You have my permission to reprint this content for your personal use only. If you want to reprint or distribute this to others, please complete & submit a reprint request form. Thank you!– Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW, CFLE, The Parent’s Toolshop, © 2000.









This book is dynamite! It is packed with tons of practical ideas. I keep it by my bedside and recommend it to the parents with whom I work. – – Dr. Dennis O’Grady, founder of New Insights Consulting Services and author of Taking the Fear out of Changing

A wonderful contribution. In the fourteen years I have worked with children with emotional and behavioral issues, your presentation is unique in addressing some obvious problems and problem-solving skills parents can use. – – Linda Nicely, LSW, Supervisor, Youth Services Network of Southwest Ohio, Inc.

The philosophy and overall presentation is the most comprehensive, consistent, and impressive I’ve seen. It is well organized, well-received by those who use it, and conveys a sense of joy and commitment from the author. – – Pam Bonsper, M.A., Carmel, CA

This comprehensive book and its advice are built on a solid foundation of research and real-life application. I highly recommend it to any parent who wants to dramatically improve their relationship with their child. – – Deborah Critzer, Positive Parenting

An excellent resource for helping parents raises secure and responsible children. It provides an easy-to-follow guide for parenting children of all ages. I highly recommend this for all families. – – Sylvia Rodberg, Elementary School Guidance Counselor, Springboro Community Schools

It is so nice to finally find a resource that has screened and chosen ideas from other resources for me, because there are some things in other books I disagree with. I can completely trust that it is comprehensive and accurate. – – Marla Hurst, Adult Education teacher

An outstanding resource for practical, effective, and easily adoptable parenting methods. Anyone who is a parent, contemplating parenthood, or interested in understanding effective parenting will be richly rewarded by reading this remarkable book. – – Robert L. Seufert, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Marriage and Family Dept., Miami University

A model, a map, a guide, an organizer, a conceptual framework—by whatever name one might want to call it, this book helps parents access the wide, wide world of parenting ideas. – – Sandra Taylor, MSW, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, University of Dayton.

A valuable resource, not only for parents, but for grandparents, relatives, babysitters, teachers, care providers—anyone who influences a child’s world. – – Wendy W. Gordon, Child Safety Advocate and Author of the I’m Safe! Series, published by Backyard Books

I chose this book over others, because of the clarity and consistency with which it addresses an amazing range of parenting issues. In fact, by using the universal blueprint, it addresses every possible parenting dilemma. – – Holly Anderson, M.Ed., RN, NCC, therapist

A complete and well-organized toolbox — very helpful, well organized and easy to use. I’m impressed with not only the content of the book, but also with the heartfelt writing style.– – Charlene Costanzo, author of The 12 Gifts of Birth




The Parent’s Toolshop is great! I’ve looked up specific questions and found easy workable solutions. It was truly beneficial to me in dealing with my children, adult relationships and learning more about myself. – – Jacki George, mother of two children

This book is incredible. Every chapter is so comprehensive; I learn so much. When I finish a chapter I think the next one can’t possibly be as good—but it always is! I’ve read many books by the likes of Scott Peck, Stephen Covey and Melody Beattie. The Parent’s Toolshop pulls it all together and shows you how to live these revelations. This book is not just about parenting. – – Jeff Smith, father of two teenage daughters

I have read numerous magazine articles and books on parenting, attended lectures, and met with counselors. Yet, I have never found a resource as thorough, well-organized and interesting as The Parent’s Toolshop . The most rewarding aspect was seeing positive results at home with my son, who is diagnosed with A.D.D. These techniques really work!! – – Rebecca Streeter, mother of one child

No matter how skilled you think you are, this book can give you very effective ways to parent that you never thought of before. – – Rudy Thoms, father of two children

This is the most complete practical guide to human interaction I’ve ever read! – – Wendy Adams, mother of two children

My wife and I have agreed more about our parenting in the past three weeks than we have in the past three years! – – Joe Hood, father of two children

I like how the book puts everything into an order that is easy to follow and speaks in a language I can understand. Plus, there are examples so we can relate to our everyday lives. – – Karen Brooks, mother of two children

The greatest benefit of reading The Parent’s Toolshop was self-awareness—recognizing my own feelings, speech, and actions. I now feel like I have the knowledge and hope to be able to work on our challenges. – – Elizabeth Valencia, mother of three children

Parenting is never easy, but this book makes it easy to understand. – – Mike Lowery, father of eight teenage children

This book has absolutely changed my life. Not only have I learned more effective parenting skills, but my entire style of parenting has changed! I am so much more calm, confident, and consistent. – – Amy Reed, mother of two children

The Parent’s Toolshop is my parenting Bible! I keep it close at hand and refer to it daily. – – Cynthia White, mother of three children and home day care provider

“This ‘system’ is amazing! I thought it might prove overwhelming, but it leads you along effortlessly as you collect and put to use all that you find. The dialogues alone make the book priceless. Thanks for a tremendous resource.” – – Susan Kendrick, mother of two children









The Parent’s Toolshop: The Universal Blueprint for Building a Healthy Family

Published by Ambris Publishing
P.O. Box 343
Springboro, OH, 45066
(937) 748-4541 ? (877) 748-4541 ? fax (937) 748-4620 ?

