Relational, Low-Drama Discipline: Encouraging Cooperation While Building a Child’s Brain you are not alone. If you feel at a loss when it comes to getting your kids to argue less or speak more respectfully … if you can’t figure out how to keep your toddler from climbing up to the top bunk, or get him to put on clothes before answering the front door … if you feel frustrated having to utter the same phrase over and over again (“Hurry! You’re going to be late for school!”) or to engage in another battle over bedtime or homework or screen time … if you’ve experienced any of these frustrations, you are not alone. In fact, you’re not even unusual. You know what you are? A parent.
A human being, and a parent. It’s hard to figure out how to discipline our kids. It just is. All too often it goes like this: They do something they shouldn’t do. We get mad. They get upset. Tears how. (Sometimes the tears belong to the kids.) It’s exhausting.
It’s infuriating. All the drama, the yelling, the hurt feelings, the guilt, the heartache, the disconnection. Do you ever and yourself asking, after an especially agonizing interaction with your kids, “Can’t I do better than this? Can’t I handle myself better, and be a more effective parent? Can’t I discipline in ways that calm the situation rather than create more chaos?” You want the bad behaviour to stop, but you want to respond in a way that values and enhances your relationship with your children. You want to build your relationship, not damage it.
You want to create less drama, not more. You can. In fact, that’s the central message of this book: You really can discipline in a way that’s full of respect and nurturing, but that also maintains clear and consistent boundaries. In other words, you can do better. You can discipline in a way that’s high on relationship, high on respect, and low on drama and convict—and in the process, you can foster development that builds good relationship skills and improves your children’s ability to make good decisions, think about others, and act in ways that prepare them for lifelong success and happiness. We’ve talked to thousands and thousands of parents all over the world, teaching them basics about the brain and how it affects their relationship with their kids, and we’ve seen how hungry parents are to learn to address children’s behaviour in ways that are more respectful and more effective.
Parents are tired of yelling so much, tired of seeing their kids get so upset, tired of their children continuing to misbehave. These parents know the kind of discipline they don’t want to use, but they don’t know what to do instead. They want to discipline in a kind and loving way, but they feel exhausted and overwhelmed when it comes to actually getting their kids to do what they’re supposed to do. They want discipline that works and that they feel good about.
In this book, we’ll introduce you to what we call a No-Drama, Whole-Brain approach to discipline, offering principles and strategies that will remove most of the drama and high emotions that so typically characterize discipline.
As a result, your life as a parent will be easier and your parenting will become more effective. More important, you’ll create connections in your children’s brains that build emotional and social skills that will serve them now and throughout their entire life—all while strengthening your relationship with them. What we hope you’ll discover is that the moments when discipline is called for are actually some of the most important moments of parenting, times when we have the opportunity to shape our children most powerfully.
When these challenges arise—and they will—you’ll be able to look at them not merely as dreaded discipline situations full of anger and frustration and drama, but as opportunities to connect with your children and redirect them toward behaviour that better serves them and your whole family.