This website has been developed to help parents with the everyday challenges of childrearing. Two features make the information we provide unique. First, we discuss and provide concrete techniques—tools—you can use in the home to develop positive behaviors in your children. Second, the techniques draw on what has been learned from decades of research on how to use these techniques so they actually change behavior.
Of course, science does not have all or even most of the answers to key questions for our daily lives. Yet, what is surprising here is that research has provided ways to achieve your goals of child rearing. In the process, we have learned that man familiar tried and true procedures that many of us normally use (nagging, reprimands, most punishment) are not likely to be effective. There are more effective and less stressful ways of helping your child and your family in the process. If you are pleased with your child-rearing and how your child is doing at home, at school, in social relations, and other spheres, there is no need to use any of the techniques we discuss and illustrate. As I mentioned, it is useful to consider the techniques as tools—keep them in your toolbox and use if needed.
We have been applying these techniques for approximately 30 years at the Yale Parenting Center. We began by treating children with severely aggressive and antisocial behavior. Over the years, demand increased for helping parents with the normal challenges of everyday such as having children get ready for school, eating more than one or two foods, completing homework, being better listeners, getting along better with siblings, and so on. In addition to our experience, we have conducted several studies to evaluate the effectiveness of what we are doing. Other researchers have been evaluating the techniques as well and now there is a sufficient body of work to be of direct help in childrearing.
Our overall goal is represented by a slogan we adopted years ago: “We make families stronger.” We have adopted that because improving child behavior at home often reduces stress and improves family relations. Think of the difficulty some families have in making sure their young child is up, dressed, has breakfast, and is ready to leave on time to get to school in the morning. We have several techniques that can make that much less dramatic and eventful. In the process stress for everyone in the home can decrease. Similarly, if a child says “no” a lot, parents up the ante in lectures, reprimands, maybe even shouting to get the child to do the behavior. This is our specialty—we can greatly improve compliance and here too in that process stress for everyone is decreased.
We hope to share what we have learned and to provide concrete help that draws on years of experience and research. Yes, I have children but more importantly my team and I have worked individually with thousands of children from ages 1 ½ to 15 years of age. Children are individuals and all families are different so the techniques are adapted to address these.
You will find several resources for both parents and health-care professionals. In addition, I have devised an online course where the procedures are described and illustrate very concretely. That course and resources here provide the set of tools that form The Kazdin Method®.