I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get you this post about a great new book I read recently! I got an advance copy of Gentle Discipline: Using Emotional Connection–Not Punishment–to Raise Confident, Capable Kids a couple months ago and I tore through it. It offers solid information about WHY you should employ gentle discipline and many suggestions on HOW to go about doing that.

I love Sarah Ockwell-Smith’s quiet confidence; she is reassuring and kind. She explains why kids act the way they do and debunks many long-standing ideas about child-rearing. She deconstructs punishment, rewards, and external conditioning brilliantly and offers clear alternatives.

Her first helpful tidbit, disclosed in the introduction, is to SLOW DOWN AND TAKE A PAUSE. She also creates a lovely acronym of steps applicable to almost any tough parent-child situation. Take some SPACE:

S: Stay calm. Adults need to model regulation for kids to “get it.”

P: Proper expectations. Knowing what behavior is developmentally appropriate when is so helpful.

A: Affinity with your child. Offering our kids unconditional positive regard goes a long way.

C: Connect and contain emotions. When we are “bigger” than our child’s upset, we allow them space to vent and reset.

E: Explain and set a good example. This should happen after the storm of emotions has settles, when your child can hear what you have to say.

Ms. Ockwell-Smith’s commonsense approach includes help coping with whining, defiance, sibling issues, and destructive behavior. Chapters include Q&A real family case studies that are easy to relate to. If you want to understand your child’s behavior better and have more tools in your toolbox for managing tough parenting moments, pick up a copy of this fabulous book.


Sarah Ockwell-Smith is a well known parenting expert and a highly regarded popular parenting author who specializes in the psychology and science of parenting, ‘gentle parenting’ and attachment theory. Sarah is famed for her gentle, science rich, yet easy to read books and her down-to-earth manner and ability to translate her vast knowledge of parenting science into easy to understand language.

Many refer to Sarah as an Attachment Parenting expert, however Sarah herself does not like this term as she feels it may ostracize many parents from learning about more gentle parenting techniques. She prefers instead to promote “Gentle Parenting,” which she feels is more appealing to the mainstream with less perceived restrictions and rules. Sarah is also the co-founder of


Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book.

Sarah MacLaughlin is author of the award-winning book, What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children and has been featured in The Huffington PostShe brings over 20 years of experience working with children and families to her coaching practice. Sarah is also mom to an nine-year-old who gives her plenty of opportunities to take her own advice. She works with families one on one, in groups, and through online offerings.