The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever--And What to Do About It

The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever--And What to Do About It

by Katherine Reynolds Lewis


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The current model of parental discipline is as outdated as a rotary phone.

Why don't our kids do what we want them to do? Parents often take the blame for misbehavior, but this obscures a broader trend: in our modern, highly connected age, children have less self-control than ever. About half of the current generation of children will develop a mood or behavioral disorder or a substance addiction by age eighteen. Contemporary kids need to learn independence and responsibility, yet our old ideas of punishments and rewards are preventing this from happening.

To stem this growing crisis of self-regulation, journalist and parenting expert Katherine Reynolds Lewis articulates what she calls The Apprenticeship Model, a new theory of discipline that centers on learning the art of self-control. Blending new scientific research and powerful individual stories of change, Lewis shows that, if we trust our children to face consequences, they will learn to adapt and moderate their own behavior. She watches as chaotic homes become peaceful, bewildered teachers see progress, and her own family grows and evolves in light of these new ideas. You'll recognize your own family in Lewis's sensitive, realistic stories, and you'll find a path to making everyone in your home more capable, kinder, and happier—including yourself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541774063
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 04/09/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 329,493
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Katherine Reynolds Lewis is an award-winning independent journalist based in the Washington, DC, area who regularly writes for The Atlantic, Fortune, USA Today's magazine group, the Washington Post, and Working Mother magazine. Lewis's byline has also appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek, MSN Money, Money, Mother Jones, the New York Times, Parade, Slate, and the Washington Post Magazine. Her work has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Chicago Headline Club. She has received fellowships from the Carey Institute for Global Good, the National Press Foundation, the Poynter Institute, and the University of Maryland's Casey Journalism Center. Residencies include Le Moulin à Nef, Ragdale, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her media appearances include CNN, NPR, Bloomberg television and radio, and HuffPost Live, as well as numerous radio programs nationally and internationally. In 2008, Lewis created a website on working moms for, which she ran until 2014, attracting millions of readers to the site, its blog, and a weekly newsletter. She is a certified parent educator with the Parent Encouragement Program in Kensington, Maryland.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi

Part 1 The Problem

1 Introduction 3

2 An Epidemic of Misbehavior 11

3 The Brain and Discipline 37

4 The Old Methods Don't Work 55

Part 2 The Solution

5 The Way Forward 79

6 Connection 97

7 Communication 119

8 Capability 143

9 Limits and Routines 165

Part 3 Making It Stick

10 Modeling 191

11 Create Lasting Change 209

Age-Appropriate Jobs 229

Top Takeaways and Resources 233

Acknowledgments 237

Selected Bibliography 241

Index 251

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The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever ? And What to Do About It 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
MFSkinner More than 1 year ago
I was lucky to read a review copy of this book. I admit I was a little skeptical, "Not Another Parenting book!!!!!" This book hit home with me instantly. Many of the stories about children in this book could have been taken out of my family's life. She lays out with researched-backed proof that kids really are growing up quite differently. Therefore, the old parenting model of "Because I said so!!!!" doesn't work anymore. Not to worry, the solutions presented aren't very difficult to understand. All it will take is a few little changes and a couple ounces of trust (in yourself and your kids).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most parenting books offer a "key phrase" that supposedly sums every thing up. The mantra Lewis uses - "Connection, Communication, Competency" - actually makes total sense. Surely you have to connect emotionally with a child - slowing down, getting eye contact, showing you care and are listening. Only then will what you're trying to communicate have a chance to get through (and only then will the child 'open up' to you). This creates the window of opportunity to transfer emotional-control skills to the child - to make the child himself the competent manager of his emotional life. I'm going to keep these three words in one pocket, and the toolkit of skills Lewis offers in the other, as I try (again and again!) to be the parent my child deserves.
storiteller More than 1 year ago
Ever wonder if there really is something different about "kids today?" It turns out that the current generation of kids growing up truly do have less self-control and more emotional challenges than previous generations. But - that just means there's more opportunity to raise them right. I just finished reading a review copy of Katherine Reynolds Lewis's new book, The Good News About Bad Behavior, where she tackles both the issues and opportunities. She provides a solid summary of the research looking at how the environment kids are growing up in is fundamentally different and how it's affecting them. The book then presents "the apprenticeship model" for raising kids, with examples of three programs that are helping parents navigate this new territory. I found the book a great overview of this new model of parenting and why it works. I encourage you to check it out!
Jori Lenon More than 1 year ago
This book is the perfect mix of story telling, science, understanding, humor and human nature... and, yes, with a little advice tossed into the mix. OK, a lot of advice! But it is great advice and I love the way it is shared. This book is a fascinating read as well as a pleasant reminder that I did all right in the end. (Or I got really lucky!) I was not a perfect parent – that would be freaky weird, not to mention impossible – but I am proud of the fact that I always communicated with my kids, not just to them. My boys are all grown up now and I am so proud of them.
Michelle Ng More than 1 year ago
A few years ago, I came across Katherine's article in Mother Jones magazine on a new approach to dealing with child discipline issues that debunked old myths. I was thrilled to get my hands on her new book that dealt with this topic in depth, with practical advice on how to manage our children (and ourselves) when facing kids who lack self-control.
LloydLee More than 1 year ago
I found this book engaging, wise and practical. As opposed to parenting books like "Tiger Mother", this one gets into not just "what to do" but the "why" and the "how", introducing new research and ideas that changed the way that I understand myself, the kids in my life, and our relationship. This is a great addition to the research-driven yet approachable/narrative self-understanding and self-improvement genre (e.g. David Brooks' The Social Animal or Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking). I found myself taking many pages of notes about parenting techniques. But the book also revealed a lot to me about how to improve my relationships with my parents other family members, and even colleagues. Entertaining, insightful and extremely useful. Couldn't be more pleased to have read it!