Discipline That Connects With Your Child's Heart: Building Faith, Wisdom & Character In The Messes Of Daily Life by Jim & Lynne Jackson (Bethany House)
Discipline That Connects With Your Child's Heart by Jim & Lynne Jackson is a very refreshing dose of sanity in what has become the sheer chaos of raising four kids (8-12). This book focuses on teaching the Discipline That Connects approach to parenting. It shows you step-by-step how to build a relationship with your kids based on the following biblically-based messages: you are safe with me (foundation), you are loved no matter what (Connect), you are called and capable (Coach), and you are responsible for your actions (Correct). These form a rough pyramid with the largest emphasis being on the foundation (safety), and the smallest portion or peak being the correction (responsibility).
This book is not about quick fixes or easy answers. It also does not start by trying to "fix" problems with your child. Instead, it presents common scenarios and typical outcomes within a family where the parents are stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed, or simply at a loss and feel they've tried everything. Between my own childhood and dealing with my four kids over the last 12 years, there wasn't a single scenario in the book that I couldn't relate to in one form or fashion. Yes, I knew that what I was doing wasn't working. Yes, I'd get upset and caught up in the moment and say things I would regret or feel shameful/guilty about later. Yes, I had read countless parenting books and tried every idea I could come across in an attempt to regain "control" of an out-of-control child... Yes, I needed a new approach. And this is it!
This book focuses and calming yourself first and foremost, so you can approach your kids rationally in make them feel safe around you, even while being punished. If you've ever had a child shrink in fear because you were upset, then you should be able to recognize the need here. It then walks you through ways to modify your own behaviors that you know feel wrong but you just don't see a way around when you're caught up in the moment. There is hope. This book demonstrates how to show unconditional love while disciplining, how to involve your child in the problem-solving process so they learn to become responsible, and even how to pick up the pieces and get a "do over" when you mess up. Because you will mess up, just like they will. Over and over again, because we're all still learning and trying to get this right. The important thing isn't the getting it right part, it's the loving and forgiving and trying to do better next time.
The real eye openers came for me in chapter 6 when they're listing common problem areas and suggestions for how to be a better parent when you're not at your best, and also at one point when they explain that compliance is not obedience. The first 2/3 of this book are basically a how-to, with lots and lots of real life examples to help pull you through. It's the equivalent of actually being present for a weekend seminar on how to be a better parent and overall communicator. The last 1/3 of the book is appendixes that list even more specific problems and creative solutions for how to help your children grow in your love in order to make better choices.
This book is very highly recommended to any parent that is having problems dealing with the day to day messes of raising kids. Unlike most books that focus on younger children, you could easily pick this up and get a "do over" even if your kids are teenagers. It also addresses harder issues such as stealing, habitual lying, and hitting.
As soon as I finished this book, my two oldest were fighting and I took it as an opportunity to test the method I'd just learned. Within five minutes, there were sincere apologies, heart-felt communication and legitimate plans to try to do better next time. This was the largest impact of any parenting concept in years! 5/5 stars.
*Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*