Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline: The 7 Basic Skills for Turning Conflict into Cooperation

Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline: The 7 Basic Skills for Turning Conflict into Cooperation

by Becky A Bailey


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Learn how to stop policing and pleading and become the parent you want to be.

You love your children, but if you're like most parents, you don't always love their behavior. But how can you guide them without resorting to less-than-optimal behavior yourself? Dr. Becky Bailey's unusual and powerful approach to parenting has made thousands of families happier and healthier.

Focusing on self-control and confidence-building for both parent and child, Dr. Bailey teaches a series of linked skills to help families move from turmoil to tranquility:

7 Powers for Self-Control to help parents model the behavior they want their kids to follow. These lead to:

7 Basic Discipline Skills to help children manage sticky situations at home and a t school, which will help your children develop:

7 Values for Living, such as integrity, respect, compassion, responsibility, and more.

Dr. Bailey integrates these principles in a seven-week program that gets families off to a good start, offering plenty of real-life anecdotes that illustrate her methods at work. With this inspiring and practical book in hand, you'll find new ways of understanding and improving children's behavior, as well as your own.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060007751
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/24/2001
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 73,283
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.49(d)

About the Author

Becky A. Bailey, Ph.D., specializes in early childhood education and developmental psychology. Her lectures reach more than 20,000 people annually, and her awards include a Parents' Choice Foundation commendation for three of her parenting audiotapes. She has appeared on CNN, PBS, and The Hour of Power with Dr. Robert Schuller, among other programs. She lives in Oviedo, Florida.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
From Willful to Willing

A wonderful woman who lived in a shoe
Had so many children,
And she knew exactly what to do.
She held them,
She rocked them,
She tucked them in bed,
"I love you, I love you"
Is what she said.

Have you ever thought, I have tried everything possible to get my child to get dressed (or do his homework, or clean his room) and then sadly said to yourself, I give up"? Have you ever punished your child and later felt guilty for having behaved in a way that you swore you never would? Have you ever promised yourself to exercise regularly, eat better, or spend more time with loved ones, but found that the promises you made to yourself are difficult to keep? Have you then given up, or felt guilty?

I wrote this book to help you permanently change your own behavior, because only by learning to discipline yourself will you be able to successfully guide your children's behavior. I will show why achieving self-control and self-discipline allows you to know exactly what to do in order to discipline your children.

If I asked you to teach a class in nuclear physics, could you do it? Probably not. Could you teach your child how to pole-vault? Again, probably not. You cannot teach what you do not know.

Yet we often demand that children acquire skills that we ourselves lack. We ask children to do as we say, not as we do. Parents yell, "Go to your room until you are in control of yourself." A mother grabs a toy that two preschoolers; are tussling over and says, "You know better than to grab toys from your friends. It's mine now!" Husbands and wivesbattle with each other, using attack skills such as name-calling and withdrawal. Then they demand that their children resolve conflicts calmly, by discussing them. Our own emotional intelligence is primitive at best, and whether we admit it or not, we pass our emotional clumsiness on to our children.

For most of us, being consistently in control of ourselves represents a major change. So this book is about change: It's about learning to change your own behavior, and your children's behavior, so that you can grow closer, embrace and resolve conflict, and enjoy life. Once you model self-control for your children, they will show better self-control than you have ever imagined they could achieve. Delightful surprises await you.

Once you model self-control for your children, they will show better self-control than you have ever imagined they could achieve.

Imagine telling your child one time to take a shower—and him actually marching off to do it! Imagine promising yourself to either conquer your clutter, or to relax about it—and then keeping your promise. This book will help you realize these possibilituies and many, many others.

Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline can help you become the person you want your child to emulate. It will take your self-discipline and child-rearing skills to new levels. You will learn how to move beyond policing your children with rules and consequences, and discover how to create a home in which healthy relationships flourish and your children voluntarily choose to cooperate.

Sounds impossible? The revised Mother Goose nursery rhyme at the start of this chapter contains all the needed ingredients. If you want your children to change, you must begin by becoming a wonderfully loving adult. You must focus on what you want to have happen instead of what you don't want. You must rely on love, not fear, to motivate yourself and your children. When you learn to love yourself, you will be ready to teach your children to love themselves and one another.

This is a radically different approach from the one summarized in the original rhyme, which goes like this:

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children
She didn't know what to do.
She gave them some broth
Without any bread;
She whipped them all soundly
And put them to bed.

