I love Elizabeth Pantley, and I've loved her for a long time. I recommend the no cry sleep solution at LLL meetings all the time, because of it's coverage of the vast middle-ground beteween all night giving and all night giving up. If there was one parenting guru I would light a torch for and follow, it would be her.
So when I found out there was going to be a blog tour for a Pantley discipline book, The No-Cry Discipline Solution, I begged for a spot. I would have read it anyway, I'm sure, even though I really hate discipline books for the same reason Casey does. they make me feel like the worst mother on earth. I lose my temper. I yell. I say things that I won't catalogue here, because they make me feel sick inside. I trust Elizabeth Pantlely to 1. understand and 2. lead me away from the path of darkness.
As soon as I got the book in the mail I opened it randomly, so it could reveal its wisdom to me in a mystical, biblical way. And lo, it did. The page I opened up to was comically useful: detailing a fight we have almost daily getting out of the house for school. "we're leaving!" "no we're really leaving now!!" "where the hell are your shoes? how many times do i have to to tell you to put your shoes on? why do'nt you ever listen to me?" "okay, i'm leaving without you!!" yeah. I'm a great mom.
Anyway, the page I opened up to had a heading on it "think it, say it, mean it, do it". it's so simple: don't say you're ready to leave until you actually are ready to leave, don't get sidetracked on your way out the door (for me, that means having keys and/or wallet in hand before any words are spoken) when you're ready to leave, don't lose your freaking head over it, just do it. Do it often enough, and the kid will learn that you mean what you say.
Naomi has learned that when I say it's time to go it doesn't really mean anything. I'm a scattered individual, and I'm "almost ready to leave" when i'm looking for one shoe, hunting for my keys, fixing a snack for later. She knows "almost time to go" is a mushy, hazy statement. She's a smart girl. And I"m a little ashamed that such an obvious "say what you mean, mean what you say" directive should have so much impact on our daily lives, but it did. Mornings have been much smoother since the arrival of this book.
Further perusal revealed a menu of solutions, much like the No-Cry Sleep Solution. They are all basic, simple things that respect both parent and child. Instead of being based in control, they are based in respect. It's the kind of "duh" things you know in your head but lose access to in the heat of the moment.
In the desperation to correct the misbehavior I can rush toward a punishment, and Pantely reminds me that this isn't necesary: Naomi will learn more about my anger that she will learn about her behavior, taking the space I need and waiting until I am calm and rational doesn't silently condone whatever behavior I wanted to correct. I can come back after I have collected myself to administer the needed discipline. Children aren't like dogs: disciplline doens't have to be immediate and swift in order to be retained.
I love her idea that time-outs are not punishment as much as they are a tool to help everyone cool off and think. In our house, time outs are something that we all need from time to time. While Naomi doesn't like time-outs, she might acknowlege that she needs one in order to settle herself down. She sees me take my time outs, and when she notices me getting a little frayed at the edges, she tells me to take one. I only wish I could get away with the 29 minute time out, one minute per year of my age.