22 Feb

Book Review: The Gentle Discipline Book, by Sarah Ockwell-Smith

The Gentle Discipline Book is a book for parents, based firmly in attachment theory and gentle parenting practices, just as you would expect from an author who has very much made this her specialism.

Ockwell-Smith defines discipline as a supportive teaching process, and devotes a chapter to critique of discipline in its more widely-understood sense, i.e. punishment and reward. She supports this approach very thoroughly with a good chapter on neuroscience, and logical explanations of the developmental reasons for various behavioural issues in young children.

The book then goes on to look at a range of problems, from sulking to swearing, with helpful strategies for dealing with them. This is a widely applicable, useful read for all parents, and for anyone involved in educating parents and parents-to-be about raising children with empathy and kindness.

I also found that Ockwell-Smith gives a helpful perspective on parenting, recommending the 70/30 rule: “trying to be the best parent you can be 70% of the time and not worrying too much about the other 30%” (p238) As the mother of an occasionally difficult (but generally delightful) ten year old, I found this very affirming.

In this book, Ockwell-Smith offers an updated and less US-centric take on Sears’ Discipline Book, and I would recommend it unreservedly.

[Disclaimer: I was provided with a free review copy of this book]