Sunday, March 2, 2008

Book Review: The No-Cry Discipline Solution

The No-Cry Discipline Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behavior Without Whining, Tantrums, and Tears
by Elizabeth Pantley

I’ve always been wary of any parenting “expert” who recommends a one-size-fits-all solution to discipline issues. That’s why I like Elizabeth Pantley’s books so much. She gives great ideas and guidelines, but she acknowledges that parents know their own children best, and that no two kids are alike. As a mother of four with her oldest in college, she has the experience and the perspective to guide parents through the years of tantrums, whining and sleep issues while keeping the big picture in mind.

Pantley’s approach is gentle and respectful toward both children and parents. Besides just correcting the immediate behavior, she feels that the goal and purpose of discipline also includes teaching a lesson, giving the child tools that build self-discipline and emotional control, and building the parent/child relationship.

The book begins by focusing on some essential parenting attitudes and ways to build a strong foundation: ideas for how to relax, enjoy the time with your children more, keep things in perspective and focus on what’s important.

Next, Pantley encourages parents to start by solving the real problem causing the misbehavior. By being more aware of these triggers and using some of her suggested methods to improve cooperation, many behavior problems can be avoided the first place. One of my favorite ideas is to make inanimate objects “talk” to the child. Not only is your kid more likely to cooperate, it also puts both of you in a better mood. It’s almost impossible not to smile while making a pair of shoes ask, “Please, may I go on your feet?”

A sense of humor is certainly helpful, but let’s face it, sometimes it’s just not there. Instead of laughing, we find ourselves yelling: “For crying out loud, hold still and let me put your shoes on!” Feeling angry toward our precious children is completely normal, yet it doesn’t exactly help us teach them about emotional control. Pantley devotes several chapters to the causes and consequences of parental anger, a topic that is rarely covered so honestly and thoroughly in parenting literature. She includes a number of helpful tips for managing anger and reducing anger-inducing situations.

The last section of the book lists more than 30 of the most common behavior problems. Pantley addresses some of the reasons for each behavior, then offers ideas for what to do and what not to do in response.

I guarantee I’ll be referencing The No-Cry Discipline Solution again and again, whether it's for a specific behavior issue or just a dose of parental perspective.

Have you read The No-Cry Discipline Solution? If so, please post your comments!


Angela said...

definately on my 'to check out at the library' list. thanks! i can't wait to read it.

Ruth said...

let me know what you think after you check it out!