5 Stars Out Of 5
good resource for parents
October 11, 2016
In this book, Jim and Lynne Jackson, founders of Connected Families, teach four principles for discipline that connects with the hearts of your children--you are safe with me, you are loved no matter what, you are capable of making wise choices, and you are responsible to make things right. Moving away from authoritarian discipline, these principles focus on empathy, gentle communication, and natural consequences. This is really a book about the parent--rather than a "how to change your child" focus, it deals primarily on how to change yourself in order to connect better with your children, particularly in times of discipline. The first four sections of the book teach each principle in several chapters each. A three-section Appendix applies the four principles to fifteen specific challenges--everything from messes, screen time, meals and bedtime to whining, defiance, tantrums and sibling conflict.
Here's a brief quote from the book that shows the principles in action:
"Jordan, get your shoes on. It's time to go!"
"No, Mommy! I'm making a truck. I don't want to go."
Lynette looks at her son with a hint of a smile and says, "It's difficult to obey sometimes, isn't it. God sure made you both creative and persistent."
She pauses to pray silently, Lord, how will you use these gifts in him?
Then she makes this offer: "Hey, before we get your shoes, show me this cool thing you're working on."
Mommy feels safe to him; eager to please, Jordan proudly displays his truck.
"That's impressive! I love the huge wheels and the extra light on top. Know what? You can set it up here on the table so you'll remember to finish it later. Do you want to wear sneakers or sandals?"
[Then if Jordan would continue to be defiant, natural consequences would be given, such as practicing a better response, losing the privilege of playing with the toy, and/or doing an extra chore for his mother to "pay back" the time she lost in dealing with his defiance.]
One thing I appreciate about this book is the thoughtful, slow approach to discipline, and also the challenge to make sure I am being loving and considerate in my requests of my children. A simple example is my tendency to pluck my one-year old out of whatever he's doing with no warning and then expect him to "talk nicely" to mommy instead of pitch a fit. Another area where I need improvement is increasing the proportion of affirmation and positive direction to correction and negative commands. Finally, an emphasis in this book was teaching our children that they are responsible for their choices and the consequences of those choices, a lost (but very important) reality for many kids these days.
I have three preschoolers and it did seem like this discipline method relies heavily on discussion, brainstorming, and other conversation-based skills that my kids are not able to process yet.There is only a brief half-page or so about spanking, which implies that it is not usually helpful. My opinion is that with the youngest children, an immediate consequence such as a snip on the fingers or a godly spanking is most effective. Then as children mature, methods like the one in this book become more and more useful and replace the "pain-oriented" discipline.
There is no end to books on parenting and discipline, but all in all, I think this is a good one, particularly for the parent who tends toward anger and harshness, or for parents with older children (ages 5 and up). It would also be a good resource for foster parents or people working with kids who have emotional and/or sensory challenges that require extra insight and care.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.