Round Table Discussions: ReTHINKing Discipline

Written by Mandy on February 20th, 2015

Gentle Discipline

NPN RTD featureThis 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.

Please read some of the posts by our volunteers – linked in the text below – for more information on No Drama Discipline and positive parenting.

Parenting is hard, especially when you are trying to parent differently than you were raised or to change the way you are currently parenting. We have to change, not only the way we parent, but how we think about parenting and discipline. What is your goal in parenting? Is it to have a compliant child who does what you ask when you ask? Is it to have a child who grows up to think critically and assess situations in order to make appropriate decisions? Are your goals long-term, short-term, or both?

The word discipline is often used in our society to mean punishment. That was not its original meaning. As the authors of No Drama Discipline mention in their effort to reclaim the word, the Latin word disciplina actually refers to teaching, learning and giving instruction. Our goal in parenting our children should be to help them learn the skills needed to recognize, think about, and act appropriately for any situation. We won’t always be there for our kids, but we have the opportunity right now to help them learn.

In her post What’s the Point of Discipline? Three Questions to Ask Before Reacting to Misbehavior, Dionna at Code Name Mama talks about the point of discipline, inclduing both long and short term goals. Rather than simply reacting in a situation, We can ask ourselves three questions to help respond compassionately. At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy shares how parenting often requires some detective skills in Investigative Parenting. We don’t always realize why our children do the things we do, but there is always a reason, even if our children, themselves, don’t recognize what that reason is. As Code Name Mama posts, Every Child Has a Story.

Sometimes parenting a child is frustrating. We have all been there. Sometimes your kids are going to react. There will be times when it seems like they just aren’t willing to cooperate or listen to reason when developmentally they just aren’t there yet. You can’t control how long it takes for your child’s brain to develop, but you can control how you respond, or less desirably – react, to a situation. Distinguishing Between “Can’t” and “Won’t” can help us recognize when our children are not able to handle a situation versus when they just aren’t handling it well. This allows us to better meet our children’s needs for learning and working through situations.

Traditional, authoritarian parenting looks for the quick fix. Spanking and time-outs are often handed out for offenses. Not only do we know that practices such as these have a detrimental affect on a child’s brain, they don’t address our ultimate parenting goal: help our children learn what they should do instead. Mandy addresses this concept, along with a frequent criticism about gentle parenting articles in Parenting: What To Do or Not to Do. The feeling many parents feel when hearing what they shouldn’t be doing is the same feeling our children feel when they are told not to do something but aren’t given tools on how to deal with the situation. On Making Assumptions addresses the importance of not making assumptions when approaching situations at Embrita Blogging, along with reminders about practicing this, as parents.

Sometimes parents are the ones adding drama to the situation and relationship. Are you Taking the Drama Out of Discipline? Or are you tired of the drama going on in your family? Are you looking for more peaceful solutions? Pick up a copy of No Drama Discipline and join us over the next few months as we talk about what is going on in your child’s brain and how you can learn to connect with your child, help them to learn, and leave the drama behind.

After checking out the links above, you can also read about how NPN mentors helped one mother with a situation where she felt her child was out of control in Regaining Family Peace.

About The Author: Mandy

My NPN Posts

Mandy O'Brien is an unschooling mom of five. She's an avid reader and self-proclaimed research fanatic. An active advocate of human rights, Mandy works to provide community programs through volunteer work. She is a co-author of the book Homemade Cleaners, where simple living and green cleaning meet science. She shares a glimpse into her life at Living Peacefully with Children, where she writes about various natural parenting subjects and is working to help parents identify with and normalize attachment parenting through Attachment Parents Get Real.

One Response to Round Table Discussions: ReTHINKing Discipline

  1. Lec

    Wow, Some great reading here. Thanks!