No Drama Discipline: The No Drama Connection

Based on book: No Drama Discipline, By Dr. Daniel J. Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson

You are not alone if you feel at a loss when it comes to getting your kids to argue less, listen or speak more respectfully. It is hard to know how to discipline our kids. All often they do something wrong, we get mad, they get upset and the cycle continues. Here’s a new way to approach situations from Dr. Siegel’s book “No Drama Discipline.” These strategies help parents and kids deal with difficult situation in a healthy way and can lead to strengthening their relationship and emotional connection.

CONNECTION PRINCIPLES:

CONNECTION PRINCIPLE #1: Turn Down the Shark Music

  • Once you recognize that shark music is blaring in your mind, shift your state of mind and stop parenting based on fear and past experiences that don’t apply to the current scenario.
  • Instead, connect with your child and give her what she needs in this moment: a parent who is fully present, parenting only her based only on the actual facts of this particular situation – not on past expectations or future fears.

CONNECTION PRINCIPLE #2: Chase the Why

  • We need to be curious about what drove our children to behave a certain way.
  • Curiosity is the cornerstone of effective discipline. Before you ever respond to your child’s behaviour, ask yourself:
    • “I wonder why my child did that.”
    • “What is she wanting here?”
    • “Is she asking for something?”
    • “Trying to discover something?”
    • “What is she communicating?”

CONNECTION PRINCIPLE #3: Think about the How

  • What we say to our children is important, but just as important if not more important, is how we say it.
  • We can be much more effective disciplinarians if our how is respectful, playful and calm.

 

CONNECTION STRATEGIES:

CONNECTION STRATEGY #1: Communicate Comfort

  • Just as you would hold and rock or pat a baby to calm her nervous system, you want to help your children calm down when they need it.
  • The most powerful nonverbal response: you touch your child (releases feel-good hormones and decreasing stress hormones)
  • Putting your body into the relaxed non-threatening posture actually calms down the parents themselves as well.
  • Tip: get below the child’s eye level and put your body into a very relaxed position that communicate calm

CONNECTION STRATEGY #2: Validate, Validate, Validate

  • We deliver the messsage, “I get you. I see what you’re feeling, and I acknowledge it. If I were in your shoes, and at your age, I might feel the same way.”
  • Validation means resisting the temptation to deny or minimalize what our kids are going through. When we tell our kids how to feel and how not to feel – we invalidated their experiences.
  • For a child or an adult, it’s extremely powerful to hear someone say, “I get you. I understand. I see why you feel this way.”

CONNECTION STRATEGY #3: Stop Talking and Listen

  • Most of us talk too much when we discipline
  • Talking to an emotionally activated child is not effective. When their emotions are exploding all over the place, one of the least effective things we can do is talk at her, trying to get her to understand the logic of our position.
  • Tip: Stop talking so much. Communicate comfort and validate your child’s feelings. Really listen to what she’s saying. Don’t interpret what you hear too literally. Your job is to hear the feelings within the words.

CONNECTION STRATEGY #4: Reflect on What you Hear

  • Reflecting is similar to validating feelings, but now we focus specifically on what our children have actually told us.
  • The goals is to make sure your child comprehends that you understand her experience and in doing so to soothe her big emotions and help calm her inner chaos, so that she can move back to the centre of the river of well-being.
  • When we give our kids attention and focus on what they are doing and feeling, we meet an important relational and emotional need, and they feel deeply connected and comforted.

 

The connection cycle allows us to communicate to our kids that we love them, we see them and that we are with them no matter how they behave.

When we turn down the shark music, chase the why, and think about the how, we can communicate comfort, validate, listen to and reflect feelings and support our kids in ways that create the kind of connection that clearly communicates our love and prepares them for redirection.