Monday, August 18, 2014

Motivation - A Positive Discipline Tool Card


An excerpt from the book Positive Discipline by Dr. Jane Nelsen.

Where did we ever get the crazy idea that to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse?

Think of the last time you felt humiliated or treated unfairly. Did you feel like cooperating or doing better?

Take time to close your eyes and remember a recent time (or a time during your childhood) when someone tried to motivate you to do better by trying to make you feel bad. Remember exactly what happened. Get in touch with how you felt. Be aware of what you were deciding about yourself, about the other person, and about what to do in the future. (Even though you were not aware that you were making decisions at the time.)

Did you feel motivated to do better? If so, was it a good feeling, or was it based on negative feelings about yourself and/or the other person? Did you feel motivated to give up or to cover up so you could avoid future humiliation? Or, did you want to become an approval junkie—giving up a big part of yourself in order to please others?

Children do not develop positive characteristics based on the feelings and subconscious decisions they make as a result of punishment.

Parents and teachers who don’t like excessive control or permissiveness, but don’t know what else to do, may switch back and forth in confusion between two ineffective alternatives. They try excessive control until they can’t stand themselves for sounding so tyrannical. They then switch to permissiveness until they can’t stand how spoiled and demanding the children get—so they go back to excessive control.

What is the price when excessive control seems to work with some children? Research has shown that children who experience a great deal of punishment become either rebellious or fearfully submissive. Positive Discipline does not include any blame, shame, or pain (physical or emotional) as motivators. On the other hand, permissiveness is humiliating to adults and children and creates unhealthy co-dependence instead of self-reliance and cooperation.

Since many parents and teachers believe the only alternative to giving up excessive control and strictness is permissiveness, it is important that we define discipline. Discipline is a word that is often misused. Many people equate discipline with punishment—or at least believe that punishment is the way to help people achieve discipline. However, discipline comes from the Latin word discipulus or disciplini which means a follower of truth, principle, or a venerated leader. Children and students will not become followers of truth and principle unless their motivation comes from an internal locus of control—until they learn self-discipline. Both punishment and reward come from an external locus of control.

If Not Strictness, and Not Permissiveness—Then What?

Positive Discipline is an approach that does not include excessive control or permissiveness. Positive Discipline is based on mutual respect and cooperation and using kindness and firmness at the same time as the foundation for teaching life competencies based on an inner locus of control. We stress the importance of making a connection before correction; and involving children to focus on solutions instead of punishing for mistakes.

When adults use excessive control, it is their responsibility to be constantly in charge of children’s behavior. The most popular form of excessive control used by parents and teachers is a system of rewards and punishment. With this system, adults must catch children being "good" so they can give rewards and catch them being "bad" so they can dole out punishment. Who is being responsible? Obviously it is the adult; so what happens when the adult is not around? Children do not learn to be responsible for their own behavior. They do not learn to do the right thing when no one is looking.

It is interesting to note how often controlling adults complain about irresponsibility in children without realizing they are training children to be irresponsible. Permissiveness also teaches irresponsibility because adults and children both relinquish responsibility.

One of the most important concepts to understand about Positive Discipline is that children are more willing to follow rules that they have helped establish. They become effective decision makers with healthy self-concepts when they learn to be contributing members of a family, a classroom, and of society. These are important long-term effects of the positive approach. They can be summarized in the following:

Five Criteria for Positive Discipline

  1. Is kind and firm at the same time. (Respectful and encouraging) 
  2. Helps children feel a sense of belonging and significance. (Connection) 
  3. Is effective long-term. (Punishment works short term, but has negative long-term results.) 
  4. Teaches valuable social and life skills for good character. (Respect, concern for others, problem-solving, accountability, contribution, cooperation) 
  5. Invites children to discover how capable they are and to use their personal power in construc- tive ways. 


Punishment does not meet any of these criteria. Every method taught in Positive Discipline does. The first criteria, kindness and firmness at the same time is a cornerstone concept for Positive Discipline.

KINDNESS AND FIRMNESS AT THE SAME TIME

Rudolf Dreikurs taught the importance of being both kind and firm. Kindness is important to show respect for the child. Firmness is important to show respect for ourselves and for the needs of the situation. Authoritarian methods usually lack kindness. Permissive methods lack firmness. Kindness and firmness are essential for positive discipline.

Many parents and teachers struggle with this concept for several reasons. One is that they often don’t feel like being kind when a child has pushed their buttons. Again adults want children to control their behavior when adults don’t control their own behavior? Often, it is the adults who should take some positive time-out until they can feel better so they can do better.

Another reason adults have difficulty being kind and firm at the same time is that they don’t know what kind and firm looks like. They may be stuck in the vicious cycle of being too firm when upset—or because they don’t know what else to do; and then being too kind to make up for being too firm.

