I feel like this book can be summarized in a sentence by, “If your child is having trouble in any area, make a written plan and follow through.” Although I love plans and lists, this book felt a little unnecessary long and detailed to me.
Review: I noticed that this book had a lot of positive reviews on Amazon, but I didn’t find it incredibly useful. Basically, what it boiled down to in my opinion was: If your child is having a habitual problem, make a plan and follow it. Their solutions involve a lot of checklists and “incentives”. So for example, if the child is having trouble getting ready for school in the morning, make a checklist of all the steps he needs to complete so he can stay on task. Eventually he should not need the checklist anymore. If they are having trouble completing their homework, maybe offer them an incentive like a cell phone or cell phone privileges so they will be motivated to remember to get things done.
I completely agree that executive skills (self-control, self-regulation, self-discipline) are extremely important. I also don’t have a problem with checklists at all. Before reading this book, I made a picture checklist for my 5 year old to help him learn to get ready for school in the morning and bed at night and it served its purpose beautifully. I referred him to his lists when he got off track for a couple weeks and then he didn’t need them anymore. However, I don’t think using a checklist requires an entire book to explain and their incentives sound a lot like bribes to me.
If your child is having a lot of trouble regulating himself, then maybe it is worth resorting to the techniques described in this book to try and make sure they have a handle on these skills. The authors do describe a lot of step-by-step solutions for a variety of problems. I have no doubt this book would be useful to some parents. However, this is not a general parenting book for everyone, in my opinion, though I think the authors believe it is. These are not techniques I would start with, but rather techniques I would give a shot if I was really concerned and felt nothing else was working. (Personal Rating: 6/10)