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About the Preventive Ounce

Since 1984, The Preventive Ounce has worked with health maintenance organizations (HMOs), developing programs that helped more than 40,000 parents see more clearly their child’s emerging temperament and manage the issues that are normal for their child’s temperament. Most of this program was developed and tested at Kaiser Permanente, the oldest and largest HMO in the United States.

Mental Health Organization

The Preventive Ounce (Poz) is a nonprofit, preventive mental health organization, incorporated in California in 1984, with an office in Oakland, California. Poz was started by two psychologists who were frustrated by long-standing behavioral problems in children. Most of these problems could have been prevented, had parents understood how to manage the issues that were normal for their child’s temperament.

The truth is that many parents are mystified by their child’s behavior: sleep problems, temper tantrums, separation difficulties, difficulties in toilet training, assertiveness issues, unusual sensitivities, to name just a few. They feel guilty, exhausted, at wit’s end. What worked for their first child doesn’t work now.

Our HMO experience has taught us that parents who see clearly their child’s unique temperament and understand how it “works” can more easily manage issues that are normal for their child’s temperament. They are better able to balance the needs of their child with their own needs–and those of their family, the school, and the community. They avoid getting stuck in ineffective parenting. And they are less likely to blame themselves or their child for issues that may be troublesome to manage–but normal for their child’s temperament.

Over the past decades, our HMO experience has also shown us that parents are intelligent consumers of temperament information. They have recycled back to us what works (and doesn’t work) for each temperament issue. The credit for this program belongs to them.

Our goal now is to use the Internet to reach more parents of children to help them understand and manage their child’s temperament, so they can avoid these problems and eventually teach their child to understand and manage his or her own temperament.


More than 40,000 parents have used the Preventive Ounce to make parenting easier and to avoid unnecessary blame and guilt.

Jack Doe
Bryan's Dad

“ I get it! My son likes to know ahead of time what's happening next—just like I do.”

Lisa White
David's Mom

“ It’s hard to have a cautious child when I’m so adventuresome, but it’s better to accept who he is than be angry at him.”

Michael Doe
Caroline’s Dad

“ I used to think my child was wild. Now I know he needs to exercise as much as a race horse does.”

James Gibson
Jake and Sasha’s Dad

“Now that I understand why my daughter had tantrums, I can avoid many of them... and understanding why some tantrums are inevitable, I’m more patient while they last.”

Meet Our Team

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