This post is written as part of the Round Table Discussions with Natural Parent Network volunteers. In an effort to discuss, support, and promote a kinder, more gentle world, we are taking an in depth view of various books. Our current book is No Drama Discipline by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph. D, authors of the book The Whole Brain Child. We hope you will join us with an open mind and a desire for change and growth.
You know you want to keep calm and connect with your children when things begin to go South, but what can you do to change the situation? The authors of No Drama Discipline have provided a handy way to remember some very useful techniques: R-E-D-I-R-E-C-T.
Reduce Words Keep your words short and to the point. Giving a long lecture may seem like you are doing something constructive, but your child is going to tune you out. Get to the point and forget rehashing that point over and over.
Embrace Emotions Help your child embrace their emotions. It is always okay to feel whatever it is they are feeling. The problem comes when that emotion is expressed in unacceptable ways. Acknowledge those feelings. Help your children understand their feelings. Then help them understand that our feelings are separate from our actions and we can make decisions regarding how we act.
Describe, Don’t Preach If you have been at this parenting gig for a while, chances are you have been talking to your kids about choices, acceptable behaviors, and so forth for a while. For the most part, they probably don’t need you to go on about how wrong a decision was. In fact, doing so will just put them on the defensive. However, they may need a bit of perspective outside of themselves. Just describe the situation and leave the decision of how to rectify the problem to them. If they are going to make better decisions, they need opportunities to make them. If your child is young enough that they haven’t learned why something is wrong (hurtful, destructive, or whatever), you need to be concentrating on what they should do in situations, anyway. Skip the lecture.
Involve Your Child in the Discipline Discipline is about learning, and our children learn better when they are actively involved in the process. Beyond that, when a child is involved in coming up with a solution, they become engaged and vested in seeing the solution come to fruition. Because they feel respected, they are more likely to treat others with respect.
Reframe a No into a Conditional Yes You can’t always say yes to everything, but you can frame what you do say positively. Flat out saying no activates that reactive state in our children that doesn’t yield thoughtful actions. When we think about how we say something, we can help our children be receptive to our words, connecting with them and helping them learn valuable skills. This isn’t about keeping our children from ever feeling frustrated. Think of it as a learning experience. In those moments when we can’t say a flat out yes, we can frame our replies in ways that help our children practice valuable skills.
Emphasize the Positive Don’t get stuck on the negative behavior. Remember that we want our parenting to help our children to learn what to do. Focus on the behavior you want your child to exhibit.
Creatively Approach the Situation Novelty garners attention. Get creative, stretch yourself a little, and do something different.
Teach Mindsight Tools Feeling stuck in a negative cycle with your kids? Make a change. Do something about it. We all have the choice in how we feel and act in life. Model this as you help your children learn to acknowledge feelings and assess what they want to change about the situation.
No Drama Parenting Tactics that Promote Peace help us change our approach to misbehavior, enabling us to stay calm and connected, assume the best of intentions about our children, and engage them during the process as they learn. At Code Name Mama, Dionna shares how using these techniques help her children to trust that she cares about their feelings and believes that they can solve problems, resulting in a much more positive situation. Emily at Embrita Bloggings shares a phrase which helps her remember: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself.
Are you looking for a quick and easy way to remember some of these techniques? Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children has provided a free printable version. Post it on the fridge, stick one in your planner, or put one in your bathroom to start your day.