Have you ever said that you would parent your children in a calm respectful way ? Did you ever see a movie or even another parent lose control of their child in public only to have everyone staring at them thinking what is happening, is she a bad mother or is the child a bad kid ? Or do you feel like your always punishing your child for misbehaving either at school or at home ? These are moments we all wish we could skip or at least resolve as quickly as possible.
For this “currently loving” post, is a book called the NO-DRAMA DISCIPLINE by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, PH.D. published in 2014. You can also find the audio version here and the book here.
Sometimes there are books or in my case, audiobooks you come across which are home runs in their category. This book has specific examples from everyday life that supports each of their strategies. It makes it easy to understand and can be applied to ALL children and teenagers. They also mention the mishaps we sometimes do as parents. This book had great insight on how our approach to discipline changes our child’s thoughts. While is might seem complicated, it was great and I absolutely wanted to share some of their strategies with you.
A few months ago Sasha turned one and since then has been walking and expressing himself much more. He suddenly started demanding things (yes already!!) and when we would not agree he would start yelling and pulling my hand while pointing us into this direction and that direction. I found it very difficult to make him understand the word « NO » in certain situation that required it. He would scream and cry like it was the end of the world because things did not go his way (and he isn’t even in his terrible two’s!). So urgently looking for guidance (instead of continuously loosing my temper which only left me feeling incredibly guilty) I decided to turn to some experts in child development and psychology to give me tips on how to turn these frustrating motherly moments into loving and respectful ones.
QUICK NOTE : I have always enjoyed reading but since having Sasha I found it incredible difficult sitting down to read. So when a mom entrepreneur mentioned that she was listening to books, I had a « DING DONG ! » moment. Ever since I’ve subscribed to Audible I have been listening to some incredible books.
You might think, “I don’t have any children” so how can it be applied to me? Well, we all know someone that has a child, a baby, a toddler or even a teenager.
Are you an uncle, a grandparent, an aunt, a teacher, a nurse, a daycare employee or even friends with the neighbor which has kids….
I have applied their suggested methods of disciplining a child and have seen an incredible difference in my interaction with Sasha using their simple strategies to calm him during his tantrums.
The essential principle evoked in this book is to CONNECT with your child during his or her meltdowns. How is that possible when they are screaming or hitting you ?
While some people might think that a child is spoiled if they are difficult, always screaming, getting physically abusive or refusing to listen, one thing that is emphasized in this book is that you can never spoil a child by giving them too much love. With this being said here are some of the ideas that I particularly loved in this book.
« We need to chase the why »
Why did our child feel that way ? What made him mad, frustrated or sad ? Instead of jumping to conclusions with a direct « stop that right now ! » response. Try to think why did he do that or say that ? This will help us understand the meaning behind his actions as oppposed to only putting a quick bandaid on this behavior with a punishment. The child will thus feel more connected to us as we are showing him or her that we care about what they are feeling and that their emotions matter.
Put your body in a position that is non-threatening when speaking with your unruly child.
Loving this excerpt from the book:
« If you had to interact with an angry looking dog, would you approach it with an aggressive body posture and demand that the dog knock it off and calm down ? That wouldn’t be very smart, nor would it be affective. The reason is that it would communicate to the dog that you are a threat and the dog would have no other option then to react either by cowering or by fighting. So instead we are thought to approach a dog by putting out the back of our hand, crouching down low and speaking with a soft reassuring voice. In doing so our whole body communicates a message, I am not a threat. » (Chapter 5)
How simple yet powerful is this example ! This book is full of pertinent and effective examples and scenarios that will help translate the theoretical aspects of this book.
Identify with your child’s emotion by saying something similar to « I get you », « I understand your having a hard time », « I can see your feeling _______ », etc.
This will calm them down and make them feel heard.
What’s interested is that you don’t have to explain right away to your child why his behavior is unacceptable. When both (you and the child) are calm, then the child will be more receptive to talking about the dramatic incidence.
Redirect them back to good behavior
There are many examples in the book on how to redirect them but here are some of my favorites :
-Letting them know that it’s okay to feel something (their frustration, sadness or angry/hateful thoughts) but you can’t always do whatever you want to do (behavior).
-Let them find a solution to their misbehavior instead of imposing one yourself.
The book shares other strategies but these few points were my favorites.
I truly recommend this book to anyone who works with children. The main goal of discipline is to teach and not to threathen. The authors clearly indicates that connecting with your child will benefit both the parent and the child and bring a better understanding of the true problem. Yes, it seems simple enough, yet we often need reminders as it is very easy to forget and let our frustrations or emotions take control during these situations. While I understand there are thousands of books on parenting, I found this one truly interesting.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post !
If you have any other tips or comments for disciplining a child, please leave a comment below.
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