Have you ever manipulated your child with food like Mother Goose did? ("If you behave while I shop, I'll take you to McDonald's.") Have you ever, in desperation, spanked your child? Unsure of how to proceed, have you sent your child to his room, or put him in "time out"? How often have you felt like the tired "old woman" (or a tired old dad) after surviving a day with your children, fighting battle after battle? The house really can feel as cramped as a shoe with laces tied too tightly.

How would tomorrow feel if you did know what to do? When your children tormented one another, you would be able to teach them how to resolve their conflicts, rather than resorting to playing "bad cop." When your children refused to clean up, you would know how to help them move past resistance and toward cooperation, rather than turning to nagging, punishment, or doing the task yourself. When your children lost control, you would know how to help them calm down and reorganize themselves, rather than outshouting them. Imagine knowing exactly what to do!

Times Have Changed and So Must We

When it comes to describing our social situation, "Times have changed" is an understatement. There have been many shifts in our society, yet none so profound as the shift from roles to relationships. Building steam in the late fifties, society began to enter bold new territory. Collectively, we decided that the roles of the past were too limiting. The roles of husband and wife had been explicitly defined. The role of child (to be seen and not heard) and the role of parent (as boss) had been clearly articulated. Relationships were...

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Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline: The 7 Basic Skills for Turning Conflict into Cooperation 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book by Becky Bailey. It has truly changed my relationship with my preschooler and toddler and the way in which I interact with my children. I have a very challenging three year old son who is extremely determined and stubborn. Prior to reading this book and using Becky's techniques, he and I were engaged in constant power struggles. By using her techniques, we had instant success and amazing results. The non-stop power struggles are gone! For example, putting on his shoes every day was always a challenge, with me becoming angry as he refused to cooperate. After reading her book, I approached this problem differently. The next time he refused to put on his shoes, I used her techniques. I was absolutly flabbergasted when he thought for a second and then said OK and put on his shoes. I was so shocked I was speechless for a few seconds. For months, he and I had struggled daily with putting on his shoes. Just by approaching him differently the problem disappeared. My husband and I were absolutely stunned at how effective the techniques are. This book has helped me understand the reasons behind my children's misbehavior and how to appropriately react so as to make misbehavior a learning experience for my children. While my children's behavior is not perfect (of course I don't expect that from a preschooler and a toddler) we are seeing vast improvement. Most importantly, Becky's techniques are helping to teach my children the tools they need to interact succcessfully with other persons. Becky's book really ties together how different discipline skills promote certain values. This book is truly the most effective parenting book I have ever read. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading many books and attending parenting classes, I finally found the answer...Becky Bailey's book. What a find. The book focuses on changing your behavior rather than your child's, under the assumption that your reaction determines their actions. How true. It has been an absolute help for me. I couldn't be happier with my two and a half year old twins now ! I now urge all my mom friends to read it too. It provides wonderful insight, inspiration and helpful tips. Even my husband has read parts of it! It is a must have for all parents of toddlers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I initially borrowed this book from the library, but because it is so full of wonderful advice and helpful 'one-liners,' I am buying one to have at home. I think this is a wonderful book for creating a positive home environment. She really emphasizes that as a parent you need to develop your own sense of self control, before you can teach your children to do the same. Plus, she leads you step by step through many examples of how to do this. My kids even noticed a difference after I started using a few of her techniques and they liked it!! She really helps parents how to understand developmental issues related to their children's behavior which can help put their misdeeds in perspective. I heartily recommend this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have kids, this is a must read book. I read a lot of parenting books. This is the best. In order to be a good parent in today's society, you must be educated. This is the book for self-educating. The most important philosophy in this book is how to discipline ourself before we can discipline our kids and how to discipline our kids with loving guidance vs. fear-based strategies (most of us fell in this one without awareness).
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that every person in the world should read this book, not just parents. It teaches skills that should be utillized by everyone. It teaches them in a very easy to follow format. I have read tons of 'helping to parent' books, and this is the only one that I would reccomend. In fact I bought one for five of my friends with kids.