If unavailable in local bookstores, additional copies of this and other publications by Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW, CFLE may be purchased by contacting the publisher listed above.

Copyright © 2000, Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW, CFLE

Reprints with minor or no changes: 2005, 2006, 2011.
Second Edition ©: 2000.
First Edition © 1998.
Field test draft © 1995.
Toolshop® house diagrams © 1992. Revised 1998, included in First Edition copyright.
Decision-making flow chart © 1990. Revised 1998, included in First Edition copyright.


Cartoons by Mick Wells
Cover design by Barb Hodge of The Jenkins Group, Inc.

All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author. There are only two exceptions: (1) The inclusion of brief quotations in a review with the source stated. (2) The pages where permission is indicated, for personal use of the reader only. The reproduction of any part of this book for commercial use or as a replacement for purchasing the book (including educational purposes) is strictly prohibited. Parent’s Toolshop is a registered business name. Unauthorized use of this name or the Universal Blueprint graphics and labels is prohibited by law.


Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 99-65065

Library of Congress Publisher’s Cataloging-in-Publication Data


Pawel, Jody Johnston.
  The parent’s Toolshop : the Universal Blueprint for building a
healthy family / Jody Johnston Pawel; cartoons by Mick Wells.
— 2nd ed. – Springboro, OH : Ambris Publishing, c2000.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN: 1-929643-34-9
1. Parenting. 2. Child rearing  3. Interpersonal communication.  I. Title.

HQ769 .P39 2000                                                             99-65065
649/ .1 – dc21                                                                          CIP






To Chris and Amber —

my inspiration in the past,

my fountain of joy and love in the present,

and my symbol of hope for future generations.





Ah, political correctness. To avoid offending anyone and help everyone feel included, writers must be very careful. Readers can easily misunderstand a writer’s intent. For example, one editor said the use of an exclamation point (!) implied yelling—but I use it to express excitement, surprise, or to send a smile or laugh to my readers! The most difficult situation, however, is when a writer is talking about one person. Using “he” is sexist and using “he or she” is awkward and distracting. To avoid sexism and confusion, I will use plurals like “children” and “they” whenever possible. Don’t be offended if you have an only child, just substitute the word “he” or “she,” depending on your child’s gender. Try not to get hung up on whether I use “he,” “she,” or “they”—the point is what’s really important.
Similarly, the word “children” refers to all humans under the age of 18. Teens usually don’t like people referring to them as “children,” so I try to avoid this. The term “children” does refer to teens, however, unless the statement specifically mentions a particular age group. I know some people dislike the word “kids,” since children are not baby goats. Now and then I use the term, when I want to be less formal or word something the way a parent might actually say it. I also use “people” to refer to both adults and children when the skills are useful in any human relationship. I always try (in everyday life) to be sensitive to others and not offend anyone, but I avoid using “politically correct” statements that sound ridiculous. If I accidentally exclude someone, I apologize. I trust you to be understanding and to interpret what you read in a way that applies to whatever gender or age you choose.

Every story in this book is true, including my family’s personal experiences. I want others to benefit from the lessons these experiences teach, but I also want to protect the privacy of the people involved. As a result, the names have been changed.



This book is designed to provide information about parenting and other relationships. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher and author are not engaged in rendering therapeutic, counseling, legal, or other professional services. If you require counseling, private consultation, or other expert assistance, you should seek the services of a competent licensed professional. While this book is the basis for Parent’s Toolshop parenting classes, it is not an equivalent replacement for direct, professional instruction by a certified Parent’s Toolshop Tour Guide.

Every effort has been made to make this manual as complete and accurate as possible. However, there may be mistakes both typographical and in content. It is not the purpose of this manual to summarize all  the information that is available to the author, but to complement, amplify and supplement other texts. Furthermore, this book only contains parenting information that was available as of the printing date. You are urged to read all available materials, learn as much as possible about parenting and healthy relationships, and to tailor the information to your  individual needs. For more information about other resources, see the references in the end notes.

For many people, the skills in this book have improved their family relationships, prevented problems from developing or worsening, and resolved long-standing conflicts. There is no guarantee, however, that these same results will occur for each reader. No one book can account for all the individual circumstances or needs of its reader so use your better judgment when applying the book’s advice.

If you are attending a Parent’s Toolshop class, be sure the instructor is a certified Parent’s Toolshop Leader by checking to see if the instructor has a current identification badge. While Leaders must complete a thorough certification process, they cannot be held liable for their advice. Handle your concerns directly with them before filing an official complaint with Parent’s Toolshop Consulting, Ltd. The author, publisher, or their representatives shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity for any behavior or problems alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly, by the information contained in this book or a Parent’s Toolshop class. If you do not wish to be bound by the above, you may return this book in resalable condition to the publisher within 30 days for a full refund.





First and foremost, I want to thank God—for giving me the honor and privilege of being raised by my parents. Without them, I would not be who I am. Thank you, also, for choosing me as Chris and Amber’s mother. They have filled my life with more joy and lessons than I ever thought possible. Thank you for the endless energy and patience you have given me to complete this project. Whenever I felt discouraged, you sent me some sign that you were by my side, which spurred me to continue. I hope I can be a worthy messenger of the lessons I’ve learned and help even more families with this book.

