Kazdin also clarified a few other issues. The first, his work has shown the merit of positive reinforcement to tamp out poor behavior when used in conjunction with the more typical consequences or discipline. Even when parents substitute a gentler form of punishment (i.e. time outs rather than spankings) it's more effective in reducing the bad behaviors if parents supplement the punishment with the positives (i.e. praise, affection, etc.). To simply switch without the praise or hugs is often not particularly useful. This wasn't crystal clear in WSJ's Smarter Ways to Discipline piece that did mention all praise all the time is not the way to go, advice that seems rather obvious to anyone who has ever spent a minute or two with a child who never hears the word no. The parents of that kid, listen up, you might need to swap a few mild glares for more hard core options. The rest of you, swap the bad with the good.
In a moment sure to win us over at Momma Data, in his email reply Kazdin also allowed that the nature of journalism often conflicts with the "the lengthy, too detailed, too qualified comments of university life." Preaching to the choir, that man.
P.S. Still finishing up the reading for the Best Parenting Books of 2012. It was either finish them when the kids (finally) returned to school or finish them over break and ignore my kids (and husband, mother-in-law, parents) so I could sooner blab to you about the books that will make you a better parent or at least enhance your parenting experience.