No-drama Discipline

No-drama Discipline

The Whole-brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture your Child's Developing Mind

Book - 2014
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"The authors of the Los Angeles Times bestselling The Whole-Brain Child team up again to offer parents of children aged 2-13 a practical roadmap to effective, productive, and more peaceful discipline, highlighting the fascinating and important connection between the way a parent reacts to misbehavior and a child's neurological development"--
Publisher: New York :, Bantam,, [2014]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780345548047
0345548043
9780345548054
Branch Call Number: 649.1 SI
Characteristics: xxviii, 255 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Bryson, Tina Payne

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bell5133
Nov 13, 2019

I read this book because my own child is disobedient more than not, and my gentle discipline wasn’t too effective in the long term (over 24 hours). I primarily used time-outs. I was hoping to get some good discipline advice from this book, but it provided the opposite. Only follow their advice if you want your child to grow up to be a self-centered spoiled brat who can’t deal with the real world. Their disciplining strategies were even less effective than my own.

Makes scientific claims like “when we discipline with threats . . . We activate the defensive circuits of our child’s reactive reptilian downstairs brain” (46-47), but there are no citations provided. The authors talk down to the readers with terms like “upstairs and downstairs brains” like they have no capability of digesting the actual terminology of the brain. And I suppose we readers are just supposed to take their word for it about all their scientific claims. Yet they quote Sherlock Holmes who said, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts” (111). They put their hypocrisy on display again (113-115) when they tell you to not ask your child why they did something (obtaining data), but just ask *yourself* why and guess about it (theorize).

The book says that true spoiling is giving children “the sense that the world and people around them will serve their whims” and “when parents shelter their children from having to struggle at all” (90). But this treatment is exactly what the parents are giving to their kids in the examples this book gives.

The book is filled with cartoon illustrations which almost always show angry kids when the parent is disciplining “wrong,” but happy or sad but hopeful kids when the parent is disciplining “right.” What’s more realistic is for the kid to be angry and crying in every picture no matter what the parent does. But the authors probably don’t want to draw the pictures realistically, because then it would bring attention to how ridiculous THEIR advice is.

The book literally says this is the kind of message you want to send your kids: “What you’re sharing with me right now is crucial—more important than anything going on around us, even more important than anything I want to say” (124). And they don’t think this is going to create kids who are spoiled, feel entitled, and think the world revolves around them?! You SHOULD listen to your kids, but that doesn’t mean the kid shouldn’t listen to the parent! Who is the teacher? Who is the adult? Who is smarter and wiser? In most cases, it’s the parent! How can you teach your kids to be better, if all you’re doing is listening to them whine and validating their emotions? The book even says not to talk to your kid when they’re upset, except to repeat what they say to you and make an empathy statement (132), because they think kids are too stupid to learn anything when they’re upset. If that were true, then kids of generations past who were NOT disciplined gently would not have learned any lessons. But kids of generations past DID learn from their upbringing, and it can be argued that the kids of generations past were better behaved and more mature and respectful than kids today.

Maybe instead of trying to be trendy and progressive by following the advice of people with unproven theories, we should think about what strategies worked in the past to produce mature, responsible, stable, well-mannered adults. As this book says, don’t let ‘experts’ trump your own instincts (244).

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sarah99au
Jul 31, 2019

I have 4 kids and have taken classes on child-rearing since I was in high school but this one takes the cake. It's so introspective and helpful and I've seen a dramatic difference in my children as well as myself after reading and applying so many of the important lessons taught in this piece!

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