Brandie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I finished a few days ago what will be a life changing book in this house. The book called - Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky A. Bailey (also from the list of books I got from Soulemama.com) has to be one of the first parenting books dealing with disciplining that has spoken to me in such deep and profound ways.Now, I also have to tell you, prior to this book I pretty much wrote off all parenting books (and yes, I did just write about a parenting book that I also thought was a good read - but that felt different because it wasn't a book about the day to day grind and trying to discipline your kids, ya know?). Anyway, I have read a few parenting books in my day, I have tried them out (after hearing other rave about them) and they have not worked for me, in my house, with my kids. And I had given up on all of them. Life, clearly was not that easy and I needed to forge my own path with my kids and do what felt right for us.With my girls, that was easy. Probably too easy - and that should have been my clue. Don't have any more kids. Cause you can't get three easy kids, I had already used up the easy genes LOL! And so I walked around thinking I was a great parent. And then came my son. I often joke that I thought I was too good of a parent and God sent him to me to humble me.And humble me he did. He threw tantrums I had only heard about before. He whined more than I thought one child was capable of doing. Once he had his mind on doing something, there was nothing you could do. Redirect? Ha! That was a joke. He gave up napping at 9 months old. He was my hardest to get to go to sleep without crying and whining. He has broken every. single. rule. Multiple times. He hits. He throws. He kicks. He takes. He grabs. He fights. He is a difficult child to say the leastNow, allow me for one moment to also tell you - he laughs more than other child I have known. He cuddles with me. He kisses. He hugs. He loves. He giggles. He reads with me. He idolizes his sisters. He worships his dad. And he loves me to pieces. I tell you this, because I feel it's only fair to show you both sides of him and not just the struggles we have had, because as much as he sometimes makes me want to run away screaming to not have to deal with another tantrum, he is at heart a kind and loving child. I just wish that side of him was the only one I have to deal with!Anyway, back to the book. I started it. I admit at the beginning I laughed. I thought no way. This is too complicated. No one can do all of this! And this lady has really great ideas but they seem so impractical! But I kept reading (perhaps out of desperation) and it started to speak to me some more and then a little more. And a couple of days ago I needed to get my son to do something - and I knew it would turn into a power struggle, so I decided to give the ideas a whirl. And it worked. Just like that. It worked. My chin hit the floor and I was speechless. And we tried it again. And it worked. And then something else happened that made me try something else in the book. And it worked. And so we've been trying these ideas out with a lot of success.This does mean he doesn't melt down. Or that I have stopped yelling. Because people, he's three. And so he's going to melt down. And I'm high strung and too easily upset. So when he doesn't listen I still yell. We are not perfect in this house, but you know what, it is helping. There is a bit more peace here. And I'm so grateful for that. Because most of my parenting energy went right to him and I always fear that someday my girls will say I spent all my time on him and they didn't get enough. This is getting better by the day though.I've now devoured the entire book and it all clicked in my head. I get it all. I want to go back and reread it all. It's got a lot to it. And she says read it slowly to practice - I don't have that luxury - it's a library book. I do believe we will buy it though - it speaks that much to me. But it really does make sense a
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pink214 More than 1 year ago
I am an elementary school teachers with a masters in education, but was at a loss with my own almost two year old. I felt so frustrated because I didnt know what else to do or try. I was given this book and I LOVE it. I loved the use of situations and comparing traditional parenting (ie - what my mom used on me) with a better alternative. The examples are so concrete and their are parts which give a script for what to say when correcting behavior. I wrote it out and put it on my fridge. I loved the emphasis on teaching students correct behavior instead of punishing students for poor behavior. I also loved the part about positive intent and assuming your child has positive intentions (i.e biting because they want to get down and play instead of biting to hurt mommy). I dont know if my child's behavior has improved but I do know that I feel better. I feel that I have a tool box that is full and feel more confident with my ability to address behavior. I feel that I am teaching my child to make the right choices and letting him know that I love him and think he is great no matter what. If you find the book a bit weighty, skim thought it first and then read the the parts you think are most relevent to you first.
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usaegetta More than 1 year ago
The title is catchy but I was hoping it was more practical and dynamic. It takes too much time to get to the point.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This a great parenting book with helpful tips and respectful ways of parenting that actually work and truly honor both parent and child. Among other things, it offers alternatives to the most common parenting mistakes in our culture. My only complaint would be that it is not an easy read at first. I recommend skimming the whole book first, then going through it in more depth. I loved it so much that I am buying three more copies for relatives who have children.