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For Healthcare Professionals

“The key issue about toxic stress is not the cause of the stress. It’s the fact that there are not consistent protective, supportive adult relationships to help children get through and learn to deal with adversity.”

Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., Director, The Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

How to Use Behavior Checker: A Three-Minute Video

What is Behavior Checker®?

The Behavior Checker is an evidence-based, systematic way to answer parents’ questions to over 150 of their children's most common behavior problems the same way you help them manage their medical issues. The healthy parenting skills shared here promote a child’s health and wellbeing to mitigate stress so that it does not become toxic.

Written by parenting authors and educators Jerry L. Wyckoff, PhD, and Barbara C. Unell, this content allows healthcare providers to deliver guidance on effective discipline strategies in the clinic to help parents teach their children acceptable behaviors and protect them from harm, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics in their new Policy Statement, “Effective Discipline to Raise Healthy Children”.  Clinicians also refer their families to Behavior Checker through mobile-friendly, online access.

The Behavior Checker corresponds with the authors’ best-selling book, Discipline with Love and Limits, which has sold over one million copies worldwide. The proven, evidence-based strategies in this book, and in Behavior Checker, have been the foundation of the authors’ decades of experience in private practice, training programs, consultation with school districts, parenting workshops, pediatric clinics and university courses.

The time for Behavior Checker is now.

The national call to action is loud and clear—The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling for clinic-delivered parent skill-building, which is at the heart of Behavior Checker. In November, 2018, the Academy issued a new policy statement, that updates 20-year-old guidance on discipline. "Optimal child development requires," according the to the new AAP Policy Statement, "the active engagement of adults who, among other functions, teach children acceptable behavior."

Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child is at the heart of a myriad of research initiatives supporting healthy parenting, each demonstrating that nurturing environments and positive parent-child relationships early in a child’s life have a significant influence on a child’s health and wellbeing to mitigate stress so that it does not become toxic.

Workforce research also supports this call to action. Behavior Checker has been demonstrated to improve workforce confidence, comfort and competence in delivering healthy parenting in the clinic, according to "A Feasibility Study of Behavior Checker: Enhancing the Capacity of Pediatric Staff to Deliver Evidence-Based Strategies to Manage Children's Common Behavioral Issues for Parents", presented at the Society for Prevention Research in June, 2017.

How Behavior Checker benefits healthcare professionals and their families.

  • Zero to Three

    In October, 2015, the nonprofit organization Zero to Three commissioned a survey, including a nationally representative sample of 2,200 parents of children birth to 5 years of age.  89% of respondents said they turn to medical professionals for advice, the second resource behind “the way my parents raised me”.

    In summary, the study also showed that parents:

    • Universally agree that good parenting can be learned and if they knew more positive parenting strategies they would use them.
    • Say that they feel judged almost all the time
    • Do not want to yell or raise their voice as quickly as they do, and don’t want to lose their temper as fast.
    • Say that there is so much parenting information available that it’s hard to know who to trust.

    So if healthcare professionals are advising parents agains the use of spanking and non-physical punishment that is humiliating, scary or threatening, and parents are also saying that they don't want to discipline in these ways, what do healthcare professionals recommend that parents do instead to teach good behavior and raise healthy children? That's why Behavior Checker was created.

  • The Education and the Clinical Tools to integrate healthy parenting into primary care.

    Parents are saying they need the information and trust their pediatric practice to provide good parenting strategies. And the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that pediatric practices provide consistent parenting information to parents.  To this end, we have teamed up with pediatricians, social workers, nurses, nurse practitioners, and parenting researchers to develop a comprehensive tool kit to bring healthy parenting into healthcare organizations who care for families with young children. 

    In your clinic, Parenting is Healthcare.

    You have always answered parenting questions in your clinic. Now Behavior Checker is an evidence-based, standardized system that gives you the way to help parents manage their children's behavior the same way you help them manage their medical issues.  

