Here is a guest blog entry from Rich F., an active Dad and very active member of the NYC Dads Group. I’m definitely guilty of yelling too much when I get upset with my kids, and it sounds like Rich has found some methods to gently, and presumably more effectively, handle life’s day to day struggles with kids.
Last month I read The No-Cry Discipline Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behavior Without Whining, Tantrums, and Tears by Elizabeth Pantley. It altered my approach to disciplining my kids. I can say that they are better behaved and my life is less stressful. My relationship with my sons (ages two and three and half) is also less strained and more enjoyable.
The book is broken into four parts. The first part describes how to have a more constructive attitude towards discipline. What behavioral goals do we have for our children? What is discipline? Why?
The second part explains how to find out what the problem is and how to avoid issues in the future. With Sean, if he doesn’t eat, then we are going to have a problem but he’ll never say that he is hungry, he’ll just act up and get everyone mad at him. So we are careful to feed him a balanced diet and stick to his eating schedule.
The third part deals with adult behavior and how to handle getting pissed off at your child. They can definitely get us angry at times but it is unwise to try to discipline them when we are in this condition, so how do we keep it calm and teach our children proper behavior?
In the last part of the book, the author goes through specific issues that we all have with our children. Restaurant behavior, hitting a parent, tooth brushing, and so on. She gave advice on how to handle each situation in a positive fun way, like suddenly start speaking with an accent (Cowboy and Oxford English are our favorites).
The cover of the book describes itself as gentle ways to encourage good behavior without whining, tantrums, & tears. After reading this book I feel more organized in my approach to dealing with misbehavior both my children’s and mine. The book changed some of the things that I was doing and helped to reinforce some of the things that I was already doing.
One of her techniques that I used is singing a song. After driving for a few hours in the car on Thanksgiving with the two boys, I obviously couldn’t attend to every need that they had and so when things started to go downhill, I started singing Old Macdonald. Then each one took a turn picking an animal and so on. But this song could also be used if stuck in an elevator or a long check out line or crying in the stroller. By the end of the song, everyone was in good spirits again and ready for snack number four.