums, Meltdowns, Bedtime Blues and Other Perfectly Normal Kid Behaviors

by Alyson Schafer

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Bestselling author, psychotherapist, and leading parenting expert on tackling any child's worst behavior.

Following her phenomenally successful, Honey, I Wrecked the Kids, parenting guru Alyson Schaefer addresses every parent's secret fear: their child is the one no parenting book can possibly help. In her newest book, she conquers, one by one, all those behavioral bugaboos that can make a child seem, at times, impossible-and a parent's life hell. With explicit, life-saving tips on the perfect thing to say or do when things get out of control, Ain't Misbehavin' offers parents a sensible, democratic solution to meeting even the toughest discipline challenges.

  • Includes first-person accounts of literally hundreds of parenting conundrums-with practical insights on what exactly to do
  • Full of detailed "how to do it" advice for a multitude of situations parents inevitably face

While acknowledging the daily reality that parents face, Schaefer's humor and experience make this book a must for parents who want to preserve the peace and also the joy of raising a child.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781443427081
Publisher: Collins
Publication date: 07/02/2013
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
File size: 413 KB

About the Author

Alyson Schafer, M.A. Counseling, B.Sc., O.A.C.C.P.P.  A.A.M.F.T.

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and leading parenting expert. She has an active speaking career and is a mainstay for parenting interviews on radio, television and print properties, including The Montel Show, Globe and Mail, and Cosmopolitan magazine, among many others. Alyson is in her fifth season as the host of The Parenting Show, a one-hour live call-in show that is top-ranked in its time slot. She holds a Masters of Arts - Counseling from the Adler School of Chicago, an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Waterloo, and is a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) and the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counselors, Psychometrics and Psychotherapists (OACCPP).

Alyson's books Breaking the Good Mom Myth and Honey, I Wrecked The Kids are national best sellers.

Table of Contents


Preface: How to Make Lemon Bars and Raise a Child.

Chapter 1: Parenting Primer.



Family Fun.

Family Meetings.

Firm and Friendly.

Four Dances of Misbehavior.

Mutual Respect.

Natural and Logical Consequences.

Never Do for a Child What a Child Can Do for Herself.

Punishments and Rewards Are Old School.


Take Time for Training (TTFT).

Chapter 2: The Classics—a Democratic Approach to Overcoming Those Typical Trials.







Chapter 3: Sleeping—the Democratic Approach to Getting Wee Ones to Winky Land.

Won’t Fall Asleep Unless Parent Lies with Them.

Wakes Every Few Hours during the Night.

Crawls into Your Bed at Night.

Night Terrors and Nightmares.

Afraid of the Dark.

Comes Out of Room after Being Tucked In.

Chapter 4: Potty Training—and the Democratic Approach to Toileting.

Holds Bowels.

Will Only Move Bowels in a Pull-Up.

Refuses Diaper Changes.

Won’t Use Public Toilet.

Accidents at Playdates.

Won’t Use the School Washroom.

Still Pooping Pants at Age Six, Seven, Eight or, .Yikes!, Nine.

Still Wetting the Bed at Age Seven (or Eight or Nine).

Refuses to Wipe.

Refuses to Wash Hands.

Chapter 5: Fretting Over Food—the Democratic Approach to Ending Food Fights.

The Pokey Eater.

The Food Strike.


The Picky Eater.

Will Eat Only If in Front of the TV.

Gags or Spits Food Out.

Won’t Give up the Bottle.

Chapter 6: From Trough to Table—the Democratic Approach to Table Manners.

Won’t Set the Table When It’s Their Job.

Won’t Come to the Table When Called.

Gets Up and Down from the Table.

Who Invited Tom Foolery to the Table?

Talks with Mouth Full.

Refuses to Clear Plate.

Toys at the Table.

Chapter 7: Social Skills—the Democratic Approach to Socializing Your Little Barbarian.

Won’t Say Hello.

Won’t Say "Please" and "Thank-You".

Won’t Kiss Grandparents.

Tells Your Company to Go Home.


Curses and Swears Like a Sailor.

Rude, Rude, Rude.


Gives Attitude and Tone.

Doesn’t Play with Friends Invited Over.

You Hate Your Child’s Friends.

Has No Friends.

You Think Your Child Is Being Bullied.

Your Child Is a Bully.

Chapter 8: Health, Hygiene and High Fashion—the Democratic Approach to Managing One’s Body.

Won’t Brush Teeth.

Refuses Hair Brushing.

You Can Never Get the Ponytails Right.

Hates Water and Getting in the Tub.

Will Only Wear One Favorite Pair of Pants—and They’re Dirty.

Refuses to Wear Socks.

