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Katherine Reynolds Lewis: The Good News About Bad Behavior


In Conversation with Nevin Martell

Katherine Reynolds Lewis’s 2015 Mother Jones article “What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?” became the most-read article in the history of the magazine. She argued that kids today really are different than those in the pre-digital era, and that parenting, especially parental discipline, has to be different, too.

Expanding on that article in her book The Good News About Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever--And What to Do About It, Lewis draws on studies, anecdotal evidence, and her own experience as a parent and a certified parent educator to show that old methods like time-outs and negative consequences only reflect parents’ own lack of self-control and exacerbate behavior problems in the children. A better approach, one based on solving problems rather than controlling behavior, is to trust the kids, including trusting them to take responsibility for their actions.

Lewis articulates what she calls The Apprenticeship Model, a new theory of discipline that centers on learning the art of self-control. Blending new scientific research and powerful individual stories of change, Lewis shows that, if we trust our children to face consequences, they will learn to adapt and moderate their own behavior. She watches as chaotic homes become peaceful, bewildered teachers see progress, and her own family grows and evolves in light of these new ideas. You’ll recognize your own family in Lewis’s sensitive, realistic stories, and you’ll find a path to making everyone in your home more capable, kinder, and happier–including yourself.

Katherine Reynolds Lewis is a Washington, DC-area journalist whose articles on work, education, and parenting have appeared in TheAtlantic.comFortune, the New York TimesSlate, and the Washington Post Magazine. She will be in conversation with Nevin Martell, author and parenting columnist for Washingtonian

600 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

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