“My son is 3½, and each day he amazes me with his observations of the world and achievement of new skills. At 3½ years old, he is also well into the stage of development that includes pushing the limits, whining, saying “no,” throwing tantrums, and repeating not-so-good phrases and actions that he has observed from TV, other kids and, yes, even his parents. He has also come to realize that he too can have power or control over a situation and is constantly testing how this works.

Although in my professional life I work with children, some with very challenging behaviors, I needed to ground myself in someone else’s expertise in order to better manage how I engage with my own child in those more stressful moments. That is why I decided to purchase Kids: The Manual. I had signed up to receive your e-mails about sleep issues when my son was younger and I found your advice to be practical and made sense.

And that is what I find your new resource to be: practical and makes sense for real life. It is also very easy to follow and visually can be scanned quickly to find the parts I like to refer back to.

Reading your book helped me to pay attention and to realize that yes, I do give choices, but I also bribe and threaten a little too much. I do “listen” to my child, but I also need to remember that just like adults, they more often than not need to have their feelings acknowledged before we can move on.

But I think most of all, Kids: The Manual helped me to realize that when I am tired and stressed by timelines and a multitude of tasks, my fuse gets shorter and my voice rises and I become the authoritarian instead of authoritative parent. Or I become permissive and inconsistent (threatening a time-out and only following through after the behavior was demonstrated not once, but a few more times). And nobody wins or feels better in these situations.

What has become clearer for me as I use Kids: The Manual (and when I say use, I mean that I often revisit it to tune myself back in… it is not meant to be read just once!) is that I don’t like to see my child upset or sad or crying (e.g., because they really do or don’t want something), but I also don’t want my child to be confused or ashamed, which could come from inconsistent/permissive parenting. When I find myself getting frustrated, I recall your book and remind myself that if I keep my voice and emotions even, keep my words concise, and make sure that I follow through even if I don’t like to hear them cry, it all pays off and my son’s behavior (although not perfect) is 10 times better.

Your book helped me to realize my strengths as well as my areas for improvement, which is really important because for all my good praising and listening skills, if I am not calm, concise, and consistent in dealing with the “bad” behavior, then things won’t change or move in a more positive direction. Thank you for putting together this resource. I have recommended it to other parents.”