By R. Renee Cameron, MA, LPC, LMFT, NCC
If you run a quick Google search on parenting strategies, you will no doubt end up with a million articles giving you tips and ideas on how to be a good parent. Many of those strategies are grandiose and/or completely contradictory to the other ideas listed. I remember when I first became a parent and I had no idea what I was doing. Well, I had some idea, but I definitely was not a confident parent. I would reach out to friends, family, and, yes, the Internet to get the reassurance I was looking for when I wasn’t sure what the best strategy was for *fill in the blank with a parenting concern.* Reassurance is definitely not what I would get. I would only get 100 other ideas about parenting and I would end up more and more confused. As I gained parenting experience, I realized that I really had to decide what was best for me and my family and stand firm in the fact that whatever strategy I chose, there would be someone out there that thought I had it all wrong. I recently had the pleasure of reading “No Drama Discipline” by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, PhD. I love the way this book is written because it looks at how you already parenting and then it offers small adjustments to be a more effective, connected parent. Below you will find several strategies from the book for redirecting behavior and scripts you can use to implement these strategies with your family.
“You are frustrated. Hitting hurts. Please be gentle with my body. Let’s go do something else.”
“I see that you are feeling sad. You cannot hit when you feel sad. Let’s talk about what you can do.”
DESCRIBE, DON’T PREACH
“I see you left your clothes on the floor.”
“It looks like your friend wants a turn.”
INVOLVE YOUR CHILD IN THE DISCIPLINE
“You got really mad a little while ago. What was going on?”
“I noticed you threw your bag and hit your sister. It’s okay to feel mad, but it’s not okay to hurt people. What do you think you could do differently next time you feel that way? Any ideas?”
REFRAME THE NO INTO A CONDITIONAL YES
“You wish we could go to the zoo right now. Maybe we can look at what time they open on Saturday so we can start making our plans for this weekend. This is going to be fun.”
EMPHASIZE THE POSITIVE
“Ask me again in your big kid voice. I like when you use that voice.”
“I love it when you are sweet to your brother like that.”
CREATIVELY APPROACH THE SITUATION
“Please do not sit in your car seat because my imaginary dog Bingo is sitting there today.”
TEACH MINDSIGHT TOOLS
“I am feeling so jealous right now. I want to take my friend’s toy, but if I do it might make her mad and she might not want to be my friend anymore. I’m going to ask her if I can have a turn sometime instead so that doesn’t happen.”
I highly recommend this book and I hope that you find this book as helpful and supportive as I have.
“Too often we forget that disciplining really means to teach, not to punish. A disciple is a student, not a recipient of behavioral consequences.”
-Dr. Dan Siegel
Siegel, D. J., & Bryson, T. P. (2014). No-drama discipline: The whole-brain way to calm the chaos and nurture your child’s developing mind (First edition.). New York: Bantam.