Whale Done Parenting

How to Make Parenting a Positive Experience for You and Your Kids

Ken Blanchard (Author) | Thad Lacinak (Author) | Chuck Tompkins (Author) | Jim Ballard (Author)

Publication date: 11/01/2009

Bestseller over 30,000+ copies sold

Whale Done Parenting

Five simple and effective principles for coping with any parenting challenge based on killer whale training techniques.

Offers five simple and effective principles for coping with any parenting challenge

Based on actual killer whale training techniques

Story format makes this an unusual and entertaining approach for a parenting book


“How is it they can get a killer whale to urinate on cue, and we can’t get our son to pee into the toilet?”

Most parents feel frustrated with their children from time to time, but killer whale trainer-in-training Amy Sheldrake has a unique perspective. She marvels at the complex behaviors her superiors are able to coax out of these enormous beasts, while she and her husband struggle to make their beloved – and much smaller – son Josh obey what seem like the simplest rules.

What does training killer whales have to do with raising children? As this engrossing and unique parenting fable shows, more than you’d think. In their New York Times bestseller Whale Done, Ken Blanchard and his coauthors – including two veteran marine mammal trainers – showed how positive training concepts used at places like SeaWorld could be adapted to the workplace. In this new book they apply these same principles to parenting. Once Amy and Matt get the hang of the five Whale Done principles, they see a dramatic difference in overcoming challenges like following bedtime routines, dealing with tantrums, introducing new foods, sharing, avoiding overuse of the word no, learning to care for a pet, and instituting time-outs.

The foundation of the Whale Done approach is respect. It emphasizes communication and praise rather than obedience and punishment – this is not some Pavlovian primer. Whale Done is much more than a set of techniques; it is a way of looking at people and seeing the best that is in them. Great leaders, saints, and sages have developed this skill. Since most of us are less advanced than those paragons, this book can serve as a guide for how to bring out the best in our children.

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Overview

Five simple and effective principles for coping with any parenting challenge based on killer whale training techniques.

Offers five simple and effective principles for coping with any parenting challenge

Based on actual killer whale training techniques

Story format makes this an unusual and entertaining approach for a parenting book


“How is it they can get a killer whale to urinate on cue, and we can’t get our son to pee into the toilet?”

Most parents feel frustrated with their children from time to time, but killer whale trainer-in-training Amy Sheldrake has a unique perspective. She marvels at the complex behaviors her superiors are able to coax out of these enormous beasts, while she and her husband struggle to make their beloved – and much smaller – son Josh obey what seem like the simplest rules.

What does training killer whales have to do with raising children? As this engrossing and unique parenting fable shows, more than you’d think. In their New York Times bestseller Whale Done, Ken Blanchard and his coauthors – including two veteran marine mammal trainers – showed how positive training concepts used at places like SeaWorld could be adapted to the workplace. In this new book they apply these same principles to parenting. Once Amy and Matt get the hang of the five Whale Done principles, they see a dramatic difference in overcoming challenges like following bedtime routines, dealing with tantrums, introducing new foods, sharing, avoiding overuse of the word no, learning to care for a pet, and instituting time-outs.

The foundation of the Whale Done approach is respect. It emphasizes communication and praise rather than obedience and punishment – this is not some Pavlovian primer. Whale Done is much more than a set of techniques; it is a way of looking at people and seeing the best that is in them. Great leaders, saints, and sages have developed this skill. Since most of us are less advanced than those paragons, this book can serve as a guide for how to bring out the best in our children.

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Meet the Authors


Visit Author Page - Ken Blanchard

Few people have made a more positive and lasting impact on the day-to-day management of people and companies than Ken Blanchard. He is the coauthor of several best-selling books, including the blockbuster international bestseller The New One Minute Manager® and the giant business bestsellers Raving Fans and Gung Ho! His books have combined sales of more than twenty million copies in forty-two languages. 

Ken and his wife, Margie, are cofounders of The Ken Blanchard Companies®, a worldwide human resource development company. Ken is also cofounder of Lead Like Jesus, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring and equipping people to be servant leaders in the marketplace. 

Ken and Margie live in San Diego and work with their son, Scott, his wife, Madeleine, and their daughter, Debbie.



Visit Author Page - Thad Lacinak
Thad Lacinak is founder and co-owner of a behavioral consulting company, Precision Behavior. He has over 29 years of marine mammal training and management experience. Thad is currently Vice President and Corporate Curator for America's foremost marine parks. He has written and co-authored 37 published scientific papers on training and behavior and has won several international training awards from the International Marine Animal Trainers Association.


Visit Author Page - Chuck Tompkins


Chuck Tompkins is Corporate Curator of Zoological Operations for Busch Entertainment Corporation. Chuck has been the Vice President of Animal Training at SeaWorld Orlando since 1990.


