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Caregivers' Skills Program


The Caregivers' Skills Program is designed to make ADD and ADHD children behave correctly, function independently, pay attention, and actually think and problem solve without medication. You, the adults who care for these children, will be thoroughly trained in all the skills needed to raise healthy and happy children.

If your child has not been diagnosed ADD or ADHD nor is he or she prescribed Ritalin, but you are looking for an effective proven method of discipline you may go directly to the program at section four, below:


Ritalin is prescribed for children who allegedly have ADD or ADHD (attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactive disorder) - diseases that cause poor attention and inappropriate, hyperactive behaviour. 

The behavioural programs for ADD and ADHD that have been developed to date are designed to merely augment treatment with Ritalin. Because these children are viewed as sick, handicapped, and unable to function on their own, behavioural treatments are designed to assist ADD and ADHD children by coaching, prompting, suggesting, coaxing, reminding, and warning. These behavioural treatments actually contribute to making ADD and ADHD children dependent and helpless. 

With David Stein's program you will learn that these children don't have a disease. As a practitioner and researcher, he developed this program over 25 years with hundreds of children. Interactions between caregiver and child are normal and healthy. Children are not viewed as diseased but as normal kids who can function with proper incentives and control techniques.

You will learn in more detail about the risks and dangers of Ritalin, the reasons attention disorders are not diseases, the ways behavioural methods actually perpetuate ADD and ADHD problems, and ways to improve the behaviour and thinking patterns of these children-without using drugs.


Ritalin works. In fact, it works for anybody, not just ADD and ADHD kids. It drugs you. It produces a subdued feeling and a calming effect. But in giving it to our children, we are making them drugged persons.

Ritalin is not a drug to be trifled with. It is an amphetamine. It is a "gateway" drug that is more powerful than marijuana and can trigger an addiction in a child from which there may be no return. Ritalin has dangerous short-term side effects; that is, the effects appear within weeks or months after initiating the drug. It also has long-term side effects, about which research is lacking. And yet each year Ritalin-or some related drug-is being prescribed for millions of children as a quick fix for not behaving well or for not doing their schoolwork with care.

It is understandable that we want to curtail the behaviour of a child who is disrupting the learning environment for other children or becoming a terror at home. However, Ritalin is chemical restraint. The idea that ADD and ADHD children are diseased and that Ritalin is the only solution is scientifically unsound and morally wrong. Putting millions of children on Ritalin or any other amphetamine is a dangerous trend. How can we wage a war on drugs when we are putting these same chemicals into children's bodies under the guise of treatment? This must stop! A comprehensive behavioural approach that is totally chemical-free is needed as an alternative. This program presents such an approach.

FOREWORD by Peter R. Breggin, MD
(author of Talking Back to Ritalin)

Today millions of parents are trying to deal with warnings or complaints from teachers about the behaviour of their children. Many other parents are finding themselves stressed by the challenge of raising children in the modern world.

What do you do when the teacher says your child's behaviour is disrupting the class or your child has a problem paying attention? What do you do at home when you cannot calm your children down or get them to pay attention to anything you have to say?

As psychologist David Stein describes, too many parents have given up in frustration after trying their best to control their children by "coaching, promoting, suggesting, coaxing, reminding, and warning," as suggested by currently popular behavioural treatments. Every parent in distress has probably tried all of these things, often to no avail. In confusion and frustration, these parents may turn to more ominous threats or harmful spankings, which they end up regretting afterward. Being a parent is truly the most difficult job in the world.

Modern biological psychiatry has a pat answer. Your child has ADHD and needs medication. It's an easy solution to the hardest job there is-but it's a solution that does riot address your child's real needs. It's an answer that doesn't help you become a more effective and loving parent.

Diagnosing and drugging children makes them feel blamed and stigmatized, ultimately lowering their self-esteem. It encourages them to believe that they cannot learn to control their own behaviour without resorting to drugs.

Stein points out that stimulant drugs act as a chemical restraint. As I describe in my book Talking Back to Ritalin, the behaviour of children taking the drug can be subdued or suppressed for a few weeks or months without improving academic performance and without there being any long-term benefit. Stein is right when he says that drugs cannot help a child learn to think.

Stimulant drugs can also cause many adverse effects, including addiction and withdrawal symptoms, growth retardation, and a worsening of the very symptoms they are supposed to treat, including hyperactivity and inattention.

When professionals do attempt to help parents take new approaches to their children, they often prescribe simplistic behavioural modification techniques. A child may be exposed to systematic rewards, sometimes including tokens or happy-face stickers. But these methods usually generate further conflicts between the parent and child. The youngster sees the process as one more manipulation. As Stein realizes, currently available behaviour modification techniques don't help parents develop genuinely better relationships with their children, they don't help parents improve their parenting skills, and they don't help children learn to think rationally for themselves.

The combination of medication and the current simplistic behavioural techniques dis-empowers parents. It leaves them dependent on professionals for drug prescriptions and behavioural programs without giving parents the principles and specific approaches they need for helping their children.

Parents today need better ideas and approaches. They need to believe in themselves as parents. They need the psychological tools for retaking responsibility for their children. They need to focus on the development of their own skills as parents. By increasing their own skills, parents can help their children grow into more self-disciplined, rational beings. Ritalin Is Not the Answer makes a major contribution toward helping parents learn to be more effective in raising their children-especially in helping children learn to think rationally.

Stein is very clear that in most cases children labelled ADHD have nothing whatsoever wrong with them. He tells us, "First, I see these children as completely normal. They are quite capable of behaving, attending, and thinking." They are normal, healthy children.

Some of these children are being exposed to confusing and frustrating situations at school or at home. Unrealistic or contradictory expectations are being placed on them. Others have not been given the tools they need to control their own behaviour and to focus their attention, even under the best of circumstances. For parents who want to help their children develop their intellectual capacities, including self-control and concentration, this book provides a valuable approach.

Stein also appreciates the adage "It takes a village to raise a child." He knows that many people can and should be involved in care-taking and bringing up our children. Consistent with my own clinical practice, he involves all caretakers in his training program, including grandparents and older siblings. As a professor, he teaches the same techniques to teachers.

Finally, I want to confirm Stein's emphasis on loving relationships. Our children are gifts-treasures---whose lives we hold in our hands. We must also hold them in our hearts. This book will help empower you as a parent and, in the process, help you create a more loving, yet disciplined relationship with your children. Your children in turn will become more rational, disciplined, and loving in their own right.















Acknowledgement: The content of this program is based on Ritalin Is Not The Answer: A Drug-Free, Practical Program for Children Diagnosed with ADD or ADHD by David B. Stein, PhD (Jossey-Bass, 1999 paperback)