Won’t Take Medicine.

Sticks Hands in Dirty Diapers.

Disagreements about Wardrobe.

Won’t Get Dressed.

Won’t Put on Pajamas at Bedtime.

Chapter 9: Bad Habits—and the Democratic Approach to Breaking Them.

Hair Twirling.

Hair Sucking.

Masturbating Tots.

Nose Picking.

Thumb Sucking.

Love Objects.

Pacifier Dependence.

Loves Eating Glue, Playdough, Etc.

Chapter 10: Bedroom Brawls—and the Democratic Approach to Settling Space Issues.

Won’t Make Bed in the Morning.

Won’t Put Clothes in the Laundry Hamper.

Won’t Let Sibling into Bedroom.

Won’t Let You in Bedroom.

Destroys Bedroom during Time-Outs.

Writes on Walls.

Siblings Share a Room, but They’re the Odd Couple.

Chapter 11: The Plugged-in Kid—the Democratic Approach to Managing the Wired World.

Inappropriate TV viewing.

Addicted to Gaming.

Acts Aggressively after Watching Violence.

Disregards Screen-Time Limits.

Wants a Cell Phone.

Chapter 12: School 101—the Democratic Approach to Academic and Social Issues at School.

Has Poor Grades.

Doesn’t Pay Attention in Class.

Homework Hell.

Doesn’t Care about School or the Subject Matter.

Hates the Teacher.

Always Late for School.

Switching Schools.

They’re Autocratic—We’re Democratic.

Chapter 13: Extracurricular Activities—the Democratic Way to Manage the Angst.

The Overscheduled Child.

The Dropout Kid.

Goes to Lessons but Won’t Participate.

Chapter 14: Kids and Coins—the Democratic Approach to Money Matters.

Mommy, Buy This for Me! ("Dammit" Implied).

Complaining about the Amount of Allowance.

Savings or "Slavings"?

Loses Money.

Chapter 15: Sibling Fighting—and the Democratic Approach to Ending It.

Sibling Fighting Cheat Sheet.

Fighting in the Car.

Mommy, He Stole My Toy!.

Can’t or Won’t?

The Physical Factor: When Siblings Physically Fight.

My Toddler Is Too Rough with the Baby.

Name-Calling and Being Mean.

Is Jealous.

Chapter 16: The Best Practices Democratic Family Checklist.

Best Practices Family Checklist.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Alyson Schafer's book will be a boon for parents and anyone else who wants to raise humane, well-behaved children. With wit, heart and research Alyson provides a treasure chest of parent-friendly solutions to common, everyday parenting dilemmas. I hope this book finds its way into homes all over the country."
– Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions

“Who doesn’t love learning and laughing at the same time? Alyson Schafer has a way of peeking into our front hallways where we’re dealing with the tantrummy toddler, the independent tween and the insolent teen, and being the voice in our head that provides us with sage, educated advice in easy terms we can all understand. Warm up your neck muscles before reading, because her approach to parenting, with a capital “P”, delivered in a conversational, humourous and smart manner will have you nodding your head every few minutes. Ain’t Misbehavin’ is the perfect addition to the Good Mom Myth and Honey, I Wrecked The Kids library I recommend all parents have in their homes.
– Kathy Buckworth, author of Shut Up & Eat and The Secret Life of SuperMom and parenting feature writer for

"Clear some prime real estate in your home for Alyson Schafer's latest round of insight and wisdom: Ain't Misbehavin' is an invaluable resource for every parent, every day. Written in Alyson's charming conversational style, it is arranged in a super-easy-to-use-in-the-midst-of-a-parenting-crisis way. Though I sort of hate to admit it, this is a book I know I will use again and again and again!"
– Gill Deacon, bestselling author and award-winning broadcaster

"Perfect, bite-sized parenting advice that is sensible, humane and eminently workable."
– Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

“Who wouldn’t want Alyson Schafer’s help with parenting? Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want Alyson to parent THEM. Immediately after reading Ain’t Misbehavin’, I was inspired to start implementing Alyson Schafer's suggestions, which are based deeply in respect for the individual and the family as a whole. We noticed changes right away – a reduction in conflict and an increase in understanding. Alyson Schafer has written a passionate and philosophically energizing guidebook for parents that we can use daily. Her book identifies and analyses dozens of real-life parenting nightmares, offers solutions and examples, and she does that one thing many parenting books avoid: she suggests alternate solutions in the event that her first suggestion just doesn’t work for your child. Every parent can relate to this book, and every parent and child can benefit.”
– Diane Flacks, writer, actor, CBC radio parenting columnist and author of Bear With Me: What They Don't Tell You About Parenting and New Motherhood