    Behavior Checker is:

    • Consistently supportive regardless of who delivers it.
    • Cost-effective and time-efficient for the parent to receive in many forms (paper, verbal, phone, tablet, AVS).
    • Part of the child's medical records across healthcare providers to check behaviors before they escalate.
    • A way to reduce the long wait times for referrals to behavioral specialists for common childhood behavior problems.
    • A way to improve workforce confidence, comfort and competence as demonstrated by a pilot site research study, "Feasibility Study of Behavior Checker: Enhancing the Capacity of Pediatric Staff to Deliver Evidence-Based Strategies to Manage Children's Common Behavioral Issues for Parents", presented at the Society for Prevention Research in June, 2017.
  • Introducing the new on-line Course: “Parenting is Healthcare”®

    The first online, continuing education course that provides the foundation your staff needs to understand the link among stress, toxic stress and parenting.  Available through Johnson County (KS) Community College, it includes an overview of the ACE Study and a review of how healthy parenting can mitigate stress from becoming toxic.  The course concludes with a review of how Behavior Checker makes it easy to deliver healthy parenting every appointment, every day for every child, just like medical care. 

    The curriculum increased workforce confidence, comfort and competence as demonstrated by the "Feasibility Study of Behavior Checker: Enhancing the Capacity of Pediatric Staff to Deliver Evidence-Based Strategies to Manage Children's Common Behavioral Issues for Parents", presented at the Society for Prevention Research in June, 2017.

    Course Description

    Parenting is Healthcare supports the call for action for healthcare, and the latest evidence for why healthy parenting is critical for a child’s development and future health. Healthcare professionals will learn how to provide parents and caregivers: standardized, evidence-based parenting prescriptions; techniques and tools that support healthy parenting while managing common childhood behavioral occurrences; and how to easily incorporate Behavior Checker into the workflow. Healthy children need healthy parenting.

    For more information, please contact:

    Robert Unell

    Raised with Love and Limits Foundation

  • The first clinical, on-screen application for parenting “What to Do's”. 

    A trained staff who understands why “Parenting is Healthcare” needs the tools to answer parents’ questions about behavior the healthy way.  That’s why we developed Behavior Checker. Accessed online, it provides the instant, on-screen capability to search an extensive index of evidence-based, behavior prescriptions.

    Prescriptions for virtually every common, childhood behavior issue can be delivered in real time, during an appointment or phone call, and parents can access the same information, 24/7/365.

    Healthy discipline strategies will now be a standard part of the healthcare you provide. Behavior Checker sites, using a variety of EHR systems, are able to track data points and notate parenting consults in the patient records.

  • The 4 Behavior Checker Basics

    How Behavior Checker delivery integrates into the workflow of your clinic is dictated by your existing workflow.  We simply recommend that you include four basic steps we call The 4 Behavior Checker Basics:

    1. Give the parent/caregiver the “Ask Us about Parenting” Card, a checklist of common behavior issues, before seeing the provider.
    2. Identify the behavior issue with the parent/caregiver by looking at the Card, asking questions, or by observing behavior in clinic.
    3. After behavior issue is identified, prescription for that behavior issue is printed out, discussed, and information noted in EHR.
    4. Printed prescription is given to the parent, along with information on how to access Behavior Checker online.
  • How do families get the good news that your clinic is committed to healthy parenting and is the go-to resource when it comes to getting advice for solving for common behavior problems? 

    Behavior Checker includes family communications tools, such as parenting books, behavior checklists, brochures and posters, to build awareness that "We can help" parents "...achieve optimal health, growth, and development in their children including child behavior management", as noted in the November 2018 AAP Policy Statement.

    One of our tools, the  “Ask Us About Parenting” Screening Card, can reduce parents’ reluctance to bring up something like dawdling or whining or backtalk or tantrums, not knowing if your clinic is the place to get these resolved. It is a simple screening tool that helps parents and you get on the same page—talk the same language—about childhood behavior problems that parents are having trouble solving. 

    We provide everything you need to spread the good news that "Parenting is Healthcare" in your clinic!

    See our Gallery of Family Communications Tools

  • Package includes:

    • “Parenting is Healthcare” On-line Course for healthcare professionals
    • Clinic and parent access to Behavior Checker Presciptions 
    • Family communications tools


    Robert Unell

    Raised with Love and Limits Foundation

The authors and Raised with Love and Limits Foundation disclaim responsibility for any harmful consequences, loss, injury or damage associated with the use and application of information or advice contained in these prescriptions and on this website. These protocols are clinical guidelines that must be used in conjunction with critical thinking and critical judgment.