Parenting the ‘Whole-Brain’ way to calm the chaos and nurture your child’s developing mind
Every year when the weather gets warmer, my bookshelf gets a bit fuller. I admit; I am a bit of a nerd and love relaxing with a good book. This month, I am returning to an oldie but goodie.
If you are a parent and struggle with ways to support your child’s development using parenting tools that are compassionate and developmentally appropriate, you are not alone. In the book, No Drama Discipline, Daniel Siegel, M.D., and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., provides a detailed plan for dealing with common child behavioral problems using the strategy of connect and redirect – connecting with the child’s emotions and redirecting behaviors. I appreciate the effectiveness of the tools they discuss and the ease with which these tools can fit in a parenting toolbox.
Purpose of Book:
- To redefine discipline to be a form of teaching which is built on a loving and respectful relationship.
- To help parents understand that behavioral challenges are a child’s way of communicating. (Deciphering the language of behavior can make parenting moments so much easier.)
- To provide parenting strategies that are neurodevelopmentally appropriate and help the child build a more integrated brain, so they can build better emotional and self-regulation skills. (Integrated brain = Better Problem Solving + Better Emotional Regulation + Resilient Kids)
Areas of Focus:
- Connect: Parents are encouraged to first connect with their child when their child is experiencing challenging emotions. This helps the child transition from right-brain emotion to left-brain logical thinking. Strategies may include: validation, reflecting back on the child’s words, and communicating comfort to the child. While much of the discussion of connecting is centered on the parenting connecting with their child, this information is a great reminder to tune into our emotional parenting experience. Parenting with our emotionally driven right-brain can be tough; we may need to take a moment to connect with ourselves in validating and comforting ways before we connect with our child.
- Redirect: The book discusses a 1-2-3 discipline approach. This approach encourages the parent to understand why the behavior is occurring, wait to respond until the child is ready, and help the child build mindsight by understanding what happened. During redirection, parents should reduce their words, embrace emotions, describe behaviors rather than lecturing, involve the child in the discipline process, reframe a “no” into a “yes” with conditions, emphasize the positive, creatively approach the situation, and teach mindsight tools.
The book provides the framework for a research-informed parenting strategy that is thought to help children develop a more integrated brain, leading to increased emotional and self-regulation skills and provides a myriad of psychoeducation that helps parents understand neurodevelopmentally-appropriate behaviors and expectations for their child, as well as possible pitfalls of commonly used parenting strategies. However, as with all parenting books, some suggestions may not fit your parenting style completely. Take what fits and leave what doesn’t.
Dr. Debra Rezendes – Resident in Marriage and Family Counseling
Debra has over ten years of community and clinical work experience with individuals, children, parents, and families. She has been published in the Journal of Happiness Studies and Autism Research and Treatment. Debra received her doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Eastern University. She has skills in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), strengths-based therapies, self-compassion training, attachment-based therapies, play therapy, and solution-focused therapy. Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Rezendes.