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Discipline Without Damage: How to Get Your Kids to Behave Without Messing Them Up Paperback – January 12, 2016

4.8 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Every year, I read most of the parenting books that are published in English, and Discipline Without Damage: How To Get Your Kids To Behave Without Messing Them Up, by Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, is one of the five best parenting books that I’ve read in the past five years... I hope that this book makes it onto the short list of every parent. I think it can change the world."
—Dr. Laura Markham, PhD, Founding editor of AhaParenting.com and author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids

“In Discipline Without Damage, Dr. Vanessa Lapointe explores the important question of why we discipline rather than just how. We need to question the notion that the only way to raise happy, capable and caring future adults is to punish children when they don’t behave according to our wishes. In fact, by showing that children really need kindness, fairness and a caring, safe environment, Dr. Lapointe has created a trustworthy resource for parents.”
—Maggie Dent, Author of 9 Things: A Back-to Basics Guide to Calm, Common-sense, Connected Parenting Birth

“In this eloquent book, Dr. Lapointe makes a powerful case for disciplining our children without power struggles, manipulation or control. An insightful guide for all parents!”
—Dr. Shefali Tsabary, PhD, Author of the New York Times bestselling book The Conscious Parent

“This book is a must-read for all parents who know what feels right about disciplining their kids, but have been advised to do the opposite. Dr. Lapointe combines scientific theory with her wealth of experience working with children, and gives clear examples of how to put it all into practice. Read this book and see the results in your happy, well-adjusted child.”
—Barbara Fitzgerald M.D. FRCP(C), Developmental pediatrician and Clinical associate professor, University of British Columbia

“I love this book! It’s a rare combination of science-based, practical,
respectful, and effective discipline.”
—Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, Co-author of the New York Times bestselling books The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline

“In Discipline without Damage, Dr. Lapointe shows why communication and connection are so important for our children. And why it is especially important for us adults to discipline ourselves so that we don’t go down the path of disconnection in the name of good behavior. Read this book and discover creative ways to be with your children and respect them for who they are.”
—Vikram Vij, Chef, sommelier, and co-owner of Vij’s group of companies

"I am delighted to see a book that in theory and practice shows parents how to regulate their children's immature behaviors in constructive ways... If when we go to regulate our children's behavior we think, 'Do I want my child to grow up to treat others this way?' we will be much more inclined to use the techniques advocated in this book."
—Dr. Martha H. Pieper, PhD, Author of Smart Love: The Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Regulating, and Enjoying Your Child

“Dr. Lapointe has given parents, family members and the professionals who work with them a wonderful gift. Discipline Without Damage should be required reading for us all. Written from a deep pool of experience and knowledge, this practical book helps us understand what children need to thrive.”
—Dana Brynelsen, OBC, LLD, Former provincial advisor, Infant Development Program of BC

About the Author

Dr. Vanessa Lapointe is a registered psychologist who has been supporting families and children for 15 years, both in private practice and through her previous work with the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development. She lives in Vancouver.

Dr. Laura Markham is the founding editor of AhaParenting.com and author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: LifeTree Media (January 12, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1928055109
  • ISBN-13: 978-1928055105
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
While I am PhD in the field of child Psychology, I am first and foremost a parent of young children. I own, have read, and have reviewed many books on parenting and child development. However, the parent in me has sighed (ok rolled my eyes) at the occasional parenting book, the professional scientist in me has rejected other parenting books outright, and...for a few other parenting books...the clinician in me has thought "My (parent) clients don't have the time or patience to read this lengthy and verbose, yet fabulous, book."

It was a great experience not to have any of the above reactions. While reading Discipline Without Damage, my reaction was "Finally - someone has managed to intelligently synthesize the science and practicallities all together, in an amusing, accessible fashion," with some subtle twists. This book will appeal to parents interested in intentional and attachment-based parenting, but also parents who utilize limit setting and more structured approaches.

From my research, clinical, and personal perspective, a child's emotional- and self-regulation is critical for their relationships and their future success. Children who can be co-regulated by self-regulated parents in a loving, firm, and secure fashion will grow up to be independent, successful and connected adults (who hopefully are still involved with their parents and healthier relationships across the lifespan). So - perhaps the greatest value of Dr. Lapointe's book ---- it translates what we know as scientists into real scenarios, helpful verbal phrases, and simple actions that parents can take to co-regulate and connect to their children. I confess, some of her suggested parenting expressions "just seem to connect to my children (and husband)'s limbic-emotional brains" better than my own. Equally, it also shares practical strategies for us as parents to self-regulate in challenging parent-child situations.
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Format: Paperback
I came into this book already a proponent of “attachment” style parenting so when it started off strong citing resiliency quotes reminiscent of Barbara Coloroso I had a feeling I was going to be all-in all the way through. Dr. Lapointe gets you on-side right away by immediately describing familiar meltdown scenarios all parents have experienced and couples them to the description of common reactions from the “peanut gallery” onlookers. She presents her theory that discipline is actually about the behavior of big people not children and then provides her own rationale as to why this is so.

Dr. Vanessa Lapointe makes it known early on that her goal is not to provide you with the complete set of rules to abide by in each and every situation you may encounter with your children; rather she chooses to hone on your own intuition as a parent and especially as a parent with a keen understanding of your own children’s unique needs. The manner in which she chooses to approach this is by understanding the “why”, the individual motivation behind each of your child’s behaviors (both positive and negative).

This isn’t to say that the book avoids providing clear and direct ideas on how to handle more common behavioral problems we face as parents, just that they’re done in a more generic sense providing points and counterpoints for the more common approaches to discipline (i.e. how to handle shouting in a supermarket). Additional scenarios are presented when relevant in discussing a particular principle, but they aren’t so outlandish as to feel contrived or so “out-there” you’d never experience something similar yourself.

While weaving her mantra of See it, Feel it, Be it, into all the chapters of this book, Dr.
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Format: Paperback
As I started out reading this book thinking "my kids are big enough now, I don't really need to read parenting books anymore" or "my kids are pretty well behaved, this isn't really a book for me". I was delighted that as I read along that I kept finding nuggets of practical wisdom throughout. And as I read even further, I realized that my kids still need so much from me, and their surrounding "big people". My kids still need me to understand what is happening in their heads and hearts and "...all I ever needed was for you to react in these moments with kindness" [child writing imaginary letter].
I loved to hear out loud that we all mess up, and we all have bad parents moments, true human moments - and that there are graceful ways to recover, while still helping your kids feel like mom has this under control (hence, keeping them safe and secure).
What really resonated with me was that I am able to talk my kids down, or out of a melt-down: they didn't need a punishment, they just needed my ear and my understanding. When Dr. Lapointe made some comparison to how we as adults would feel when an event occurred (example like when your husband forgets your birthday) and what our reaction would be, then comparing that to what our child might be feeling in certain instances made perfect sense to me. Great visuals for me to understand.
I think some of the parts that didn't stand out as strong to me, and perhaps because I am a very visual person, was the "Hulk" visual. I understand the concept (and the concept is good), but I just didn't like it, per se. I also find lists and 1, 2, 3's and a), b), c)'s wearing after a while. Though they are helpful for breaking down thoughts, they tend to make me skim-read.
Overall, I would recommend this book to the parents in my circle, and even (especially!) grandparents. The language was easy to understand and concepts explained well.
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