Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting


Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting: Five Strategies That End the Daily Battles and Get Kids to Listen the First Time by Noel Janis-Norton

Pub: Apr 2013

3 of 5 stars

Behavioral specialist Noel Janis-Norton outlines step-by-step strategies that will help parents provide consistent discipline for their children.

It helps to understand that we do not need to feel calm or positive.  All we need to do is temporarily act calmer.  This ‘act’ helps children calm down and start cooperating faster than our display of annoyance would.

This book focuses around a few core strategies and applies them to many different situations in parenting, in order to develop a calmer, more positive method of dealing with misbehavior and frustrations of parenting.

  • Descriptive praise – Telling children specifically when they are doing something right and praising them as soon as they switch from misbehavior to behavior
  • Preparing for success – Thinking ahead and planning for instances that you know will be difficult for your children to deal with
  • Reflective listening – Using “feeling” words to convey that you understand your child, even if you don’t agree with them
  • Never Ask Twice – A method of curbing parental ‘nagging’ so that kids listen the first time
  • Rewards & Consequences – How to use these effectively

So often parenting books give advice on what to do without really establishing how to do it.  “Be consistent!” is often said, but in this book, the author breaks it down into specifics so that parents have a guide for how to be consistent in their rule-making and disciplining.

On the flip side, because there are only really five strategies that are used over and over in nearly every situation, actually reading through this book can get rather tedious, since essentially, she’s saying the same thing over and over again.

In my own household, I found that a lot of these were things that I do anyways,  but it’s always good to be reminded and encouraged to use.  Descriptive Praise works particularly well with my 3-year-old.  Although I like the idea of think-it-through sessions (where the parent questions the child about new rules and their applications, allowing the child a chance to verbalize them and ask questions), some of the examples came across as a bit “Brady Bunch” cheesy.

There were also some pieces of advice with which I downright disagreed.  As a teacher, the advice to only do homework for an hour and then put it away (whether it’s complete or not) does not go over well.  Also, her statement that lying isn’t morally wrong and not to make a rule about “no hitting” also bothered me, as those are things that I want to teach my children, and she seemed rather dismissive of them.

Overall:  Great reminder of positive, effective, specific strategies to help households run more smoothly


About WNK

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