Yes, some of it is genuinely good and helpful.
But many parents eventually run into a "wall," whether early on or at some point down the road.
Unfortunately, well-meaning frum publications and speakers declared years ago that all issues with OTD children derived from shalom bayit problems. (In contrast, a Rebbe -- Novominsker, I think? -- knowledgeable in this topic declared long before that problems could derive from different areas, depending on the child's personality and environment: learning disabilities, shalom bayis problems, problematic teachers, etc.)
Four scenarios result from this, all with the same ultimate failing:
1) Parents with really good shalom bayis are nitpicked and interrogated by well-meaning advisers and counselors to discover the domestic friction that "must" be there.
2) Parents with really bad shalom bayis because one spouse is seriously dysfunctional and thus the shalom bayis remains really bad NO MATTER WHAT the non-dysfunctional spouse does to improve it (because dysfunctional people don't cooperate regardless of how high the stakes because they are, well, dysfunctional) are blamed and eventually sink into despair over a situation they cannot control or improve no matter how high they jump.
(For this agonizing situation, tefillah & chesbon hanefesh are really the only solutions.)
3) People improve their shalom bayis, but the child either doesn't improve, or gets worse, or improves a little but not all the way, or the child eventually returns to frumkeit but another child starts acting up.
4) Parents really struggle to improve their shalom bayis, but this is really difficult because (for a variety of reasons) a spiritually struggling child actually causes friction between the couple.
And the biggest problem of all?
The REAL issue is never really addressed or tackled.
The 2 Main Keys to Success (with God's Help)
1) Tefillah (prayer, personal and heartfelt)
2) Cheshbon hanefesh (self-accounting combined with teshuvah)
In fact, Sages throughout Jewish history continually recommend these 2 acts as the root response for anything that ails a person, whether it's mental illness, physical illness, war, tragedy, financial problems, marital problems, chinuch problems, etc.
Obviously, you can do other things in conjunction with the 2 keys mentioned above.
For example, when I hear a siren warning of an incoming missile, I do not continue frying up my omelette while murmuring Tehillim and thinking of what I need to improve in myself.
No. I turn off the gas and quickly go the reinforced safe room, close the metal window protect and the annoyingly heavy door, and THEN I pray and do teshuvah.
So you can definitely engage in practical efforts alongside the tefillah and teshuvah.
But these are the main 2 keys to successful child-rearing.
Finely Tuned Messages Straight from Hashem
Everything is swung at us for our benefit.
A child's behavior is often a mirror of sorts.
A massively magnifying mirror, in fact.
Superficially, if your child is rebelling against Judaism, it could be that you are also a bit rebellious against certain core Jewish concepts...even if you cover your hair with 2 coverings and won't ever wear a shaitel not even to your child's wedding, you take out Shabbat according to Rabbeinu Tam, you wouldn't even think of eating something with less than Badatz Eideh HaCharedis certification, and you send your children to only the most exclusive frum schools, and you wouldn't dream of having even filtered Internet let alone a smartphone.
But there might be something you're overlooking, something essential to your amazing potential to which Hashem wants to lovingly call your attention.
Sometimes, the point to focus on is extremely subtle.
For example, one mother (who worked as a teacher) used intensive self-scrutiny to discover that her children's stomach-turning rivalry & bullying was a hint from God to continue to discipline a bullying student of hers without any smirky feelings of "Ha! Gotchya, ya little varmint!" Yes, she was correct to stop bullying in her classroom, but she was feeling gratified about punishing the bully in a way that wasn't appropriate. After all, the bully was only a child herself. That, combined with heartfelt pleas for improved sibling relationships among her children, basically resolved her children's bullying within a few days.
Had she gone to chinuch experts, they merely would have plowed through her psyche and picked apart her marriage, searching for flaws (as defined by the "experts") in a sincere effort to discover the terrible mistake she "must" be making with her children.
Without getting too personal, I want to testify that this method has helped me resolve issues that according to "experts," my husband and I should have needed long-term intense therapy and programs for ourselves and our children. Sometimes, the issues were resolved in a couple of days, sometimes it took much longer (and some still aren't resolved, but aren't as bad as what other people are suffering).
Baruch Hashem, negative experiences in dealing with chinuch classes, chinuch hotlines, and consultations with experts burned me pretty early on and inspired me to look elsewhere.
Because I got burned so badly, got rebuffed or condescended to so roundly, or just plain got confused by chinuch experts' weirdness & their own prejudices & shortcomings...and because I guess my ego is too fragile to keep going back for more of the above, I was able to step off the chinuch merry-go-round and turn to real chinuch and middot work, with help from Rav Shalom Arush's books:
1) Talk to Hashem
2) Examine myself for what I need to improve (whether it's directly related to my behavior toward my children or not)
Solving a Method Doesn't Necessarily Solve the Problem
Maybe a parent is hitting, mocking, deriding, neglecting, or shouting at a child OR the other spouse. Maybe there is a shalom bayit problem caused equally by both parents, which can be at least partly remedied by at least one parent cleaning up his or her act.
If so, then that will come out in a cheshbon hanefesh.
Yes, sometimes chinuch experts are correct when they offer constructive criticism to a parent. But they can also be wrong, overfocus on a lesser issue, and so on.
And it can be very bewildering (especially for an inexperienced parent) to filter out the correct advice amid all the wonky stuff.
In the secular world, I knew parents who'd been physically abusing their children and were "caught" by the system (usually initiated by a child's acting out). They went through counseling and stopped hitting (out of fear of social or legal consequences), but never became good parents. And while their children were relieved to no longer live in fear of being hit, they still suffered emotional neglect and generally feeling unloved and unvalued, which still led to self-destructive behaviors later.
Merely solving one problematic behavior on the part of the parents doesn't lead to overall good parenting or to overall self-improvement.
"Perfect" Parents May Need a Major Overhaul Too
Finally, I know families in which the parents have bad middot, but good shalom bayit and are loving parents toward their children. Why? That's just how their self-interest happens to go. They see their spouse and children as extensions of their own ego and so they treat them all pretty well. Add to that the natural love parents tend to feel toward their children and viola! You've got elitist jerks with pretty loving, functional families.
But when their kids start acting out, they'll be exposed to heavy focus on their parenting methods and again, the neverending quest for hidden shalom bayit problems (which may or may not exist).
Again, it all gets back to what we need to fix in ourselves.
And yes, it can be puzzling, frustrating, and discomfiting work.
But ultimately, that's what we're here for and it ends up being very rewarding too.
May we all experience nachat d'Kedusha from all our children.
Chinuch & Cheshbon Hanefesh: How It Really Works
How to Overcome Obstacles Blocking You from Doing True Cheshbon Hanefesh
5 Reasons Why Cheshbon Hanefesh is Better Than a Chinuch Professional Picking You Apart
Chinuch's Holy Grail: There Isn't One
(You can also click on "Chinuch" in the sidebar of Categories)