To Mom and Dad — thanks for your endless unconditional love and your faith in my abilities. I trust your advice and appreciate your encouragement and support. Thanks for being such positive role models: as parents, social service professionals, amicably divorced ex-spouses, happily remarried spouses, and as loving, helpful, honest, humble people. Thanks, Connie and Jim, for being supportive, encouraging stepparents and wonderful grandparents. You all are terrific parenting “partners.”

To Chris and Amber—thanks for being such wonderful children. Each moment with you is a precious gift. You unconditionally love and forgive me, in spite of all my imperfections. Thanks for showing me the value of these skills through your behavior and examples. I appreciate your permission to share our personal stories with others. I especially appreciate your understanding of the importance of my work and my need to be gone so much, teaching parents. Thanks for giving me the extra time and space I needed to finish this book. I hope I’ve been there for you when you needed me most and also when nothing special is going on and we just hang out together and talk. Thanks, Chris, for the late night shoulder rubs and Amber, for bedtime hugs and angel stories.

To my husband, Steve—thanks for being my best friend and partner in this lifetime journey of self-improvement. You’re always there to give me support when I’m ready to give up and to remind me of the value of this book. I appreciate your sound business advice and your sense of what’s really important in life. Thanks for understanding my driven nature and for making me take breaks, to smell the flowers, see the birds, and watch the garden grow.

To the thousands of parents I’ve met through my parenting programs—thanks for your excitement and encouragement. Through you, I realized the possibilities of the Universal Blueprint’s application in all areas of life. Thanks for asking tough questions that cause me to stretch my knowledge and skills to the limit. Thank you, also, for your evaluations and suggestions, which helped me develop a program that is practical, user-friendly, and highly successful. Thank you for allowing me to share a part of your lives and to be a positive source of change. And thanks to all of you who have shared your stories—which make me think, laugh, and cry—and for allowing me to share them with others.

To the thousands of professionals who have participated in Parent’s Toolshop continuing education training programs—thanks for your commitment to giving accurate advice to the parents with whom you work. Thanks for sharing The Parent’s Toolshop with parents and enthusiastically encouraging me to produce other products to help professionals and meet the needs of the parents you serve.

To Elaine Jelly, Ron Eckerle, and Carrie Morris of Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley— thanks for your enthusiasm and support of the Families Count Project. The United Way outcome evaluation mandates helped prove what parents kept telling us—the skills work and improve families’ lives. Thank you for family-friendly work policies that help me balance work and parenthood. A special thanks to the late Denny Breidenbach, my mentor, for suggesting I venture on my own as an author and speaker and for his support and faith in my potential.

To the other Parent’s Toolshop Leaders—thank you for your belief in The Parent’s Toolshop and for teaching the parents I can’t reach. I highly value all your suggestions for program and leadership development. Thank you for showing me the many ways to adapt the program for diverse populations, while remaining true to its universal principles. I appreciate your sense of commitment to the preservation of the integrity and quality of the program. Thank you, also, for expressing




your unique teaching styles; you’ve shown me the potential I have for self-improvement as a leader.

To Nancy Shockey, my content editor—thanks for helping me tame this monstrous manuscript. You have just the knack I needed: getting to the point, cutting length, but keeping the heart and soul intact. Thanks for all the extra read-throughs you’ve done, to help this book be as comprehensive, user-friendly, and as short as possible. Your suggestions have taught me to be a better writer. I especially appreciate your occasional notes and funny comments. They were a refreshing break as I waded through pages of edits.

To Cindy Lanning, my editor, proofreader, and formatter—thanks for your dedication to this project, despite computer problems, summer break distractions, and personal obstacles. Thank you for enlisting help from DPS Associates to help meet our deadlines. A special thanks to Crystal Chapin for coordinating your troop of editorial and layout experts—you all are true miracle workers.

To Mick Wells, my cartoonist—thanks for taking my ideas and turning them into cartoons. I especially appreciate your patience with this project. I had no idea just how long the process would take.

To Tom Helmers at EPIC Printing—thanks for helping me keep up with the local demand for the book. I appreciate your expertise in pulling all the parts together and keeping a stock of books flowing. We would have never kept up the pace without your hard work.

To The Jenkins Group, Inc., especially Susan Howard, Nikki Stahl, and Barb Hodge, thanks for your sound publishing advice and for coordinating this production project. I appreciated your patience through-out the many decisions I had to make and your expert advice, which helped create a professional high-quality book.

To Market Ability, especially Tami DePalma, Bradley James, and Kim Dushinski—thanks for reading The Parent’s Toolshop, in full, so you could put the right twist on its promotion. Thanks for your patience as I pulled together the production and distribution details. Most of all, thanks for arranging magazine, TV, and radio interviews before the book was even in print.

And thanks to everyone who has enthusiastically spread the word about The Parent’s Toolshop. Whatever success comes from this book, I owe it all to you.

– – Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW,CFLE