Here is a review of Parenting with Science: Behavior Analysis Saves Mom's Sanity from Martha Gabler, author of Chaos to Calm! Thanks, Martha!
See more from Martha at her website: http://autismchaostocalm.com/
All moms need this book. I wish I had had it when my Littles were little. It is brief, easy to understand, gets to the point, and –most importantly – it works!
Leanne Page, with humorous examples and chatty explanations, shows us ordinary moms how to use scientific principles to, not only improve behaviors, but to teach our children important skills. And I mean the really important life skills like self-care, cooperation with parents, and polite behavior to others.
She shows parents how to do that difficult task of paying attention to good behaviors and not reacting to undesired behaviors. She explains how to look at undesired (annoying) behaviors and to think about, “What behavior would be a better alternative for my Little?” An example of this is teaching the Little to tap mom’s shoulder to ask for something instead of screaming.
She explains how to use positive reinforcement to increase good behaviors, and how to eliminate “random” rewards which may accidentally reinforce undesired behaviors. I loved the section on how to pair a desired activity with an undesired activity so that the undesired activity becomes more palatable to the child.
Other great sections explain how to decide on a replacement behavior to take the place of an annoying behavior, how to use tokens the right way to teach the desired replacement behavior, and how to use tokens to teach “group” behaviors -- so that all the children in the family learn how to behave politely with each other. These are crucial social and human interaction skills that parents desperately want to teach but often don’t know how.
Most importantly, this book replaces superstitious parenting with scientific parenting. It shows parents that they don’t have to resort to yelling, scolding and punishment to teach their children the right way to behave. Those are age-old tactics and we use them because we don’t know better and they are still socially accepted (and even advocated). The science of behavior analysis gives us outstanding effective tools to teach our children important life skills: without punishment, without trauma, and without anger.
Two final notes:
Leanne’s advice is practical. The problems she discusses are common problems. The solutions build on a skill all parents already have – the ability to observe their children.
Leanne’s advice is affordable. The solutions involve almost no financial cost. Leanne specifically describes how to make simple home-made charts and token systems, and how to use low-cost treats (treats that we would be giving anyway) as reinforcers for our children’s good behaviors.
This is a five-star book.
Leanne Page, MEd, BCBA