No-Drama Discipline by Daniel Siegel [Book Summary – Review]


Raising a child is a rewarding journey like nothing else, but that doesn’t necessarily imply that often it can’t get difficult. It can be hard to know to what degree you should let them voice themselves openly and when you should take action when it comes to raising kids. 

In addition, it is not always an easy process to discipline a child and can often be mentally exhausting. Disputes over tiny stuff, like folding laundry or turning down the volume can rapidly heat up, exerting strain on your relationship and well-being. 

Thus, it’s important to discipline your child positively. The writers clarify how efficient discipline can be accomplished only by first comprehending how the mind functions. Your kids will become more responsive to your parenting by obeying their guidance, which, over time, will solidify the connection between you. 


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Chapter 1 – Instead of a type of punishment, discipline should be a learning experience. 


Think back to the last time you had your child got disciplined for getting into trouble. What’ve you been doing? Maybe you were lecturing them, yelling at them, or putting them in a time-out?

But have you actually given a thought about what you are actually doing while disciplining your kid? 

Instead of concentrating on the child’s growth, the traditional discipline utilizes a basic approach of penalty and fear. 

Let’s consider time-outs to understand this better: this technique is used even by the most wonderful parents, who anticipate the child to utilize the time-out to think about their misconduct. But hardly ever does that occur. Children, conversely, tend to spend more time focusing on the behavior of their parents, which appears to exacerbate the conflict. 

Spanking is another conventional method of punishment. Children become more terrified of the behavior of their parents when spanked, rather than concentrating on their own behavior, making this physical punishment unhelpful.



No matter what the circumstances, time-outs, and spanking are implemented to children who behave badly, but it is not beneficial to either the parents or the kids to induce fear and frustration. What if we modify our thoughts and view discipline as a chance to learn important lessons?

To do so, the discipline has to focus on instructing over punitive action in a way that is both more deliberate and adaptable.

Rather than being responsive, discipline should be proactive – that’s the concept behind no-drama discipline. The aim for the short term is to have your kid collaborate with you, while the long-term aim is to assist them to strengthen their relationship abilities and attitude. We need to attach and divert for this to function, which relates to the relation that you have to create with your kid before diverting them to positive conduct. 

As a reward, if we glance at misbehaviors as a chance to teach valuable lessons, then you will not require to discipline your kid as much, progressively.


Chapter 2 – It is possible to shape the brain, so we should perceive misconduct as a chance for improvement. 


Have you ever gotten unnecessarily angry because of fatigue? You were likely trying to hold it together, but it got on top of you after all. Well, kids can act similarly, as the emotion-regulating section of their mind is not fully formed yet.

We do have the power to mold it because the region of the brain that is in control of actions and relationship skills requires time to form. 

The bottom parts of the brain are already pretty formed at conception. It can be called the downstairs brain. It regulates essential tasks such as digestion and respiration, while the brain upstairs, the area responsible for controlling our emotions and compassion, also referred to as the cerebral cortex, is mostly underdeveloped. 

As a consequence of the encounters we possess, a skill called neuroplasticity, our brain physically develops, which implies that we have the control to shape the brain upstairs.

Because the brain can change, misconduct should be a chance for growth, not punishment. 



To reiterate this concept, let’s use this instance of Liz, her spouse, and her young daughters, Nina and Vera: the family leaves the house one morning when Nina begins to whine and scream that she wants mom, not dad, to take her to school. Liz engages her upstairs brain by providing her a hug, rather than further upsetting Nina’s downstairs brain by shouting. 

Even so, Nina remains challenging, so her mother patiently and emphatically describes that she acknowledges that she is angry but can not drive her to school today. Liz provides Nina the option of getting herself into the vehicle or having her dad assist her.

Although Liz’s spouse did end up having to carry Nina to the vehicle, Liz neutralizes the incident and offers a chance for improvement by providing Nina an option in her actions. 


Chapter 3 – Communicating with your kids when they behave badly puts them in a responsive state and incorporates their minds. 


Efficient discipline builds on a relationship between parent and child that is nurturing and respectful.

