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Parenting Cliff Notes: The No-Cry Discipline Solution

Yesterday I promised I’d have some parenting book cliff notes for you and today I’m here to deliver.  Whitney from Rookie Moms is popping in to share her notes on The No Cry Discipline Solution.  Have you guys been over to Rookie Moms by the way?  If not, here in their own words is what they’re all about:


Sometimes for new moms, it’s hard to think (admit it, you agree) and it’s just nice to be told what to do. Here we are. We’re telling you.


In 2005, we were both working part-time and spending the rest of our days caring for our first babies. But we noticed that those babies never suggested anything interesting to do. They never said, “Mom, let’s go buy you some new jeans and a latte.” We started writing down our own ideas for fun things to do – with our babies in tow. We live less than two miles away from each other and could do many of these things together.


We put together this website to share our inspiration and adventures with other moms. We hope you’ll comment and provide your own spin on any of the activities we suggest.


Sounds fun, right?  It totally is – definitely head over and check it out once you’re done getting your learn on here.  And on that note, take it away Whitney…



I love the idea of folks sharing their Cliff’s Notes of parenting books and it reminded me that I had done exactly that for my mom’s group a few years ago. I read The No Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley, and thought it had a lot of practical advice that was worth sharing.

Please remember, this is not MY advice, it’s just paraphrased/bulleted from the book.  I would love it if other people did the same when they read parenting books!


* Adjust your expectations to the level of emotional maturity possessed by your child.  Most of our parenting frustrations stem from us having unrealistic expectations from them (attention span, understanding of eating customs, impulse control, etc)

* Discipline is a teaching process.  Small children do not learn a new behavior from one incident or lesson.  More like 30 days of repeating the lesson.  Parents job is to teach. Think of it that way rather than the job being to punish.

* Your child misbehaving is not a reflection on you, your values, or your success as a parent.  It is a reflection of an immature human being.  Example: refusal to eat a vegetable does not mean you are failing as a parent.  A green bean is just a green bean.

* Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Nothing your child can do before age 6 is going to have that much consequence on anyone.  Don’t let a tantrum ruin your memory of a day.

* Don’t try to teach a lesson when child is upset.  “Time out”, “thinking time”, or “taking a break” is not to punish, but rather to give a break from a situation that was overwhelming or frustrating.  When emotional control has been regained, a productive discussion can be had.

* It is ok for your child to be unhappy after complying with a request.  For example you said “stop running” or “no cookie”. Allow them to express feelings about not being able to do what they want.  You should still enforce the requests.

* Proactively help your child cooperate.  See list of tricks below.

* Anger is a normal reaction to many of your child’s behaviors.  Learn to deal with your anger in a healthy, appropriate way.  Hiding it is not necessary.  Suppressing it is not the answer.  Sometimes when we get angry, we feel disappointed with our parenting because we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves regarding how easy parenting should be and how much patience we should have.

* Think forward to when your child is a teenager and start good habits with them now. Examples (for 2-3 year olds). After a meal, kid can bring dish to kitchen or sink.  Every morning, kid can put pjs in the hamper or drawer. Playing outside, turning off tv when show is over, listening to authority figures. Rituals now pave the way for positive behaviors later.

