My super-nerdy 3-part book review continues with a review of No-Drama Discipline by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson.
The premise of this book is that central to discipline is actually teaching–and reacting punitively (time-outs, spanking, etc) to your toddler’s bad behavior is not the correct response. According to the authors, fear and punishment are only short-term solutions, and are not effective over the long run.
The book advises that prior to responding to misbehavior, we ask ourselves three questions as parents:
1. Why — why is the child acting this way?
2. What — what lesson do I want to teach?
3. How — how can I best teach it?
It also boils everything down to a similar strategy as used in The Happiest Toddler on the Block: First, calm your child down (by connecting with them), then teach the lesson/redirect them. There is a little more flexibility here, though. The lesson/redirection can come much later (the next day, etc) if appropriate, after calming your child down. And the emphasis is more on the lesson then on redirecting them.
I have to say, with these books I do some skimming. I didn’t read any of them cover to cover (who has time for that with toddlers?). I take what resonates with me from each one, and leave the rest.
There is an important distinction that this book makes that resonated with me. The can’t vs. the won’t.
Patience (and praying for patience) comes up often in my discussions with fellow SAHMs as we seek each other out for support. The days are long but the years are short, as they say.
But man are the days long sometimes.
And our patience, well it can wear thin. As parents, we always have the ability to react patiently, but we sometimes break and get impatient with our kids anyway. We are not perfect. So if we can’t be perfectly patient all the time (well we can be, but we know we won’t be) why would we expect our children to be perfect? Or to be orderly, or well-mannered, or any sort of behavior all the time. Sometimes kids have the capacity to act properly, but they don’t. And this book points out that that is OK, as long as we ensure that we are instilling the lessons when they misbehave (that it’s important to be kind, sharing, gracious, etc.).
Recommended? Yes. It’s a long read and to me it felt dense. But I love learning about the latest research and how our kids’ small but mighty brains work.