Do You Ever Feel Like a Crappy Parent?

I became a BCBA in 2003 as my two sons entered early elementary school. Until then I was pretty much just winging it as a parent. As you probably know if you have been listening to my video blogs for a few months, my oldest son Lucas has moderate to severe autism so I started learning about ABA when he was diagnosed in 1999. Today I’m talking about what to do if you ever feel like a crappy parent.

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So I was using some ABA principles starting back when my kids were toddlers but I realized back then that I never learned how to be a great parent and that very few people ever learn this. Even Behavior Analysts who know how to teach kids with autism often don’t know how to deal with typical tantrums, sleep issues, picky eating and a host of other parenting dilemas.

Lucas, for example didn’t sleep in his own bed consistently through the night until he was 10 years old (3 or 4 years after I became a BCBA) and both of my kids were very picky eaters, especially early on so I know first-hand how difficult it is to apply proven behavioral strategies to be a great parent to kids with and without autism.

In the next few video blogs I’m going to tell you about a few books that I’ve read since Lucas’ diagnosis that have helped to me become a better BCBA, parent and person.

This week, I’m going to tell you I’m About Dr. Glenn Latham’s book called Positive Parenting.  I saw Dr. Latham present for one hour in the year 2000 and his lecture completely changed my perspective on parenting. It was originally written in 1990 and is filled with practical advice parents can use with toddlers through teens. Dr. Latham was not a behavior analyst  but he did have a PhD in special-education. He spoke at a conference in New York City because one of his grandchildren had autism and his book was helpful to parents of children with and without special needs.

In his book, Dr. Latham talks a lot about the need for positive reinforcement when raising toddlers through teens and explains ABA principles in an easy to understand way. He also stresses the need to avoid coercion (which is punishment or the threat of punishment) because if you force kids to do things (because you say so and you are bigger than them), this won’t work as they get older and bigger.

I’ve literally purchased this book for baby shower gifts and, even though the Positive Parenting book was written a few decades ago, it’s still the #1 parenting book I recommend.

Next week I’ll discuss another book by Dr. Latham that can help teachers and next week’s book can be downloaded for free so stay tuned!

Please leave me a comment below and I’ll see you next week!