You have to move your kids from a reactive state to a responsive one by communicating with them to get this kind of relationship. 

They’re in a reactive state when kids do something bad or have a breakdown, indicating their brain downstairs is in power. It will only leave them feeling misheard if you reject their emotions in this state, and the condition will only get worse.

Conversely, to shift them into a responsive state, we need to try to communicate with each other. By providing solace, which involves their brain downstairs and gets them to collaborate, this can be accomplished. Be conscious that before the kid is willing to learn, it may take a bit longer occasionally, maybe until afterward.

Communicating with your kid helps their mind to become integrated, instead of relaxing them down in the short term. Integration occurs when we use various regions of the brain at the same time and encourage specific neural functions that we want our kids to improve, like the ability to adjust to circumstances smoothly.



Think about, for example, Michael and his five-year-old kid, Matthias: Matthias tossed a Lego box throughout the room when he assumed his sibling was barring him. In an attempt to discipline him, by grabbing him for a minute, Michael first attempted to bring his son to a responsive state. While sobbing, Matthias confessed he’d tossed over the Lego pieces.

Michael helped incorporate Matthias’s mind by stimulating his son’s downstairs brain with a loving tactile touch so that he can be responsive to redirection. 

Over practice, the use of this type of discipline can continue to encourage healthier relationships and relational habits. 


Chapter 4 – By expressing warmth, providing affirmation, and interacting, connect with your kid.


We’ve gone over at how necessary it is to communicate with your kids while they misbehave. Let’s discover if we can develop those ties now. Connecting with the children is all about learning and being there through their tough times to support them. 

By providing affirmation and providing ease, you will create a bond with your kids. Non-verbal movements like nodding or embracing are an important means of expressing warmth. Verbal affirmation, though, is as significant, and one way we can affirm their experience is by understanding the emotions they have. 



An audience of the writer’s radio show, for example, received a distressing call from her 19-year-old daughter. Along with discomfort from the previous physiotherapy, the daughter was worried over her financial situation and a pending test. The first reaction of the mother was to ignore the concerns, but she agreed to follow the connection advice from the writer and affirm the experience of her daughter.  She did this by stating she was sorry she is having a rough day and asked if she needed a hug. The basis of communicating is listening. Give feedback to what your kid is feeling to illustrate that you’re listening. 

Assume your six-year-old daughter shouting that she despises her brother because all the time he’s bullying her, and she’s running into your arms weeping. Pay attention to her talk about her emotions and reflect back by not criticizing her for getting frustrated, because if anyone insulted you, you wouldn’t like it either. Tell her that you know she’s looking after her brother and you’ve seen the two of them have a nice time together before. The key thing here is to affirm her perspective, while also being cautious not to imply that she dislikes her sibling. 


Chapter 5 – By evaluating yourself, looking for the reason, and contemplating the how, keep your reactions versatile. 


Ensuring reaction versatility is an integral aspect of the no-drama discipline. This involves modifying the reaction to a circumstance dependent on the disposition, age, and level of mental and social maturity of the infant. 

You have to analyze your own mental state to make responsive versatility happen. Think, on her math school report, your pre-adolescent daughter brings home a low grade: if you have another kid who also struggles with the topic, you could be inclined to answer with “Here we go again,” and give a speech to her on how her college applications may be influenced by this. Yet you’ll be able to manage the situation peacefully and logically by checking in on yourself. In addition, you can find out variables that contributed to her low grade, such as sickness-related absences from school and try to help her remember the content she skipped. 

Going after the why or finding out the reason behind the wrongdoing of your kid would also help keep your answers open.



Let’s discuss another case: the teacher of your son tells you that during the reading time he is shouting out offensive things. Perhaps your first instinct is to scream at him, but now attempt to converse with him. You can discover that to make the other kids chuckle, he makes these sounds. You’re best prepared to steer him in a manner that meets his mental concerns by figuring out the cause for his misconduct. 

The third way to sustain reaction versatility is by paying attention to how you react.   

Imagine having an infant that doesn’t want to go to bed. It’s a choice to intimidate her with “If you don’t go to your bedroom, I’m not going to tell you any tales,” but it’s not as efficient as “If you don’t get into bed fast, we’re not going to have time to read!” You’re more likely to get your child to help by wording it this way, and the optimistic sound reduces the risk of the problem spiraling.

