NC Literary Hall of Fame



Affirmative Parenting by Dale Sheffield, Ph.D

Kindle Direct Publishing
$11.99, paperback / $8.99, e-book
ISBN: 979-8642460733
June, 2020
Nonfiction: Parenting / Self-Help
Available from your local bookstore or

Childrearing can be a daunting experience, with rules to learn, decisions to make, and dangers to avoid. And there are always well-meaning grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even complete strangers who are ready to tell you what to do!

When it comes to discipline and guidance, you may be torn between taking an approach that’s “hands-off” or one that focuses on strict discipline. Sometimes you’ll find yourself veering back and forth between the two, and then asking yourself if you’re doing the right thing.

Your choices may be influenced by your experiences as a child. You may wish to replicate the conditions under which you were raised by your parents or caregivers, or, like the author, you may hope to avoid the approach used on you when you were a child, and find a new way forward for your own family.

The goal of Affirmative Parenting is to make your job easier and more enjoyable. It’s not intended to intimidate you with endless theories and dire warnings about all the things that could go wrong between birth and your child’s entrance into adulthood. It’s designed to provide a positive set of directions based on simple common sense.

Above all, as the title suggests, the book offers an approach based on positive reinforcement of good behavior rather than excessive punishment for bad behavior or mistakes. All human beings, including children, want to know the way forward. They want to learn how to succeed and how to lead a happy life. While the occasional “course correction” is inevitable, the book encourages parents to act as guides for their children, rewarding them for accomplishments, suggesting new goals, and supporting exploration and self-discovery.

You’ll discover that you’ll get better results by saying, “Yes, do this!” rather than, “No, don’t do that.”

Affirmative Parenting shows why it’s important to create an autonomous environment, which is a space for your child to make many of their own decisions while keeping clear boundaries. It’s your job to balance safety and freedom, so that your child has the opportunity to explore both physically and creatively while always having a safe “home base” to return to.

Your child will test you to see your reaction to pushing the limits. If you tell your child to never write on the walls, you can be sure that very soon your child will, in full view of you, stand next to the wall, crayon in hand, looking you in the eye. This is a test to see how you’ll respond, and with the help of this book, you’ll handle the situation with grace and good spirits.

As your child grows from a baby to a young adult, Affirmative Parenting is your indispensable guide, helping you to set your child on the path to success in life.

Dr. Sheffield graduated from North Carolina State University with a Ph.D. in Counselor Education in May 1999 and opened his private practice a few weeks later in Raleigh, NC. He is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor, a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, and a National Certified Counselor. He works with adults,adolescents, children, parents, couples, and families.

Before receiving his Ph.D, he earned a Master's Degree in Counselor Education with a focus in agency counseling from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, graduating in May 1992. From July 1992 until August 1996, he worked for a family service agency and two different county mental health centers in North Carolina before moving to Raleigh to pursue his doctoral studies.

Dr. Sheffield is a member of the American Counseling Association, the American Mental Health Counselors Association, and the Licensed Professional Counselors Association of North Carolina. He is a lifetime member of the Chi Sigma Iota Counseling and Professional Honor Society.

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