Creative Child

Why Connection is the Parenting Key

by Rebecca Eanes


When we meet their turbulence with calmness (which requires us to be accessing our own upstairs brains!) we can help them reflect and make better choices. The best way to calm her down is to connect with her. In the book No-Drama Discipline by Tina Payne Bryson, PH.D. and Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., it says this - “When they feel our love and acceptance, when they 'feel felt' by us, even when they know we don't like their actions (or they don't like ours), they can begin to regain control and allow their upstairs brain to engage again. When that happens, effective discipline can actually take place.”

When this happens repetitively – she's upset, you meet her with calmness and help her calm herself – this pathway gets strengthened in her brain, and this becomes her pattern. She learns to calm down before she reacts. On the other hand, if you meet her downstairs brain with your downstairs brain, both of you angry and shouting, then that's unfortunately the pathway that gets strengthened, and this will become her pattern.

This obviously sets you up for years of frustration and disconnection, and this is a pattern she will carry on into future relationships, and eventually with her own children if she doesn't learn how to rewire her brain, which is much more difficult to do as we get older, though still possible.

The truth is children want to please the parents they feel deeply connected to. They more readily listen, cooperate, and take advice from a connected, warm, and loving parent. Connection helps them feel secure, valued, and understood. It is the foundation of good emotional health. In my upcoming article, Connection-Based Discipline, I'll discuss why connecting with a misbehaving child doesn't spoil him and how to discipline your child with connection in mind.

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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