Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review: No-Drama Discipline

As soon as I saw this book by the authors of The Whole-Brain Child, I wanted to read it. I am a big fan of their previous book and read with interest their many guidelines for nurturing your child's brain. The full title of this book is No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind. Both books share similarities: outstanding structure, clearly defined strategies, explanatory stories and illustrations, and solid information on how the brain works.

I will have to say, I have friends who parent in this manner consistently. Their discipline is always gentle and mindful, their relationship with their children strong and respectful. Although I'm not around them often (especially now that we live in a different state), they have never lost their patience with one of their children in my presence. I have often thought that I would like to be more like them in my parenting style.

This book encourages parents to engage their children more fully in the task of discipline. The principles are simple. First, connect with your child, then redirect their behavior. Connecting serves three purposes: 1) "it moves the child from reactivity to receptivity," 2) "it builds a child's brain," 3) "it deepens your relationship with your child." While connecting, you must ask why the child is misbehaving and what they need, then you must think about how you say what you want to say in response. This slows down the process and takes away some of the knee-jerk reactions which often lead to ineffective parenting models. Plus, it allows the child to get to a point of being receptive to what you wish to say.

For the redirect portion of the instruction, the authors provide an acronym:

Reduce words
Embrace emotions
Describe, don't preach
Involve your child in the discipline
Reframe a no into a yes with conditions
Emphasize the positive
Creatively approach the situation
Teach mindsight tools

I know, personally, I have a tendency to use too many words (which end up being processed as "blah, blah, blah," to preach, and to fail to involve the child in determining the best way to resolve the problem. I often do react in the moment with my own big emotions (lower brain) without tapping into the more rational perspective (offered by the upper brain). Even just the act of slowing down my response time will do wonders for my own discipline with my children. I appreciated the emphasis on remaining calm and reasoning out what needs to be taught.

Once again, the authors have provided an excellent refrigerator chart containing the principles explained. Thus, even if you didn't have time to read the whole book, you could begin to incorporate the wisdom simply by reviewing the handy chart. Plus, they humbly offer up an addendum with examples of some of their own parenting failures. They gently offer hope to any parent who wishes to be more mindful as they discipline their children.


Sheila @ The Deliberate Reader said...

I think I need to look for this one, so I'm glad you mentioned it!

Wendy said...

I'll look forward to reading your review, Sheila.