Top critical review
Nonsensical pseudo science
Reviewed in the United States on March 10, 2018
OMG I hated this book and even found it offensive.
Despite the claims on the cover, the entire approach of this book is nothing revolutionary, it's just straight up behaviorist methods: if you do what I like, you get a star; if you don't do what I like, you get a punishment. Lots of people I otherwise respect believe in behaviorism, and it can be very effective in the short term, but it can cause longterm problems.
But what I found really offensive about this book was its utterly baseless fear mongering: there are hypothetical examples of a day dreaming child growing up to have auto accidents. What??? Is there ANY scientific correlation between childhood daydreaming and auto accidents? Of course not! And even if there were, would you really rely on an eighteen dollar book to deal with it? There are other hints that because your ten year old gets distracted cleaning his room, he may "fail to launch." Or be unable to hold down a job. GIVE ME A BREAK. If messy rooms and not doing chores were predictors of later development, then wouldn't like 80% of adults still be living with their parents? And where is it shown that submission to adults' expectations results in greater independence in adulthood? I want to see that study. In fact, the one middle-aged guy I know who is unemployed and lives with his parents is extremely organized, punctual, etc. Go figure.
And this is from the parent assessment: “I believe in starting right away, no matter what the task…” WHO would answer yes to this? No matter what the task? You never reflect? You never pace yourself? You never weigh priorities? Where’s the self-help book for that guy?
Turns out the science behind this is very flimsy. Executive function is hard to measure. Even if you can manage to get your child to comply with behaviorist tactics without creating power struggles, there's no evidence of longterm benefit--certainly not in reading or math scores:
"But despite the promise and the hype — not to mention the many millions of dollars spent — it turns out there isn’t solid evidence that improving executive function actually leads to better grades. That’s the startling finding of a new meta-analysis, published in the journal Review of Educational Research, which looks at 67 studies of school-based programs that target executive function. In fact, this latest research found no support for the idea that improving those skills can lead directly to better test scores in reading or math."