Discipline and punishment are far different, but parents often think of them as one and the same. When your child misbehaves, it’s your responsibility as a parent to teach them why the behavior was wrong and how to make better choices going forward.

The parenting book, No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm to Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, by Daniel Siegel, M.D., and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., is a great resource full of parenting hacks for caregivers who are looking to learn effective discipline strategies. Siegel and Byrson’s approach is based on neurobiology and child development at various ages and stages. We’ve summed up the top 3 parenting hacks from the book below.

Top 3 Parenting Hacks for Disciplining Your Kids

  • Stay calm.

If you find your child has drawn all over the walls in permanent marker or is throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, it can be difficult to stay calm. Remember that your child’s brain is still developing and they are still learning how to handle big emotions and make good choices. They will be more likely to be receptive and learn from your discipline if you can take a deep breath and remain calm.

  • Connect with your child.

Reach out to your child and give them a hug. (Yes, right now in the midst of whatever they are doing to drive you crazy!) Their misbehavior is a learning opportunity, but only if you can transition their brains from a reactive state to a receptive state. Connecting both physically and emotionally will help them be open to your discipline. Empathize with what they might be feeling and validate those feelings. Acknowledging their feelings does not mean you approve of the behavior.

  • Redirect the behavior.

Now that your child is in a receptive state, you can effectively teach your child how to do better in the future. Help your child understand their emotions and how they responded to them. Ask them how their behavior may have affected others and then involve them in deciding what they can do to make things right.

For more tips on parenting, visit the parenting skills section on our Health Resources Blog.