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No Drama Discipline: The Principles, Part 3

For the past few blog entries, I have been focusing on parenting based on the book “No Drama Discipline” by Dr. Daniel Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson. In my articles “No Drama Discipline: The Foundation, Part 1,” and “No Drama Discipline: The Foundation, Part 2,” I discuss the foundation of "No Drama Discipline" which looks for parents to teach children through consequences rather than implement discipline to make a child feel bad. My most recent entries, “No Drama Discipline: The Principles, Part 1” and “No Drama Discipline: The Principles, Part 2,” focus on the first principle of connection during discipline, which Dr. Siegel and Dr. Payne Bryson refer to as Turning Down the Shark Music. Today, I will discuss the second of three principles, Chasing the Why.The first principle, Turning Down the Shark Music, discussed being present with a child- that is to say, not making assumptions about a child’s current behavior, but rather, looking at each situation as a blank slate. Chasing the Why continues this idea, asking parents to take out that magnifying glass and play the role of a detective. What is one thing that detectives utilize while solving a case? Curiosity. Asking questions instead of jumping to conclusions is a great way parents can connect with children during discipline. It may help to ask questions to yourself such as, “What is my child trying to tell me?” or “What is my child’s actions trying to communicate?” while navigating this parenting process.

For example, a parent walks into the family room to see that the family’s collection of DVDs have been taken off the shelf and thrown around the room. Sitting in the middle of the pile of DVDs is a 5yo child. It would be easy, and understandable, for a parent to become frustrated and want to ask, “How could my child behave in this manner?” Instead, allow curiosity to replace frustration and chase that why. Ask the child what happened, and facilitate a conversation so you can understand from the child’s perspective what he or she was trying to do. Though you may still have to help the child clean-up the mess, this interaction provides an opportunity for a parent to connect with a child and understand the behavior rather than making the assumption that the child is a trouble-maker.

By having curiosity a parent creates a positive teaching experience with his or her child rather than lecturing or yelling at the child. A disconnect between parent and child may cause more tension and/or problems in both the relationship and the child's behaviors.

If you currently feel overwhelmed by your child’s behavior, or you could use more information about parenting and discipline, therapy can be a great place to explore these areas. For more information, visit FAQ at Hilber Psychological Services or contact us to schedule an appointment.

Next week I will continue to discuss Chasing the Why, including tips and tricks that may help parents better adapt to this new mindset.