Online Course 20202020-02-20T18:17:07-08:00

Discover fun & effective tools to set limits, create family harmony
& nurture a much closer relationship
with your child, from toddler to pre-teen.

If you’re like most parents, you began with big hopes and dreams for your child.

You knew that life would change dramatically by becoming a parent and that things would be hard at times. But you envisioned a happy family— a Hallmark card kind of life with lots of harmony and special moments of connection.

Now you realize that your situation isn’t quite like that. Your child is strong-willed and sometimes outright defiant. You catch glimpses of their many strengths and positive characteristics, but the challenges have become overwhelming. You wish that they’d been born with an instruction manual.

The funny thought occurs to you: “Who’s really in charge around here?”

You may still have moments when you’re having fun together and things are fine. It gives you a glimmer of hope, but far too much of the time there’s upset going on. You love your child deeply and treat them with kindness and respect, but you’re not getting much in return.

A seven-year-old says to me, “Dr. Mac, the only problem is that my parents won’t do what I tell them to! 

I know how upsetting it can be when your child expects you to follow their orders. You don’t really want to blame or attack but your frustration spills out. You may realize that your anger backfires into escalating conflict, but it’s becoming too hard to keep your cool. Now you’ve resorted to raising your voice, repeating yourself and making threats you can’t carry out.

Few things in the world can be as exasperating as when your child ignores your requests. 

At times you might even be thinking: “What, do you mean? I bust my butt all day to be sweet to you, work hard, give you tons of stuff, and care and kindness, and you’re going to say no to me when I ask you to please put your shoes on?”

Since things haven’t gotten better over time, you’re looking for help. Despite your busy life, you realize that this challenge has to take priority.

It’s time to find a better way!

Millions of parents are struggling, like you, with kids that are defiant and out of control—kids who need to learn how to listen better. The good news is that there’s an effective Win-Win solution to help turn things around. So read on….there’s hope.

This course, Parenting Defiant Strong-Willed Kids, offers a concise and effective method to help kids feel good about themselves and have love and respect for others. Over a thousand families with three to ten-year-old children have successfully used the Win-Win Way to make a shift.

Parents typically report a dramatic improvement in their child’s behavior within a few weeks’ time.

The other good news is that, even though you’ll benefit greatly as a parent, it won’t be at your child’s expense. With this approach, they can wind up being happier, more loving, less hyper, have a higher self-esteem and feel less guilty and anxious. With strong-willed kids you can’t just be a good parent. You have to be a great parent, and you can do it!

All you have to do is learn new tools and carry out the elements of the program for it to work.

With this program, you can make the following shifts:

  • From too much tension, to having more fun, positive and playful times

  • From being indecisive and inconsistent, to having a simple and effective plan of action

  • From having frequent upsets, to knowing how to resolve feelings in caring ways

  • From falling into conflict, to using your child’s strong-willed nature as an asset

  • From being at odds with your partner, to being on the same page with common procedures

  • From not realizing it, to discovering and overcoming negative influences from how you were parented

And, your strong-willed child can make the following shifts:

  • From not listening, to learning how to do so

  • From not taking responsibility, to becoming more helpful, happy and respectful

  • From feeling overlooked and misunderstood, to feeling appreciated and valued

  • From being upset and anxious, to developing a higher self-esteem and becoming more loving and capable

Join parents from around the world for this special opportunity to create a Win-Win experience in your family!     


My Personal Invitation to You . . .

It came to me in a flash.

After three years of pre-med courses at Dartmouth, I was sitting in the middle of a class when I envisioned a new future for myself. I realized that my destiny was to become a child psychologist instead of a pediatrician.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that I have such a strong and personal connection to pediatricians here where I live in Santa Barbara. Parents are told by their docs to call the “child whisperer,” a nickname I acquired a while back.

Parents today have challenges enough with things that they have very little control over — the demands of family life, work, traffic, paying bills, etc. What breaks my heart is to see so many people struggling needlessly with their strong-willed kids, rather than learning tools that can truly change things for the better. Why suffer when you don’t have to?

