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No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  8,253 ratings  ·  659 reviews
Janet Lansbury is unique among parenting experts. As a RIE teacher and student of pioneering child specialist Magda Gerber, her advice is not based solely on formal studies and the research of others, but also on her twenty years of hands-on experience guiding hundreds of parents and their toddlers. “No Bad Kids” is a collection of Janet's most popular and widely read arti ...more
Paperback, 162 pages
Published 2014 by JLML Press
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  8,253 ratings  ·  659 reviews

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Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
I have profoundly mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, our wonderful childcare givers swear by this book and the philosophies of Magda Gerber that Lansbury espouses. On the other hand, this seemed like an awfully slim book, cobbled together from some blog posts, and it included some material that came across as self-promoting (like parents praising her website and saying how her child-rearing methods saved their lives).

My biggest bone to pick with this book is that at least half of i
Aug 03, 2015 rated it liked it
On the one hand, I think there's a lot of good advice in this book, and as a Montessorian, I'm already inclined towards the "follow the child" philosophy she espouses, though I don't agree with everything she says. What I really dislike, though, is the smug tone, and the parent-blaming vibe throughout. I'm really glad that I read this book NOW, rather than back while I was struggling terribly with PPD, because the way that Lansbury makes it sound as though every problem a kid is having is due to ...more
Apr 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"From infancy onwards our children need to know we will patiently hear and accept all their feelings and try our best to understand them. The challenge is not to squelch the feelings (with distractions, punishments, or other invalidating responses), and also not to let the emotional outbursts impact us too much - to hear and support our child without absorbing her moods."

This book is basically a collection of blog posts and email correspondence about parenting toddlers and much of the informatio
Wendi Lee
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
*3.5 stars*

This is the first parenting book I've read, and it reminds me of why I've never read any in the past. Although I admire Lansbury's advice, as well as the RIE methods she highlights (it seems similar to Montessori, which I try to follow), it's hard to get very much out of it, at least for me. Every toddler is different, and what works in one scenario might not in another.

It is a timely reminder to stop using the royal we and third person when talking to my daughter, however. She's not
Jul 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, own, sociology
2.5 stars.

Okay, this book contains a lot of good tips about having a positive parent-child relationship with your toddler, including very helpful guidelines on communication and staying calm when engaging with the tiny tornado of poor impulse control living in your house. I liked those bits, and have been employing them with my almost 18 month old with...well...zero results because she's teensy, but I imagine it will be helpful as we go forward.

But oh man, the "I know better than you" attitude
Hayley DeRoche
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Really helpful in terms of laying out how to be an authoritative (not to be confused with authoritarian) parent, and give respectful guidance. Full disclosure: I felt really silly (like, REALLY SILLY) the first few times I was like "I see you're having trouble doing x, I'm going to hold your hands to help you" etc. in the way she suggests for correcting behavior, but as I've continued doing it, it's come to feel less and less contrived/robotic.

The notion that children crave leadership and guida
Jan 09, 2017 marked it as abandoned
I need to stop reading parenting books. Halfway through and no solid ideas on discipline but a fine sense of guilt.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I didn't agree with everything in this book, but it did give me some concrete strategies of things I needed to work on, which have already helped me in my parenting.

My three big takeaways from this are:
1) Even if they seem totally irrational, I need to acknowledge my child's feelings. This can be as simple as saying, "You're upset because I wouldn't let you run by yourself in the parking lot."
2) State limits in first-person language, rather than in third-person or in other vague terms. (In other
Feb 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audio, children
The core thesis of this book can be summarised as: accord your child's feelings, opinions, needs and wants with the same respect you would give any other persons. This is a compelling proposition, I've read the primary research that substantiates it and, because my initial, uninformed opinion was more "authoritarian", I've seen the happy, emotionally mature and thoughtful children its progressive adoption has created in my own family.

