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Book Review: ‘No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame’

IMG_0445Have you heard of RIE Parenting? I’m new to the practice. I don’t consider myself someone who’s fully committed to the movement from every angle of my own personal parenting style, but I’m absolutely drawn to the method and becoming more attracted to it. And I’ll tell you why.

I’d heard of the author Janet Lansbury from a few different moms about a year and a half ago (moms whom I respect — greatly, might I add, because of their patience, understanding, and consistency in lovingly setting limits for their children). I kept hearing Lansbury’s name, and then I finally came across an article of hers. And to sum it up simply: What she wrote about infant/toddler behavior — it just made sense. RIE Parenting stands for Resources for Infant Educarers, which just means the ultimate goal is to treat infants and toddlers with respect. After reading many of her articles for over a year, I finally decided to buy Janet Lansbury’s book, “No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame.”

Check out a short excerpt from the introductory paragraph in her first chapter:

“A toddler acting out is not shameful, nor is it behavior that needs punishing. It’s a cry for attention, a shout-out for sleep, or a call to action for firmer, more consistent limits. It is the push-pull of your toddler testing his burgeoning independence. He has the overwhelming impulse to step out of bounds, while also desperately needing to know he is securely reined in. There is no question that children need discipline. Lack of discipline is not kindness, it is neglect. The key to healthy and effective discipline is our attitude. Toddlerhood is the perfect time to hone parenting skills that will provide the honest, direct, and compassionate leadership our children will depend on for years to come.”

What I like about the RIE method is that respect for the child is the foundation of healthy discipline. In an age where you can easily feel like you’re doing everything wrong — from feeding, to diapering, to whether or not you grew the organic food yourself that your toddler is eating (hello internet and everyone’s different opinions and our sometimes crazy comparison game that we do as moms) — I find her research and insight regarding the subject of discipline simple, refreshing, and basically just common sense.

Regardless of what kind of discipline background you come from, I would consider checking out her book if you’re in the trenches of raising babies and toddlers. Not only for them, but for yourself. Since I’ve implemented some of Janet Lansbury’s strategies for setting clear and consistent limits, I’m having fewer moments of feeling like turning into a toddler and having a meltdown myself. Not none, but fewer. 😉 And most importantly, I think I’ve been able to see the little people in front of me in a deeper way and can recognize and appreciate how they’ve been uniquely created. These tiny, sometimes emotional, sometimes exhausting, but extremely captivating humans with their own minds, gifts and abilities — they are important and deserve to know they’re loved. If you’re anything like I am, you can tend to obsess over how you’re doing as a parent. But rest assured, if you care anything about the subject of discipline and are striving to do better, they will know that you love them. (Sheesh, preaching that to myself right now). From one mama (who’s just trying to figure it all out) to another, check out Janet Lansbury’s book for practical, gentle approaches to discipline.


About Melanie Menon

Melanie formerly worked in the mental health field & is now a stay at home mom to her two boys. She enjoys quality time with her husband and kids, coffee, and genuine conversation with others. She is looking forward to getting more connected in the Reno community!

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