Over the past forty-five years, I’ve had over a thousand cases of distraught parents seeking help. With so much demand for my services, I’ve felt really obligated to buckle down and discover practical and innovative ways to turn things around. That’s been my primary mission for decades. I seem to be relentlessly creative and inspired.

My hope is that this course can help you to find the solutions that you need for your unique family situation. I’ve come to realize that this work is the fulfillment of my purpose—to truly serve and make a difference in the world through sharing these tools and principles.

Nothing warms my heart like the smiling, happy faces of folks I’ve helped, or the precious times with kids that give me the benefit of a bird’s-eye view into their little hearts and minds.

Dr. Don MacMannis

What You’ll Learn in the Course:

Module 1


This first module lays out the keys to success with parenting strong-willed kids and helps parents understand a variety of ways to turn things around. We examine the factors that may be contributing to problematic interactions, and parents are provided with a checklist of constructive alternatives to conflict and upset.

  • Learning why spanking, yelling and repeating yourself are ineffective
  • Applying principles drawn from brain research and the discovery of mirror neurons
  • Understanding the nature of your child’s competing ”sub-selves”
  • Factoring in the differences between kids who are acting out at home and/or school settings

Module 2


One of the most important challenges that families face is the handling of upsets, particularly when kids are “testing.”  Parents will learn how to avoid emotional flooding and how to express feelings in constructive ways—creating an atmosphere of healthy detachment and harmony.

  • Learning how to access, manage and express feelings in helpful ways
  • Understanding the advantages of operating from a place of healthy detachment
  • Practicing the balance between too little and too much expression of feelings
  • Knowing and applying the benefits of crying, exercise, and sleep.

Module 3


This module begins with a summary of  the research on ten keys to happy healthy families.  After scoring their family assessment tests, parents will gain a clearer picture as to their family’s strengths as well as areas to place attention. Through numerous case examples there will be an emphasis on the importance of teamwork, structure and consistency.

  • Taking, scoring and analyzing the Current Family Assessment
  • Building the parenting team and creating rules and age-appropriate limits
  • Learning how to proceed when parenting partners aren’t on the same page
  • Facing and handling the challenges of screen time

Module 4


Research shows that kids thrive under the condition of having five times as many positive interactions with their parents as negative ones. This module will lay out the different forms of praise that can have very different outcomes. Then parents will be guided in the creation and implementation of a highly effective star chart.

  • Understanding how and why to use positive incentives but avoid material rewards
  • Involving kids in the creation of a star chart that is uniquely tailored to their needs
  • Scheduling the awarding of stars and the time for your child to cash them in
  • Using paradox, reverse psychology and humor to enhance motivation

Module 5


Although positive efforts can be powerful, it is usually insufficient to parent strong-willed children with incentives and kindness alone. This module describes a powerful means of giving kids mild, caring and effective consequences and includes video demonstrations of the procedures.

  • Discovering the importance of brief, timely and mild forms of consequences
  • Learning a timeout procedure that helps develop skills of emotional self-regulation
  • Understanding what to do when your child refuses to accept or stay in time out
  • Creating a collaborative agreement with your child and a bridge to the new procedures

Module 6


Very important to the Win-Win Way is the attitude with which parents introduce and explain things to their child—creating a context of fun, humor, warmth, and working together as a team. This module lays out the themes for discussion and concludes with parents playfully challenging their child through the use of reverse psychology.

  • Deciding when to begin and roll things out in the family meeting
  • Making apologies, leveling the playing field, and modeling humility and respect
  • Sharing  goals, creating a new family team and agreeing upon rules
  • Playfully role-playing the new form of time out and back up

Module 7


In this final module we will address the most common challenges to implementing and following through with the Win-Win Way— putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together. We will discuss additional factors that lead to successful outcomes and provide guidelines for a number of special circumstances or unique challenges that you might be facing. Extra time will be afforded for questions and answers.

