Optimistic Parenting: Hope and Help for You and Your Challenging Child

Author: V. Mark Durand Ph.D.

Format: Paperback, 336 pages, 6.0 x 9.0
ISBN: 9781598570526
Price: $26.95

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Happier lives. Less stress. Family harmony. That's what all parents of children with challenging behavior want. Learn how to get there with this groundbreaking guide to confident, skillful, and positive parenting.

A book you'll want to share with every family you know, Optimistic Parenting helps moms, dads, and other caregivers develop more positive thoughts and perceptions—a key ingredient of successful parenting and effective behavior management. One of the most highly regarded experts on challenging behavior—and a parent himself—Dr. V. Mark Durand delivers both philosophical hope and practical helpto parents of children with a wide range of challenges. With keen insight, gentle humor, and practical tools and strategies, Durand guides parents step by step through the process of

  • pinpointing the "why" behind challenging behavior
  • tuning in to their own thoughts, emotions, and self-talk
  • understanding how their thoughts affect their interactions with their child
  • interrupting negative thoughts and replacing them with positive, productive ones
  • achieving a healthy balance between taking care of their own needs and their child's needs
  • using effective emergency strategies when quick behavior intervention is needed
  • implementing long-term strategies for lasting behavior improvements
  • weaving functional communication training into everyday routines and interactions
  • addressing the most common problem areas, such as sleep and transitions
  • increasing mindfulness and parenting "in the moment"

Engaging stories from the author's extensive experience illustrate how parents and other caregivers can develop more effective behavior management techniques. And practical tools and exercises, developed and tested during Durand's decades of work with thousands of parents, help families on their own journey to better parenting and happier lives.

A lifeline for overwhelmed parents—and a great source of insight for the professionals who work with them—this highly motivating guidebook will help families reduce children's challenging behaviors and approach the future with optimism and confidence.


Review: nyparenting.com
"A most worthy investment for any parent that longs for tranquil moments amidst turbulent waters."
Review: The Midwest Book Review - Wisconsin Bookwatch
"A strong pick for those who believe in the power of positive thinking."
Review by: Lorna DEntremont, Special Needs Book Review

"I can assure you every person caring or working for a child regardless of age or abilities will benefit from V. Mark Durands optimistic parenting advice . . . The authors friendly, conversational style of writing brings the reader on board feeling that a friend is giving him parenting advice. Optimistic Parenting receives five STARS from Special Needs Book Review for the quality of the content and organization of this book!"

Review by: Ann Turnbull, Co-Director, Beach Center on Disability
"A truly lasting legacy of being an optimistic parent is raising optimistic children who not only survive but prevail in future challenges they will inevitably meet. Children, indeed, learn what they live. Be an optimistic role model!"
Review by: Jed Baker, author of No More Meltdowns and Social Skills Training
"I am indeed more hopeful after reading Dr. Durand's book! It was his original research that showed us how to effectively improve challenging behaviors by bothering to ask 'why' individuals behaved as they did. Now, with equal clarity, he has shown us how to develop the thoughts and attitudes necessary to carry out these effective techniques. And, if we can cultivate these thoughts as suggested, the added bonus is greater life satisfaction."
Review by: Louis Pellegrino, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY
"A refreshing and innovative approach that treats parenting as a vocation rather than a technique . . . provides parents with the hope that believing in themselves and becoming optimistic parents is, in fact, the Holy Grail to effective parenting."
Review by: Glen Dunlap, University of South Florida
"A major step forward in efforts to help families and children whose lives are affected by challenging behavior . . . Crammed with helpful guidance, much of which will not be found in previous manuals."

Table of Contents

About the Author


  • Goals
  • Tried and True Techniques
  • Organization of This Book

Section I: Hope

Chapter 1: Optimistic Parenting

  • The Good News
  • Being Happy
  • One Family's Lessons
  • Background
  • Knowing Why Is Important
  • Lessons from the ResearchvWho Is to Blame? 
  • Putting It All Together

Chapter 2: Confident Parenting

  • Father and Son
  • Optimism and Pessimism
  • A Pessimistic Family

Chapter 3: Insight into Your Thoughts and Feelings

  • The Journal
  • What Are the Consequences of Your Thoughts and Feelings?

Chapter 4: Changing the Way You Think

  • Are You Ready to Change?
  • Disputation: Challenging Beliefs
  • Distraction: Interrupting Unproductive and Distressing Thoughts
  • Substitution: Replacing Unproductive and Distressing Thoughts
  • Gaining Perspective

Chapter 5: How to Become a Happier Parent

  • The Effects of Stress
  • On Happiness
  • The Pursuit of Happiness
  • Final Thoughts

Section II: Help

Chapter 6: A Close Look at Your Child's Behavior

  • Setting Goals
  • Defining Behaviors
  • Keeping Track of Behaviors
  • Understanding Why
  • Reasons for Challenging Behavior
  • How to Find Out Why
  • Final Thoughts

Chapter 7: Emergency Strategies

  • Avoiding Difficult Situations
  • Improving Difficult Situations
  • Providing Choices
  • Creating Predictable Routines

Chapter 8: Managing Consequences

  • Attention as a Consequence
  • Tangibles as a Consequence
  • Sensory Feedback as a Consequence
  • Escape as a Consequence
  • Using Behavior Problems to Choose Reinforcers
  • Punishment and Bribes
  • Structured Ways of Reinforcing Your Child

Chapter 9: Replacing Behavior Problems

  • Teacher Pessimism
  • Functional Communication Training
  • More Help

Section III: Special Topics

Chapter 10: Transitions

  • Predictability
  • Making Positive Transitions
  • Summary

Chapter 11: Sleep Problems

  • What Is Sleep? 
  • Sleep Problems
  • Sleep Assessment
  • Good Sleep Habits
  • Sleep Medications
  • Bedtime Problems
  • Night Waking Problems


Appendix A: Blank Forms

  • Self-Talk Journal
  • Thoughts and Feelings
  • Consequences
  • Disputation
  • Distraction
  • Substitution
  • ABC Chart
  • Scatter Plot
  • Behavioral Contract
  • Satisfaction with Life Scale
  • Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale
  • Thoughts Quiz
  • Albany Sleep Problems Scale (ASPS) 
  • Sleep Diary
  • Sleep Intervention Questionnaire (SIQ)

Appendix B: Additional Resources


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