We cajole, we threaten, we nag; we even
dole out occasional whacks on the
bottom. As parents we rely on the
tried-and-true method of disciplining.
Has it worked?
According to Dr. Neil Weiner of the Get
Psyched! store in Tempe, these methods
donít get to the heart of the matter. He
firmly believes we need to throw old
paradigms overboard and embrace a
totally novel method of producing
positive behavior in our children--a
system with no labeling and no
Weiner posits that the traditional
methods are not nearly as effective as
his new parenting method, one that he
readily admits is ďtotally illogical.Ē
Weiner's upcoming ďNuts and Bolts of
DisciplineĒ seminar is the result of
15-plus years of research Weiner has
compiled while working with more than
500 families for the past 30 years.
Scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 19,
the workshop will be a preview to an
eight-week seminar series beginning Aug.
Weiner, along with assistants Stacy
Anderson Taouil and Amber
Wilcocks-Lamonte, will lead the series,
which runs from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Saturdays. Billed by Weiner as
innovative and unorthodox, the series
will tackle behavioral issues for
infants to 18-year-olds.
During a recent interview, Dr. Weiner
presented cogent arguments for his
Wrangler News: Why do believe
traditional discipline methods donít
Neil Weiner: Traditional methods are
based on ďbehaviorismĒ and conditioned
responses. I found that these methods
donít work well with problem children.
Itís not productive to give children the
same interventions over and over again
that didnít work in the first place.
Also, traditional methods use labeling,
which makes the child think there is
something wrong with them.
WN: What is wrong with rewarding kids?
NW: The message the kids get is that
itís just the money or reward that
counts. Youíre teaching that external
rewards are important. When these kids
get older, they become dependent on
external, not internal rewards.
WN: Do standard methods ever work?
NW: If a kid has a few difficulties, the
standard stuff may work. When you get
into repetitive behavior problems it
doesnít work at all.
WN: What is your philosophy and how do
you implement it?
NW: All symptoms are redefined as
ďloving from the child.Ē My basic
premise is that a strategy needs to be
based on love and family closeness as
opposed to rewards and punishments. Most
parents tend to revert to the standard
systems where kids are rewarded with
money, gifts and privileges of
disciplining. Conversely, negative
behavior elicits negative responses. In
my system there are no rewards and
punishments. The kids cannot figure out
whatís going on and thatís why they
WN: What is a typical method you use?
NW: To begin with I frequently turn the
therapy into a game. Kids lie and steal
because they are not getting enough
attention and my games address these
issues creatively. In the seminar,
parents will learn about these methods.
WN: Can teachers use these methods?
NW: Yes, but I would have to go into the
schools to teach the counselors and
teachers how to employ my methods.
WN: Can you give us an example of how
you would deal with a child who has a
meltdown in front of his or her parents?
NW: It is not punishment the child
needs, but love; the child needs to get
the message that the tantrum is bringing
the parents closer together. To this
end, the parents should kiss
passionately. The parents should
actually thank the child for bringing
them closer and for creating a more
loving family. The result is that the
child canít get whatís going on; it
totally confuses them and takes away the
reason for the tantrum. The child is
shocked and more importantly it makes
them stop. What kid wants to see their
WN: What are some other things that
parents do wrong in your opinion?
NW: Kids are used to parentís constant
verbalization. My method is non-verbal;
itís not based on labeling children;
naughty, ADD, rebellious, etc. Most
interventions are based on consistency
and most parents are not consistent;
thatís another reason not to use them.Ē
WN: What are some reasons you believe
kids today have more behavior problems
than in the past?
NW: Nintendo, cell phones, TV, text
messaging and two working parents
contribute to a lot of the problems. We
need to be more involved with our kids;
the average amount of communication time
is seven minutes a day; Americans want
to be happy right now and have immediate
gratification. The kids today are the
same. They immediately want the latest
ipod, computer game, clothes, car, etc.
This causes tremendous problems.
Participants in Weinerís seminar receive
handouts, developmental information,
PowerPoint presentations and appropriate
interventions for each age range. Role
playing will be a strong component as
Price for the July 19 seminar is $10 per
person or $15 for two. For the series,
each individual seminar is $20 and $35
per couple. Call for group rates.
Get Psyched! is at 1709 E. Guadalupe
Road. Information: 839-6400.