  • Uncovering and overcoming the effects of how you were parented
  • Setting limits with kids in stepfamilies, single parent families, and co-parenting with your ex
  • Implementing additional steps to take with sleep, exercise, and medical issues
  • Learning how to explore additional resources and knowing when to seek professional help

It’s More than a Course. It’s a Powerful Community of Support.

This course is an important investment you can make in your family.

To get the most out of your efforts, you’ll be able to pose questions to Dr. Mac during two private consultations that you may schedule at your convenience. As a part of the curriculum, you’ll be given exercises for contemplation and invited to post your responses on the forum. A private Facebook page will also be available for course participants. This will allow you to create mutual support with parents pursuing a similar path in their efforts to turn things around. During and subsequent to your involvement, you’ll be given an opportunity to interact online with Dr. Mac as well as with parents from around the world.

What Parents are Saying… 

“Loads of examples to help you understand what’s going on between you and your child. My son actually goes to time-out when I ask him to now! Amazing! I wouldn’t have believed it just a few days ago. Our relationship has improved and I feel more in control. Thank you for this program!”

Todd McIntyre
father of a 6-year-old

“Dr. MacMannis’ approach helps parents create win-win situations benefiting all. Not only did the program appeal to us intellectually, but in just a couple of weeks we noticed a big positive change in family dynamics, leaving us all happier and more optimistic.”

Liene Wilke, mother of two boys

“Dr. Mac’s program was everything we could’ve hoped for and more. He’s caring, wise, has impeccable credentials and an outstanding reputation. With a warm and genuine personality, he provides a wealth of insight, perspective and resources to help us parent. He has been a blessing in our lives, and I can’t recommend his program highly enough.”

Kery Sawyer, mom of a 7-year-old

“You have given the tools to bring out better versions of each other and we are determined to stay on this path and continue to grow. As for Kevin, we are amazed at how successful the star chart has been helping us to create healthy boundaries and communication and make his homework peaceful. It’s still a challenge but we feel much better equipped to handle it. Your expertise has been truly life changing!”

Lisa & Josh Rodriquez, parents of 9-year-old

What You’ll Receive :

7 Teaching Videos (30-45 minutes each)

These videos are the guts of the program. One for each module, they provide everything that you’ll need to launch the program and turn things around in a caring and effective way. Simplifying and synthesizing concepts into practical tools, the presentations are highly educational as well as entertaining.

Private Consultation with Dr. Mac (30 minutes)

Although you may not need additional guidance, Dr. Mac will be available to course participants for private 30-minute consultations via video conference or phone. These sessions can be scheduled at times that are convenient for you, and will allow you ask questions and fine tune the program for your unique situation. (Private consultations with Dr. Mac are offered at a rate of $95 per half hour.)

Key Practices and Tools provided for each module

Parents will be given small and simple assignments to carry out and practice, depending on the specific module. Examples include the completion of the family assessments listed below, or placing notes around the house as reminders.

Current Family Assessment

This fifty-point questionnaire will help you to identify the strengths and areas for improvement in your family. Compare the scores you give your family with those given by your partner or other family members, and then create goals together.

Family of Origin Assessment

This questionnaire offers a way to examine the similarities and differences between your current family and your “family of origin,” the family you grew up in. Then you can consider whether or not you’re making unwise compensations for childhood experiences.

Repair Kit Guidelines

The “repair kit” is equally helpful with adults and kids alike. It’s an effective communications tool and procedure for sharing feelings and resolving conflict in constructive ways, allowing family members to feel better while learning how to prevent emotional flooding.

Audio Recordings of Teaching Videos

Rumor has it that some of you are too busy or overwhelmed to watch all of the videos. Maybe you’d rather soak it up on a commute! You’ll be missing some really cool slides but we wanted to give you this convenient option.

Private Facebook Group for Community Interaction and Support

We created a Facebook page for you to be able to share your stories and insights with each other. If you’d like, please log on, introduce yourself and engage with one another. Remember,…. we’re in this together.