So the idea behind this book is good. But the book itself is t
Bobbie Greene
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book came out at just the right time for my family. My son had just turned 20 months and was starting to hit my husband and me, his classmates, and other family members. He had thrown a couple of tantrums by this point, too; and he was becoming a bit defiant. I've followed Janet Lansbury's blog over the past couple of years, and even though I knew this would basically be a collection of posts I'd read before, I knew I needed to read it all again now that these topics were timely for me.
It h
Teodora Grigorie
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I like Janet's blog so I wanted to see if her book is just a blog print-out. Fortunately, this book has a clear structure and messaging, with various topics discussed in properly-split chapters. I believe all parents should read this book and get over the 'guilt' you may feel whilst reading it - take the helpful lessons from the examples given by Janet and simply accept that all parents make mistakes. This is how we grow. ...more
Jul 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Love Janet Lansbury’s perspective on discipline: “Discipline is help.” A child who’s misbehaving is asking us to help them. When they’re being defiant, they’re not feeling relaxed, free or happy; they’re feeling uneasy, insecure and stuck, and they need our help – in the form of clear, calm boundary-setting – to get them out of that place.
I also love (and routinely use) a lot of the wording Lansbury suggests: “I won’t let you throw that” … “I can see how upset you are. You really wanted to hold
Emilia P
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: real-books
Ehhhhh. DID YOU KNOW I have kids? They have lots of feelings.
Here is what I appreciated about this book: Getting in your car seat is not a negotiation. Do it.
Here is what I didn't get from this book: Never give time-outs. Sure, don't give a one year old a time out. But three year olds need to step away from situations that are out of control sometimes (and even two year olds who have made the same bad choice six times today! gasp!), and its not because they are bad but because they need to take
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found the advice here to be extremely useful as I try to balance being a loving dad who wants my son to be empowered and emotionally happy with my own sanity as he skillfully tests every last grain of patience and sanity in me.

At first I found reading the book to be disheartening as I thought, "I'm the worst parent in the world" for having punitive thoughts about addressing his behavior and sometimes acting on it by taking a toy of his away or speaking harshly. Then I realized more and more th
Oct 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
Some good ideas. Not super organized, somewhat judgy.
Anca Diana
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very on point book, giving parents a fast idea on how to be empathetic with their kids, how to help them explore and be creative, without adding useless rules, but also how to set limits with calm. Empowering for parents and kids at the same time. I may review It periodically when I will feel chalenged by my toddler.
Does not go into very “phylosophical” details like some books (that I like but sometimes one may not have the time to go through it), so it is helpful for busy parents who want a qui
Kevin Beal
Jul 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Useful and I'm glad I read it, but it's not exactly a philosophical book.

There are times when we are invited to see children like adults and then asked not to, to let kids do what kids do and then to not let kids get away with too much.

We are not given much help as readers in distinguishing between seemingly contradictory options.

I like Lansbury's work, generally, but I am never left with much in the way of of principles - by which I can come to make my own conclusions.

For example, it is not re
Paige R
Dec 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As a child care educator, I do these techniques and felt she did a good job explaining and breaking them down.
As a parent I can see how she sort of skimmed over topics and didn’t go into in-depth detail. But you need to remember every child and every situation is different so pretty hard to give examples of failures and success. Since this book isn’t very long hopefully it won’t discourage parents from reading all the way through and picking up some new ideas and concepts to try with your littl
Jun 15, 2022 rated it really liked it
Quick read, to the point, would recommend
Nicole Wagner
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book should be required reading for all parents, teachers, and guardians of preschool-age and younger kids!

I bought a copy of this slim little book because I follow the author on Facebook and her articles frequently enlighten and challenge me in my parenting walk with my bright, strong-willed, now four year old daughter. My copy is now highlighted and underlined generously. I'll be referencing it for years to come!

