SOS: Help for Parents is a practical guide to disciplining children aged 2 thru 12 in order to effectively discontinue unwanted behavior and reward desired behavior. It is written by Lynn Clark, Ph.D., who applies 30 years of clinical psychology work with children and families in order to compose this easy to read, easy to follow, and easy to execute guide to child behavior. The grammar and vernacular is a bit dated, but the concepts and examples are universal – every parent will recognize the scenarios presented with this 254 page guide, and I dare say nearly every parent will learn something new for having read it.

The crux of SOS boils down to: when your child misbehaves, immediately put them in time out (for one minute per year of age). Explain why there is timeout using ten words or less, and make sure they are in an isolated spot where they will be safe and not distracted. My largest take-away from reading this guide is that time out is not intended to punish the child; rather, it is intended to bore them. Whereas punishment can often lead to a power struggle wherein the child seeks to manipulate parents or challenge boundaries, the boredom of timeout is a very effective tool because it takes away the only currency in the pockets of a toddler-tween: time.

SOS has three essential rules (from which several strategy-rich chapters are derived):

SOS was a quick read, and I would highly suggest it to all other parents to peruse/reference.