Special Course Bonus Materials (a $490 value):

How’s Your Family Really Doing? 10 Keys to a Happy, Loving Family

PDF ebook ($10 value)

Now in its second edition, How’s Your Family Really Doing? draws from extensive new research to highlight ten essential keys that define successful families. Providing practical tools for families in any stage of the life cycle, it is concise, engaging, and designed for working moms and dads who are often too busy to pore through lengthier works. Winner of the Book of the Year Award: Foreword Magazine, and The Eric Hoffer Award, this book can help you to:

  • Learn about healthy families and ways to bring out the best in one other.
  • Identify family strengths and areas needing improvement.
  • Facilitate conversations about desired changes.
  • Strengthen your skills with dozens of tips and tools. 

  • Identify and overcome the effects of past influences.

Who’s the Boss? The Win-Win Way to Parent Your Defiant, Strong-Willed Child

PDF ebook ($10 value)

This handbook is the perfect companion to the course, packed with practical steps to turn things around when a strong-willed or defiant child is pushing boundaries too far. Children with too much power not only drive their parents crazy but are at risk for a host of other problems. They often get in trouble in school, have difficulty with peers, and are deprived of fundamental lessons needed to survive in a world that will not always revolve around them. Who’s the Boss? provides the solution. This approach is unique, integrating effective tools and techniques from over thirty-five years of study, teaching and clinical practice by the co-authors, both practicing psychotherapists and workshop leaders. With this model, parents learn how to turn their child’s willfulness into an asset instead of a liability.

Happy Kids Songs 

7 songs via MP3 download ($29 value)

Children today have more sophisticated taste in music than we give them credit for. Many parents, searching for quality music for kids, are frustrated by their children’s attraction to adult music. The ten award-winning albums of Happy Kids Songs provide not only high quality entertainment, but also help children ground the many valuable concepts that they can grow by. There may be no more powerful method of learning than through music, and no more important lessons for children than those that focus on character and social and emotional skills. You will be provided with one song that thematically fits with each of the seven modules in the course..

What Every Couple Should Know!      

with Don MacMannis, Ph.D., and Debra Manchester-MacMannis, LCSW,  ($197 value)

In this one-hour audio-visual presentation, you’ll discover:

  • The essential ingredients of a healthy long-term relationship
  • How and why to avoid four research-based patterns of interaction
  • How to use “The Repair Kit” to communicate feelings and resolve conflict
  • How and why it’s important to avoid emotional “flooding”
  • How to deal with perpetual or unsolvable differences with your partner                                                    

Don MacMannis, Ph.D., & Debra Manchester-MacMannis, LCSW, are Co-Directors of the Family Therapy Institute of Santa Barbara. Co-authors of two highly acclaimed parenting books, they are in high demand as presenters, supervisors and consultants. Practicing what they preach, they have worked hard to create the lasting, loving relationship that they enjoy.

PLUS Exclusive Interviews with Parenting Experts 

New and Effective Alternatives to Medicating Kids with ADHD

A 50-minute audio interview with Scott Shannon, M.D.  ($49 value)

In this presentation, you’ll discover:

  • How to evaluate whether your child has ADHD, (and whether or not it’s really an illness)
  • Three effective interventions for ADHD that most people aren’t aware of
  • The influence of factors like diet, sugar, sleep, and exercise
  • The most effective supplements to consider as treatment
  • The advantages and disadvantages of medication, and when it might be helpful

Dr. Scott Shannon is a world renowned child psychiatrist and past president of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including Mental Health for the Whole Child: Moving Young Clients from Disease & Disorder to Balance & Wellness. Certified in Child/Adolescent Psychiatry, he is the founder of the Wholeness Center in Fort Collins, Colorado, the largest and most comprehensive integrative mental health clinic in the U.S.

