The Handbook begins with an extremely positive and hopeful orientation to raising African American children called the Pyramid of Success for Black Children. Parents see how their goals for their children's future (good education, good jobs, etc.) can best be achieved when their children develop certain characteristics like high self esteem and pride in their heritage, and how their modeling and teaching of certain parenting and life practices increase their children's chances of deviling the important characteristics -- and eventually achieving the goals their parents have for them.
Parents also learn a very positive orientation to learning, Social Learning Theory, that inspires them to realize that they can help their children to change in productive directions even if a child is currently moving in negative directions (The Street to Destruction for Black Children).
The role of the Extended Black Family, whose origins can be found in the African heritage, is applauded and reinforced, and positive parenting methods like effective praising and chit chat times are taught and encouraged.
The impact of the slavery experience is explored in terms of how it has contributed to what some authorities refer to as Traditional Black Discipline. Modern day African American parenting scholars reflect an understanding of how this approach, which equates discipline with harsh parenting methods and obedience from children, could have developed in response to keeping children out of the way of "white harm" during the slavery era.
But they see the need for a different approach for modern times where there is greater opportunity for African Americans. They and the program promote a "Modern Black Self-Discipline" approach.
Novel ideas for understanding and using clear Family Rules and using a Thinking Parent's strategy are provided, as are a series of good reasons why parents of African American children must avoid using corporal punishment. Modern day alternatives like mild social disapproval, systematic ignoring, "time out" and the "point system method" with its "good stuff menu of reinforcers" are taught.
Special issues having to do with single parenting, preventing children from using drugs, and coping with racism are provided.
The entire program and handbook is infused with poetic and inspiring African proverbs like "Children are the reward of life," "A Sheppard does not strike his sheep," and "He who learns, teaches."