Visit Author Page - Jim Ballard

Jim Ballard is an educator, corporate trainer, and writer. He has writen several inspirational books, including Mind Like Water and What's the Rush? He has coauthored several popular books along with bestselling business guru Ken Blanchard. Jim is a business consultant, hospice volunteer, and Big Brother. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

Foreword

Introduction: Redirecting Your Thinking about Parenting

Chapter One: An Exciting New Job and Challenges at Home

Chapter Two: The Bedtime Waltz: Establishing a Bedtime Routine

Chapter Three: A-B-C: The Universal Principle

Chapter Four: The Redirection Strategy: Handling Tantrums

Chapter Five: An Acquired Taste: Mealtime

Chapter Six: Chucking the Binky: Ending Dependency on Comfort Items

Chapter Seven: Not Just Yours: Teaching Your Child to Share

Chapter Eight: An Overused Word and a Visit to The Dentist

Chapter Nine: Word Gets Around: Whale Done Parenting of All Ages

Chapter Ten: Puppy Love: Teaching Pet Care

Chapter Eleven: When Things Get Emotional: Time-outs

Chapter Twelve: Potty Party: Potty Training

Chapter Thirteen: Please and Thank You: Moral Development

A Poolside Chat: Resources for Applying Whale Done Principles

The Science behind the Whale Done Approach

Acknowledgments

About the Authors

The Ken Blanchard Companies Services Available

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Excerpt

Whale Done Parenting

Introduction
Redirecting Your Thinking about Parenting

AS A PARENT, have you ever had a child throw a tantrum or refuse to go to bed on time, eat good foods, or share toys? Do you find yourself scolding or yelling at your child and overusing the word no? Have you despaired of training your child to use the potty? Do you struggle with getting a child to do homework or chores? Do you deal with teasing, fighting, or poor manners? Do you need better methods for setting limits and handling time-outs and discipline?

Parenting can be trying. As challenges pile up, it’s easy for a mom or dad to get into a rut and become locked into a negative, downward spiral that makes the relationship unpleasant for both parent and child. At such times it’s difficult even to imagine that there might be a better way. But that better way is precisely what this book offers. Simply put, it’s a way to feel good as a parent—good about yourself, good about your relationship with your child, and good about life at home again.

Whale Done Parenting contains a formula that is positive and based on principles that are scientifically validated. Most important of all, it works! This is a book about bringing to the parenting of children the behavioral principles that have succeeded spectacularly in marine mammal training. The principle is a familiar one: Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. It’s actually simple, but it is anything but easy.

Much of the book focuses on children up to the age of five, but later chapters explain how the same techniques can be applied to older children, including teenagers. Indeed, the Whale Done approach works with people of all ages because it is based on universal principles of behavioral science.

Most new parents model their approach on what their own parents did. In some cases this turns out okay; more often these parents perpetuate the negative aspects of parenting they remember. The results can be disastrous. The principles and techniques presented in Whale Done Parenting are taken not from memories of childhood or armchair speculation, but from solid behavioral science principles.

As we described in the first book, Whale Done!, modern marine mammal training is based on positive reinforcement. It wasn’t always so. In the early 1970s animal training was a different world. At that time, there was very little science in the approaches animal trainers used.

Animal training at that time was a male-dominated profession. In most cases, individual trainers forged their own styles and strategies with limited success and with limited attempt to cooperate or share ideas with their fellow trainers. Back then we weren’t purposely ignoring the science of operant conditioning—we simply didn’t know what operant conditioning was!

SeaWorld animal trainers began to think there must be a better way. They undertook a thorough examination of the field of behavioral science. The result was that Sea-World was instrumental in pioneering the reinforcement-based training now used throughout the world.

We were very limited with the kinds of reinforcement that we used. The use of one reinforcer—food—was limited in its ability to develop deep, lasting relationships with the animals. Gradually SeaWorld trainers—using a wide variety of things whales liked, to reward and reinforce desired behaviors—evolved stronger bonds that eventually allowed us to get in the water with the animals. This led to the spectacular performances you see from these animals today.

As Thad and Chuck were learning about training killer whales, Ken Blanchard was observing the negative effects of command-and-control leadership on people in organizations. Ken was suggesting that the key to developing people was to catch them doing something right. Serendipity brought Thad, Chuck, Ken, and Jim together, and the result was Whale Done! The Power of Positive Relationships.

Since its publication in 2003 Whale Done! not only has achieved extraordinary success, but it also has changed lives in the process. It’s a story of how a man established good relationships with his family and company by applying the same set of principles used by professionals to train killer whales. In the years since bringing out Whale Done! we have often been asked, “Can the principles featured in that book be applied to parenting young children?” It became very clear that a second book was needed that would provide a resounding yes to that query. Applying Whale Done training to children is a natural process. In fact, it’s much easier and more lasting than with adults.

Whale Done is much more than a set of techniques. It is an entire philosophy, one that is sorely needed in the world today. Simply stated, what we call Whale Done is a way of looking at people and seeing the best that is in them. Our hope is that this book will educate and inspire mothers, fathers, grandparents, and others who help raise children to look at their roles with new eyes. And we trust that as you read the story of Amy and Matt and their son Josh, you will recognize what you knew all along: there’s power in being positive.

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Endorsements

“When we instituted a Whale Done-based program at Schaeffer Elementary we saw suspensions go down 95 percent, and math and reading proficiency improved dramatically. These principles work – kids really respond!”

— Cynthia Zurchin, Principal, Schaeffer Elementary School, Pittsburgh

“We long to be better as parents who, with our kids, make a better world, and Whale Done Parenting helps us do just that. If you want to raise good kids and see more smiling and less scolding in your household, read this book!”

— Naomi Cramer Overton, President, Mothers of Preschoolers International

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