21st Century Stress, Anxiety and Screen Time Challenges

A 50-minute audio interview with Ron Taffel, Ph.D.  ($49 value)

In this presentation, you’ll discover:

  • How to understand and respond to 21st century parenting challenges
  • Practical tools to help families reduce levels of stress
  • The nature of screen time addiction and how to set limits
  • What to do about increased anxiety levels in kids
  • How to deal with conflicts and differences between parents

Dr. Taffel, a psychologist, is considered one of the most electric and practical child-rearing experts in the country. He interviews kids and parents in a variety of settings, and has been called “a genius addressing all the issues of family life.” (Child) He’s provided over a thousand consultations and workshops nationwide and is the author of five popular and two professional books on parenting translated into a half dozen languages, including Childhood Unbound, Parenting By Heart, and When Parents Disagree and What You Can Do About It.

Keys to Happy Loving Families

A 50-minute audio interview with Debra Manchester-MacMannis, M.S.W.  ($49 value)

In this presentation, you’ll discover:

  • The keys to healthy families that pertain to strong-willed kids
  • How to understand, communicate about and create healthy family boundaries
  • How to move beyond blame and other roadblocks to change
  • How to identify and work with the effects of negative childhood experiences
  • How and why couples can maintain a healthy sex life

Debra Manchester-MacMannis, LCSW, is the founder and Executive Director of the Family Therapy Institute of Santa Barbara, now in its 37th year. She was recently honored with an Award for Service to the Community by local therapists and the Mayor of Santa Barbara “for 30 years of inspiration, leadership, and training provided to thousands of clinicians, and the devotion exemplified in
consistent visionary work for the community.” She is in high demand as a workshop presenter and consultant to psychotherapists, lawyers and physicians.

Your Facilitator – Don MacMannis, Ph.D.

Child psychologist “Dr. Mac”has helped kids and families for over forty years. A graduate of Dartmouth and the University of Virginia, he is the Clinical Director of the Family Therapy Institute of Santa Barbara and co-author of two highly acclaimed parenting books — How’s Your Family Really Doing? and Who’s the Boss? He recently won the title of “Best Family Therapist” in a poll taken by He also specializes in creative projects for young children. He was music director and songwriter for the PBS hit,  Jay Jay the Jet Plane, and has also written for Mutt & Stuff on Nick Jr.  His Happy Kids Songs are an award-winning series of fifty songs and activities that build character, social and emotional skills.  In high demand as a presenter on a variety of topics related to parenting, he has been featured in national newspapers, magazines, radio programs, CNN, Time Magazine, Inside Edition, Time for Kids,  AOL,  and At Home-Live

What Others are Saying… 

“…essential for parents who want to reclaim their parental authority in a positive and effective way. The “Win-Win Way” provides easy to use tools for increasing family closeness and happiness, while reducing negative emotions. This program exceeded my expectations!”

Kelly Hyatt, MFT

“These creative and effective interventions give parents innovative tools for asserting control in the family and raising happy, resilient, and compassionate children in this time of rapid change.”

Richard Steinberg, Ph.D.
Diplomate, Clinical Psychology, American Board of Professional Psychology

“Simple, concrete, and effective! I have had great results in my own work with families, and the parents I work with are grateful and excited to have practical methods to use at home. This program is loaded with evidence-based and up-to-the-minute advice — what higher praise can I offer, but, “IT WORKS!”

Richard Kravitz, M.A.
Marriage & Family Therapist

“Clear, specific, easy-to-understand tools and strategies are provided—ideas that can be put into action. And who knew that, in the end, good parenting can be fun?!”

Deborah Harkin, Ph.D.
Marriage & Family Therapist

 Just $97!

Try the program for 30 days. If you aren’t satisfied with the value of the information you’ve been given, contact us and we’ll refund your course registration fee. The bonuses are yours to keep!


Can I speak privately with Dr. Mac?2017-10-06T13:45:25-07:00

Dr. Mac will provide private individual consultation for an additional fee. All information will be kept confidential. To set up an appointment, contact him at

Who can I contact for more information?2017-10-04T14:18:58-07:00

Please contact Dr. Mac at

Do I need any special equipment?2017-12-14T11:58:11-08:00

The only equipment you’ll need is a computer, tablet or smart phone to be able to view the videos and consult with Dr. Mac.

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