As a relatively new blogger I check my blog’s email address just hoping for a comment notification or two. So when I opened my email the other day and saw an email from Elizabeth Pantley, I was pretty much ecstatic. Pantley is the author of the “No-Cry” series, including The No-Cry Sleep Solution and The No-Cry Nap Solution. As mentioned before, we used and love those books. So I’m a huge Pantley fan! Pantley got in touch to ask if I’d be interested in reviewing any of her other books. Yes indeed I was interested!!
I decided to read and review The No Cry Discipline Solution first, because Adeline is just getting to the age where I’m starting to seriously think about how I want to handle discipline. This is my first discipline book (and if you know me at all, you know I will surely read many more), so I’m a newbie to this genre. But I’ve watched enough parents and read enough random snippets online to know that this, like so many other baby issues, can be a controversial topic.
Pantley’s book is so full of common sense, love and family-friendly advice that I can’t imagine how it could be controversial. There are so many things to rave about with this book. The basic philosophy is summed up in this sentence from the Foreword: “the word discipline simply means to teach, and, as parents, we teach our children every day through our words, actions, and example.” I love this!
The book is as much about giving you specific tools as it is about correcting parental expectations. She often reminds the reader that it is normal for children to misbehave, to have tantrums and to make mistakes. That doesn’t mean we should just let them do whatever they want, but as parents we do need to acknowledge that our child’s behavior is normal. We need to be the ones to teach our child how to deal with the underlying emotions that lead to tantrums and bad behavior. They’re just kids, after all, and if you don’t teach them, who will?
A large part of the book gives specific tools to use when dealing with misbehavior. As with her other books, she gives many options and acknowledges that not every approach will work for every family. She puts a lot of emphasis on prevention, which I think is great. Try to avoid letting your child become over-tired, hungry, bored, scared, etc. Obviously, though, not all bad situations can be avoided, so she offers further tools. I love her books because the advice is so practical. Things like: separate the toys into three batches and switch them out every few days so your child doesn’t get bored; offer a choice of two positive outcomes (e.g., “do you want to run to the car or hop like a bunny?”) when your child doesn’t want to do what you ask; use imaginative games or songs to encourage your child to cooperate; and give specific time warnings before it’s time to leave a fun place, rather than just saying “time to go” and making them leave. Of course, there’s so much more advice – you’ll just have to check it out for yourself!
The best part of this book, though, doesn’t deal directly with discipline: an entire section of the book is devoted to dealing with parental anger. This is a topic that, I’m sure, every parent faces, but it often gets swept under the carpet. Who wants to admit that they sometimes feel overwhelming anger towards their child? It was such a relief to read Pantley’s reassuring words. But she offers more than just an understanding shoulder to lean on – she offers concrete steps for dealing with that anger. Because do you really want to teach your child that anger is acceptable? That the solution to not getting your way is to get angry? I know I don’t. So for this section alone (and the rest of the book as well) I say: thank you Elizabeth Pantley!