First big takeaway: our kids' feelings are tied irrevocably to their sense of
These are the practices that summed the contents of this book -as stated in the last chapter-
1. Respectful, honest, first-person communication.
2. Acknowledging desires and feelings.
3. Keeping directions simple and concise.
4. A confident, matter-of-fact, unquestioning tone.
5. Gently following through. For example, catching the child’s hands (or feet) when he lashes out while saying, “I won’t let you hit.” If we don’t follow through, children stop taking our directions seriously.
6. Limiting screen
Feb 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This approach really resonates with me, and I try to take these lessons to heart. I am seeing a lot of reviews here accusing Lansbury of “parent blaming.” Apparently those reviewers don’t agree with the title of the book - they must think some kids just really are bad, if their behavior is too much to expect their parents to handle. Or they think that’s it’s unfair to ask parents to deal with their own emotional and psychological baggage. IMO if you are bringing a little person into existence, w ...more
Sarah Street
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: parenting
This book has some solid underlying principles that I agree with and that mirror principles in some of my other favorite parenting books: "How Toddlers Thrive" and "Parenting With Love and Logic". However, the book itself is just okay. It's implemented in such an unthoughtful way -- "How Toddlers Thrive" was such a brilliant book in terms of laying a foundation based in solid research *before* jumping into practical applications. This book doesn't even compare. It's basically a compilation of bl ...more
Aaron J
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I’m not sure how typical it is for men to not want to read books about child-rearing. I thought I would just raise my kid as I was raised because look at how great I turned out, right? When our first child started pushing back at my requests, I quickly realized I did not know what I was doing. My default reaction to my toddler and punishments seemed intuitively unhelpful. Lansbury’s book showed me the way that I want to parent: calmly, lovingly, assertively. We now have more freedom to have fun ...more
Dea Buus
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-stuff
I really liked the concepts of this book and the hands on recommendations. But the writing style did not suite me very well. It felt like reading a cross between a very long personal blog post and a review of a different book by Martha Gerber.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Exactly what you need when you have a two year old in your life 🙈
Cheyenne Chavez
Jul 05, 2022 rated it it was ok
I would give this book 2.5 stars if it allowed.

Honestly a lot of the book came across as pretentious, condescending, or downright fictitious.

An example of the “downright fictitious” Janet describes a write in for help she got from a mother who was scared to violate her child’s boundaries by forcing her to get in her car seat. Janet had valid points about children needing firm direction and someone in charge. However she gives the mom the advice to be confident and after giving the child the choi
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A close friend sent me this book, saying that refers to it regularly. I also find it helpful! Now that I've read a few parenting books, I see a trend: Acknowledge your child's feelings and stay calm and in charge. Pretty obvious, but sometimes hard to maintain.

This book is helpful, even while a bit self-promoting. Some of her chapters are just an email from a satisfied parent praising her methods.

"When setting limits, the emotional state of the parent almost always dictates the child's reactio
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't agree with all of Lansburys' parenting tips; however, this book did provide me with some concrete examples and strategies to implement in regards to my parenting.
A few helpful takeaways:
- Have reasonable expectations: "During the toddler years, our most reasonable expectation is the unreasonable. Expecting the madness makes it far easier to keep our cool." (page 67)
- Lead like a CEO (guiding withe confident efficiency) "Lectures, emotional reactions, scolding and punishments do not gi
Craig Dickson
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was really nice, super easy to read and put forward a very thoughtful (and hopefully super effective!) approach for dealing with toddlers and their limit testing. This gave a useful way of understanding what they're doing when it seems like they've turned from beautiful innocent angels into total wee dickheads, and a good perspective on understanding what they need from their parents.

I'm very glad I read this just as my son is about to enter this stage, so I can try and implement this metho
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“It’s always hardest to remember to acknowledge a child in the heat of a difficult moment, but if a child can hear anything during a temper tantrum, it reassures him to hear our recognition of his point-of-view. “You wanted an ice cream cone and I said ‘no’. It’s upsetting not to get what you want.” When a toddler feels understood, he senses the empathy behind our limits and corrections. He still resists, cries, and complains, but at the end of the day, he knows we are with him, always in his corner. These first years will define our relationship for many years to come.” 3 likes
“Gain perspective. Our attitude toward limit-pushing behavior is everything, and our perspective is what defines our attitude. Testing, limit-pushing, defiance and resistance are healthy signs that our toddlers are developing independence and autonomy. If we say “green,” toddlers are almost required to say “blue,” even if green is their favorite color, because if toddlers want what we want, they can’t assert themselves as individuals.” 1 likes
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