Notice that how your kids are disciplined not only impacts your bond with them but also forms the basis of how they can act around other people.  


Chapter 6 – Exercise mindsight results to reroute the child to positive conduct. 


You ought to show them how to build mindsight results to divert your kid into a healthy emotional and social existence. Mindsight is the capacity to approach a dilemma using intuition and compassion. 

By disciplining them by patience and insight-constructive discussions, you will help your kids build mindsight results. 

If your child had an uproar when her toy was taken away, you could say:” It seemed like when she took the toy away, you were getting angry. This is accurate?” This gives her the chance to share her inner perspective, helping to enhance her perception of herself. 

Or you could try posing empathy-centered questions. Either strategy is more successful than punishment or lecturing them. Instead of screaming at your child for offending others, gesture at the tears of the other boy and encourage your son to picture how he feels.

The second approach to exercise the effects of mindsight is by having the kid to remedy the issue. 



Let’s take into account the situation of twelve-year-old Nila and her parents, Steve and Bela: Steve and Bela let Nila get a mobile phone after a lot of pleading, but only if she utilizes it wisely. One night, however, after bedtime, Bela finds Nila on her phone. Bela refuses to engage in a confrontation because it’s nighttime and everyone’s sleepy and prefers to politely remind her daughter to turn her phone over when it’s time to sleep. 

That occurrence was the second time that Nila refused to obey the rules, so it was apparent that she had to be monitored by her parents. Yet they didn’t snatch the phone away from her. Rather, Nila’s parents assisted her to formulate a plan, and eventually, when it was time to go to bed, it was Nila’s idea to put her phone in another place. 

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all fix, as you’ve seen. However, you should make your children recognize their wrongdoing and show them how to fix it so that they can behave badly increasingly less with time.


Chapter 7 – Focus on the good while diverting misconduct and withdraw from lecturing. 


You’ve got to say no to your kid occasionally. We will also apply to general methods that can help mitigate the problem and redirect it to something more convenient for you and your kid, but every kid and every case is unique.

When diverting them to healthy behavior, the first thing to note is to work on the good, and, where you can, give them conditional approval instead of a straight-out rejection. 

For example, when it’s time to leave Grandma’s house, if your kid wishes to stay, you should tell her, “Of course you can. We need to go at the moment, but ask your grandma if it’s okay for us to come back home this weekend!” This respects the needs of your child while allowing her to live with dissatisfaction when she doesn’t get just what she desires.

Another scenario in which you should reinforce the good is when your kid cries over what they want. Only advise them to express themselves in a more constructive fashion, that is, in their “big-boy voice.” Rather than screaming, “Stop complaining!” You show your kid how to talk.



During diverting, the second thing to note is to stop lecturing your kid by reducing your vocabulary and encouraging them to redirect the discussion. 

Assume that for the last few days your son has been playing games very frequently, point this out and remind him that it diverts attention from important things, such as school. Ask him then if he has any views about how to remedy the problem.

You will be inclined to go on a discussion about ethical behavior, but much of the conversation should be left to him. Divert him with as few terms as possible and give him the chance to speak about his wrong behavior. This will provide him with an incentive to focus on his actions such that there is less risk of repeat behavior.

Shaping the manner you discipline your kid determines your bond with them. You’ll encourage them to understand the influence of their actions on others throughout childhood and during life by developing reciprocal respect.


No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson Book Review


By speaking to their upstairs brains, discipline can be used as an incentive to show the children how to build healthier relationships and communication skills. Listening, providing affirmation, and expressing warmth to them are equally critical, as well as making the responses open. Before diverting them into positive conduct, the key is to interact and help them establish emotional results.


Recall to HALT.

Before reacting to any wrongdoing, HALT encourages us to check if our kids are hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. It stresses the value of emotional sensitivity, which makes it possible for us to be more successful and proactive parents. Rather than shouting at your kid and making it harder, see if a little treat is what your kid wants to make her more open to discipline.



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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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