“Alyson manages to reassure parents that their kid’s behavior is normal while reminding them not to put up with it at the same time. What makes her book even more appealing is the simplicity with which she offers her parenting solutions. Readers feel empowered to make the changes she recommends without turning their worlds upside down. We give it a SavvyMom thumbs up, for sure.”
– Minnow Hamilton, Managing Editor and Co-Founder of

“Smart, funny, practical. Alyson explains why kids behave the way they do, then offers easy, practical advice on how to deal with the challenges. I guarantee this book will make your family life better. Alyson really gets it...parenting can be challenging! With humour and warmth, Alyson helps make it easier. This is not your typical earnest, preachy parenting book -- it’s honest and funny with straight-up advice on how to deal with common ‘misbehaviours’. Alyson targets common ‘misbehaviours’ and gives step by step advice on how to deal with them. She helps you understand why kids do what they do, and that makes it so much easier to deal with the challenges. This book is really about understanding your kids and making your family life better. Alyson gives you practical tips on how to do both.”
– Cheryl Jackson, Host and Producer of TVO’s Your Voice

“We all know that kids tell it like it is. There’s no beating around the bush or sugar-coating things when little people speak their mind. The same can be said for Alyson Schafer. She tackles every possible parenting concern in an educated, straightforward, no-nonsense manner—all the while maintaining an irresistible sense of humour and warmth. Her new book is an invaluable resource for parents of kids of all ages, not just because of its practical suggestions to overcome everything from whining to cheating but also because Schafer’s tips are grounded in solid research. Best of all, she’s never condescending. Rather, her advice is smart, empathetic stuff, laid out in an easy-to-read format, all underscored by Schafer’s firm belief in having fun. Her book helps men and women be the best parents they can be, all the while keeping their cool and enjoying the ride.”
– Gail Johnson, Managing Editor of and mother of two

"Alyson Schafer combines practical advice with an intelligent, philosophical grounding and a friendly, been-there voice. Whether you're worried about kids' sleeping, schooling or swearing, you'll find this book both realistic and reassuring."
– Jacqueline Kovacks, Deputy Editor, Today’s Parent magazine

“Written with humour and compassion from the perspective of someone who understands what sets kids (and parents!) off, this handy guide will give you all the tools you need to manage any misbehaviour and respectfully keep the peace.”
– Sydney Loney, parenting journalist and Co-Founder of and

“Alyson Schafer's advice is grounded in love and respect for the child and compassion for today's stressed parent. Her techniques flow from the recognition that, above all, parenting is not a matter of methods but of understanding and honouring our relationships with our children.”
– Gabor Maté, M.D., co-author of Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need To Matter More Than Peers

"A spectacular resource. So easy to find the issue you're trying to deal with and get simple, direct and positive advice. Alyson's democratic approach feels natural and means that families are working together on these issues instead of parent versus child."
– Pedro Mendes, Host of CBC Radio 3’s Manthropology

“Humorous, humane, and truly helpful, any parent could benefit from the practical wisdom in this splendid book.”
– Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., author of Why Good Kids Act Cruel

“Alyson Schafer has a wonderful way of making Adlerian Psychology easy to understand and practical to use. This book should make a great addition to any parenting library.”
– Dr. Michael Popkin, author of Active Parenting and Taming the Spirited Child

"What I love about Alyson's book is that it tells you what you need to know without making you feel as if you are not parenting correctly. It is a wonderful combination of inspiration and pragmatic ways to solve big and small challenges that we all face with our children. It may be overused, but I think of Alyson as my parent whisperer."
– Ellie Rubin, international speaker, media personality and bestselling author of Ambition: 7 Rules for Getting There and Bulldog: Spirit of the New Entrepreneur

"Alyson Schafer gives parents some great advice on how to respectfully, and democratically, help kids through their most troubling behaviours. Here's a great resource before any family seeks counselling. There's lots of pearls of wisdom like Take Time for Training and ways to encourage independence. Well indexed, this book is a great one to have on every parent's bookshelf. I'll be passing copies to my clients for sure!"
– Michael Ungar, Ph.D., author of Too Safe for their Own Good: How Risk and Responsibility Help Teens Thrive and We Generation: Raising Socially Responsible Kids

“Finally, a parenting book that answers the "what do I do now?" question that haunts every parent daily. Alyson Schafer empowers parents to feel like they can make a difference, and her clear advice and sense of humour make Ain't Misbehavin' the kind of easy-to-use parenting bible you want in your back pocket at all times. ”
– Emma Waverman, blogger for MSN’s and co-author of Whining and Dining: Mealtime Survival for Picky Eaters and Families Who Love Them

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