Cooperation tips

  • Deal with real problem first – is kid scared, overstimulated, hungry, etc?
  • Bring toys/gadgets with you to entertain when expecting child to wait
  • Offer a choice (do you want to leave through the front door or the side door?)
  • Play a cooperation game (I can pick up all the red pieces before you pick up the blue ones!)
  • Make it talk (Hey, I think your car seat is saying, I want Julian to put his tushy right here!)
  • Engage the imagination (Hop to the car like a kangaroo)
  • Sing a song (This is the way we wash our face, wash our face, wash our face)
  • Tell a story in which someone is exhibiting positive behavior (A penguin goes to child care and plays with toys)
  • Be silly (Put kid’s sock on his hand first and say “like this?”)
  • 5-3-1 (Give fair warning minutes before event occurs. Give three warnings at 5, 3, and 1 minute. Requires consistency and your friends to help you stick to it)
  • Eye to Eye discussions (make your request clearly and respectfully. ask one question of confirmation to make sure they understand)
  • Use positive words (Avoid No, Don’t, and Stop – instead of “No ice cream right now”, say “You can have a banana right now”.)
  • When/Then, Now/Later, When you/You may (You may play outside after you pick up these toys)
  • Distraction (only use when level of fussing is low)
  • Family Rules (We all brush our teeth before bed, We don’t hurt each other)
  • Make it Brief, Make it Clear
  • Think it, Say it, Mean it, Do it (If you say you are leaving the house, leave. No 5 more minutes on the phone/computer.)
  • Predictable daily routines
  • Happy face card chart
  • Time Out (if child won’t stay, stay with him. Practice when child is not in a time-out. If misbehavior is repeated, repeat time out again.  Over and over is fine.)
  • Pick your battles (let little things slip through for the sake of everyone’s sanity. pretend you don’t see them)
  • Give compliments, encouragement and kind words
  • Build a foundation of trust, love and respect

Four years have passed since I took these notes on The No Cry Discipline Solutionand I still think all the lessons are valuable. I hope you do, too!

Thanks again to Whitney for sharing.  For more good stuff, be sure to visit her and her partner-in-crime Heather over at Rookie Moms.

Similar Stuff:
Good to Know: Parenting with Positive Guidance E-Course
We Tried It! Routine Charts
Attention: How Much and What Kind Do Kids Really Need?



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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

gina March 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm

This is so true:

Adjust your expectations to the level of emotional maturity possessed by your child. Most of our parenting frustrations stem from us having unrealistic expectations from them

So many times I have said “OMG stop acting like a 3 year old!!!” Only to realize that indeed he is a 3 yr old!!!! haha


Abbey March 22, 2012 at 6:36 pm

This is such a great idea…and these are great notes. So often, parents’ best resources for parenting advice and ideas are other parents (and most of us are so busy with the hands-on work of parenting that we don’t have time to read all the books!). Thanks for sharing.


cecilia March 22, 2012 at 8:29 pm

pearls of wisdom here, for sure. i love: don’t let a tantrum ruin your memory of a day.


Marissa March 23, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Thank you for sharing! Cliff notes are so helpful!


Rachel May Bailey ~ owner, creator, crafter, mommy March 24, 2012 at 4:51 am

Love this…thank you for the notes.
I do have a comment though — on the note about not sweating the small stuff since nothing they do by the age of 6 affects other people…. It should be noted that over 75% of an individual’s personality is formed by the age of 8 (their likes/dislikes, their natural behaviors, etc)…..so it is VERY important for a parent to set good ground rules early in life. What the parent does to and for a child by this age greatly affects the child and it’s so critical to teach them good morals early on when consequences are small (bad behavior at 6yrs results in ‘no candy’ while bad behavior at 16yrs can lead to a car wreck)!
So keep strong, parents of little ones!
~~from Rachel at http://www.BusyBagCentral.blogspot.com


Cynthia April 14, 2012 at 5:22 am

It is okay to expect a lot from your kids but you should also do your part by giving them the guidance they need in order for them to achieve or reach those expectations. It is better that way so that they will learn from their young age to aim high and do well.


Marnie @ Carrots are Orange April 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm

love this list! thank you for sharing…


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Angela Reuss- PLAY The Discipline Solution July 3, 2014 at 11:32 am

There’s so many aspects of parenting that we as parents, can feel like life-time students continuously learning the tools to do it right. lol Addressing the child’s emotions in a not so aggressive or emotional way is very sensible advice. Sometimes we forget to take “baby steps” or how to think like a child. Thanks for the great reminders about being more on a child’s level of understanding.


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