Janet Lansbury’s book No Bad Kids didn’t necessarily change how I view toddler discipline and interaction, but it did provide me with some tools and ideas for how to better manage myself in tantrum situations. I think this book is a great one for those who want to discipline in a respectful way that doesn’t bring guilt. If nothing else, I promise you’ll walk away with a few tricks up your sleeve.
In terms of the key messages that stood out to me, here are a few I found worth mentioning…
- Be the CEO your kid needs. When you think of how you want to be led, I’m sure the words calm, confident and guiding come to mind. Well, be that kind of leader for your kids. In my short 20 months of parenting, I’ve seen how Kaiden really is a mirror to what Vishnu and I are feeling and how we’re acting.
- Speak in the first person. This one is hard for me. For example, instead of saying, “Give that to mama,” you should say, “Give that to me.” I always say mama and not me or I! But I get where she’s coming from with this. Direct and clear communication is the best way to go.
- Treat your kids like the mini adults that they are. Talk to them like you would a friend, your spouse, your parents, etc. Janet is not about that baby talk life. She thinks parents need to speak to their kids like they do everyone else. This allows them to feel equal and like everyone else.
- In that same vein, parents should acknowledge their kid’s feels and point of view. This makes total sense to me. When I’m angry, I don’t want someone to assume that they know what I’m feeling or ignore me or try to tell me I should feel differently. So why would we do that to our kids. And acknowledging doesn’t equal accepting. It just means that, even if you disagree with the why, you still understand that your little person has a point of view.
- On a related note, you have to let your kid feel what he/she is feeling without intervening. This one is hard for me. Sometimes because I don’t want K to cry, sometimes because it’s annoying. But I’ve personally seen how quickly the tantrum decelerates when we let him get his feelings out versus interject with our own thoughts.
- No matter how frustrating for the parent, tantrums are a call for help. Your kid is trying to tell you something, and unfortunately, throwing a tantrum is the only way they know how to communicate. Instead of fighting it, try to figure out where it’s coming from.
- Be matter a fact and unwavering in how you communicate. Kids are smarter than we think. When we get emotional, they get emotional. When we say yes one day and no another, that signals that we can be worn down. It’s certainly no easy, but this gives your kids the structure they need to navigate boundaries, explore, and test limits.
This summary does the book no justice whatsoever, but as you can see, there’s a lot to unpack. Let me know if you decide to read it. Would love to hear what others took away, and more importantly, what tips really worked for you!