I started reading No-Drama Discipline months back but didn’t completely finish it up until last week. In my opinion (for what that’s worth), I think this book should be on every parent’s bookshelf and referred back to often. This is Siegel’s recently published follow-up companion to The Whole Brain Child, and it’s so worth the time to read it. This could be read without the first book, although I think they are more powerful together. Siegel shares that the goal of discipline is to teach (not punish), but children must first be receptive to learning. To create an environment of receptivity, parents must always connect with their children before they correct. If children do not feel connected and in relationship with their parents, they oftentimes stay reactive and are unable to receive discipline. I’ve seen this principle played out countless times in my own home when tantrums escalate, but a simple hug or showing patient compassion can disarm quickly. Siegel teaches that relationship is the key to all discipline. Parents can teach children how to be connected and in relationship with others by demonstrating through their own actions. This connection calms, giving children the tools necessary to be cooperative in the discipline process.
He goes into some detail about the brain science, but you’ll need to read The Whole Brain Child to get the full explanation. Siegel does share about the positive effect of connection on the brain though. He explains that being in relationship creates new neural pathways, which then connects new parts of the brain and leads to integration and mindsight. I love that he shares a little of the science too, because I found it fascinating in the first book.
Siegel also discusses many solid discipline strategies that are very applicable to the situations parents encounter every day. I couldn’t possibly explain them as well as he does in the book, so I’m not going to try to summarize them in my review. But rest assured they are very good. He suggests intentional discipline with the bigger picture in mind – to give our children a firm foundation and the tool necessary to be emotionally healthy and successful in life. His strategies take longer to implement in the moment, but offer so many positive long term life skills. They are surely worthy of implementation.
This is not an adoption-specific book, which is great because it’s applicable to all families. It offers intentional parenting strategies that teach and are not punitive. It pairs very well with Purvis’ The Connected Child. In fact, I think I have an even better understanding of trust-based parenting principles after reading No-Drama Discipline. Siegel’s two books are wonderful companions to Purvis’ principles, and I think the three make a perfect parenting triad for adoptive parents. I highly suggest all three books to all adoptive families!