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Michele Tryon: No Drama Discipline

Michele Tryon

Have you ever heard those words from a friend, relative or colleague? What do those words mean? We often hear or even say those words out of frustration when we are faced with a child who is misbehaving or out of control. The word discipline is frequently confused with the word punishment, which for many means the child needs a swift and negative consequence!

No Drama Discipline comes from the work of Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and requires a shift of thinking. With this shift in our mindset, we reclaim the word discipline. Discipline comes from the same Latin root as disciple (discipula) and means to guide, lead or teach. When we see children misbehaving or overwhelmed and out-of-control, they do need good discipline. They need someone to help them regain composure, and teach them effective ways to express their thoughts, feelings and needs. Often a child who is misbehaving or out of control is a discouraged child. Although children do need consequences for poor choices, we miss half the equation if we don’t attempt to understand why the behavior is happening and what message the child is giving us. Dealing with the feelings before dealing with the behavior is one way to connect with the child and foster a relationship in which the child wants to learn and cooperate. In the short-term, no drama discipline moves a child from reacting to receiving.

In the long term, no drama discipline helps build the architecture of the brain. Teaching a child is like training the brain. The brain is pattern-seeking. The brain looks for routine, structure and familiarity to feel safe. When we give children the tools they need to gain composure, problem-solve and get their needs met in positive ways, the brain encodes those methods or choices for future use. Think of the effort as creating a GPS in the brain. We’ve been down this route before. It is familiar. I know how to get from point A to point B without becoming over-whelmed.

The importance of adult/child connection and positive reciprocal relationship are undisputed in the research arena. In common terms, children need adults to listen, care and connect. The catch phrase “connect before you correct” speaks to that premise. When a child feels safe and has a sense of belonging, they are open to learning. When a child is open to learning, we have the opportunity to pause and make our actions meaningful. We can ask the question, “What do I want this child to learn? How can I best teach this lesson and keep our relationship in tact?”

When we become effective disciplinarians, we invest in kids and provide them the opportunity to become self-disciplined. Someday we might hear or say, “What kids these days have is some good discipline.”

To learn more about No Drama Discipline and Dr. Dan Siegel’s work, join Michele Tryon, CHKD parent educator, for one of two FREE workshops being offered at the CHKD Health and Surgery Center at Princess Anne.
No Drama Discipline for parents - Wednesday, January 27, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
No Drama Discipline for professionals- Friday, January 29, 10 a.m.- Noon
Seating limited. Register at www.chkd.org/classes

About the Author

Michele Tryon is a certified child life specialist and parent educator. She is the community outreach coordinator for Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and provides workshops and classes throughout Hampton Roads.

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Are you as involved in your child’s education as you would like to be? See what new research shows about parent engagement in our schools.

Whether it is helping a child with homework, volunteering at a school event or simply working with teachers when an issue arises, parents are taking an active role in our schools. A recent survey shows that levels of parent involvement are increasing. But, there is always room for the school division to create new opportunities for parents and the community to become in engaged. We wanted to know how satisfied parents are with current opportunities and what barriers may be keeping them from being more involved. The school division recently worked with the local research firm Issues and Answers to survey parents about their involvement and communication needs. You can learn more about the survey and see the results here.


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Last Modified on Thursday, January 7, 2016