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Don't Swear with Your Mouth Full!

When conventional discipline fails unconventional children

By Cary S. Chugh, Ph.D.


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Reviewer: Allison Martin

Don't Swear with Your Mouth Full is a self-published book on behavior management by Cary Chugh, a child psychologist in private practice in New York State. He explains that children can have many different temperaments, some of which can make parenting more difficult (such as "The Difficult Child), and can be compounded by issues such as ADD, autism and other special needs, foster care, and/or ODD. 10-15% of children have disruptive behavior disorders and make up almost 75% of the referrals to mental health clinics, according to his book.

Cary Chugh explains that behavior problems can occur in three circumstances: the child doesn't know the rules, the child can not handle his emotions, and/or the child wants control. His book focuses on using the child's desire for control. Cary Chugh provides advice on teaching the rules and enforcing more appropriate behavior, including proper expression of emotions and carry-through. He says that," You know a punishment is effective if you don't have to keep using it."

Surprisingly easy to read and absorb, Cary Chugh explains his theory that traditional parenting techniques may not work over the long term with certain children. Although he advocates the democratic parenting style, he provides strict guidelines on modifying traditional parenting techniques, such as time out or removals of favorite activities and objects, to make them more effective. In many cases he suggests additional steps to encourage better behavior, which he designates "behavior limiting discipline." This discipline can include techniques which require certain behaviors such as doing difficult chores to earn back rewards and reinforce good behavior.

I found the book quite readable and logical. The concept of finding ways to motivate your child toward better behavior is a good one. In practice, it seems to be more difficult to execute without emotions continuing into a downward spiral or demands becoming punitive. However, it is helpful for parents to have many techniques, especially when dealing with more difficult behavior, and this book provides an interesting insight into ways to be more effective.

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