My wife and I have two children (seven and five years old as of the time of writing this review). As with all parents, we struggle with bathtime, bedtime, playtime, homework, and the developmental challenges those situations often entail for small children. For the past couple months we’ve really been struggling with our youngest. At any moment, any time, and sometimes multiple times per day she has intense, emotional breakdowns. Tears, anger, shouting, name calling, hitting, breaking things, throwing things, doors slamming—the whole bit. Not liking how I was personally handling these situations, feeling that I had some negative influence in how they were turning out, I decided to do some research. Why were my methods not producing the desired effect? I found No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind (2014) by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. Thank goodness for this lighthouse in the storm.
The answer to my question: love. I laugh. Of course I love our children, but it’s a matter of perspective and timing. I will not steal Siegel and Bryson’s thunder, nor do their book the dishonor of boiling it down to bullet points. But I can say the philosophy of No-Drama Discipline derives from empathic love, and how we communicate that through understanding and learning in our children’s most difficult moments. Key example: an emotional breakdown is not a moment to lay down the law, rather a moment to model and teach.