The Incredible Years: A Trouble-Shooting Guide for Parents of Children Aged 3-8


256 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-895642-02-7
DDC 649'.123





Reviewed by Elizabeth Levin

Elizabeth Levin is a psychology professor at Laurentian University.


This book is described by its author as a practical and informative
guide to behavior management approaches that can reduce behavior
problems before they get out of hand. The guide is intended for parents
of 3- to 8-year-olds with mild behavior problems.

Part 1 focuses on effective child management strategies, and includes
such topics as playing with and praising your child; teaching children
to problem-solve; using rewards and time out; natural and logical
consequences to misbehavior; and limit setting. Strategies for managing
child behavior are carefully described, and a parent who wishes to set
up a program is given solid advice. Nevertheless, not all parents will
be comfortable with this strategy, and some may prefer a more
talk-oriented approach. Furthermore, the answer to the question “What
if it doesn’t work?” is given scant attention. The message is, if
you do it right, it will work; but real life isn’t always that easy.

Part 2 focuses on the parent, with chapters on how to communicate
better; how to deal with anger, depression, and guilt about children’s
(mis)behavior; and family problem solving.

Part 3 addresses specific behavior problems, and uses the principles
previously described in presenting coping strategies. While parents of
children with these problems may find the strategies helpful, not all
will agree that the identified behaviors necessarily are problems (e.g.,
having a child crawl into the parental bed). Furthermore, while the
strategies may be appropriate for children with mild problems, they lack
sufficient depth to deal with more serious problems (e.g., attention
deficit disorder, which is the subject of one chapter).

Humorous line drawings are scattered through the text, but there is
little warmth in the illustrations, and the children aren’t very

All in all, however, this is an easy-to-read guide with how-to
suggestions that are likely to be helpful to a parent.


Webster-Stratton, Carolyn., “The Incredible Years: A Trouble-Shooting Guide for Parents of Children Aged 3-8,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 28, 2024,