Tune in next week to learn more about the Positive Discipline Tool of Kindness and Firmness at the Same Time.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Helpful Hints For Empowering Vs. Enabling

An Excerpt from Positive Discipline for Teenagers
by Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott.

A friend asked me if Positive Discipline was a program to teach parents to manage their children. I said, "No, it is a program to help parents empower their children to manage themselves."

You may be vividly aware of how skilled most of us are in using enabling responses to our children, and how unskilled we are in using empowering responses. Parents who are used to controlling and rescuing may have a difficult time seeing the benefit of empowering statements.

Before we introduce the empowering actions and statements, we’ll go over enabling actions and statements—just in case you aren’t familiar with them. Our definition of enabling is, "Getting between young people and life experiences to minimize the consequences of their choices." Enabling responses include:
  1. DOING TOO MUCH FOR THEM: Doing things for kids that they could do for themselves, bailing them out after bawling them out. “I can’t believe you have procrastinated again. What will ever become of you? Okay, I’ll do it this time, but next time you’ll just have to suffer the consequences.”
  2. GIVING THEM TOO MUCH: Buying everything they want, cell phones, cars, insurance, clothes you can’t afford, CDs, junk food. “I can’t believe you didn’t do your homework after I bought you a car, a cell phone, clothes I can’t afford, and gave you a big allowance.”
  3. BRIBING AND/OR REWARDING: “You can have a new CD, allowance, cell phone, if you do your homework.”
  4. OVERPROTECTING:  What to wear, when to wear coats so they won’t get cold as if they are too stupid to know or to learn, picking their friends, extreme fear of danger. “Honey, I’ve got the car warming up in the garage so you won’t be cold.  Did you see the clothes I picked out for you?  I’ll wait till you’re ready to go, cuz I’d like to drive you to school so you won’t catch a cold.” 
  5. HOVERING: Doing their laundry, waking them up in the morning, making their lunches, driving them places when they could walk or ride a bike, excusing them from helping the family because they have homework. “I just don’t understand. I excused you from chores, I woke you up early, I drove you everywhere so you would have more time, I made your lunches. How could this be?”
  6. LYING FOR THEM:  Excuses to the teacher, writing notes when they just slept in, I won’t tell Dad/Mom. “Okay, I’ll write a note to the teacher that you were sick this morning, but you’ll need to be sure and catch up.”
  7. PUNISHING/CONTROLLING: Grounding, taking away privileges, creating your agenda for them. “Well then, you are grounded and you lose all your privileges, no car, no TV, no friends, until it is done.” 
  8. WHAT AND HOW LECTURES:  Telling them what happened, what caused it to happen, how they should feel, and what they should do about it. “Well, no wonder. I saw you wasting your time on MySpace and spending too much time texting your friends and sleeping in. You should feel ashamed of yourself. You’d better shape up or you’ll be shipping out to live on the streets like a bum.”
  9. HOW, WHAT, AND WHY CAN’T YOU LECTURES: “How many times have I told you to get your homework done early? Why can’t you be more like your brother?” Why can’t you be more responsible? What will become of you?”
  10. BLAMING AND SHAMING: “How could you ever do such a thing, how come you always forget and never get your homework done, I can’t believe you would be so lazy.”
  11. LIVING IN DENIAL: Thinking your child could never do such a thing--being oblivious to the cultural mores regarding sex and drugs, and believing things are dangerous without educating yourself. “Well, honey. I’m sure you don’t really need to do homework. It is a stupid thing for teachers to expect. You are smart enough to do just fine without it.”
  12. RESCUING/FIXING: Buying new things to replace what your child loses, hiring lawyers, staying up late to help with (or doing) last minute homework. “I’ll hurry and do it for you while you get dressed and eat your breakfast. Sorry I won’t be able to fix your bacon, eggs, and waffles. I’m sure you’ll do your homework tomorrow.”
    Our definition of empowering is, "Turning control over to young people as soon as possible so they have power over their own lives."  All of the following Empowering Responses are possibilities that can be used in response to neglected homework as well as other challenges you may be experiencing:
    1. SHOW FAITH: "I have faith in you. I trust you to figure out what you need. I know that when it's important to you, you'll know what to do."
    2. RESPECT PRIVACY: "I respect your privacy and want you to know I'm available if you want to discuss this with me."
    3. EXPRESS YOUR LIMITS: "I'm not willing to go to school to bail you out. When your teacher calls, I'll hand the phone to you or tell her she'll need to discuss it with you. "A respectful attitude and tone of voice is essential.
    4. LISTEN WITHOUT FIXING OR JUDGING: "I would like to hear what this means for you."
    5. CONTROL YOUR OWN BEHAVIOR: "I'm willing to take you to the library when we come to an agreement in advance for a convenient time, but I'm not willing to get involved at the last minute." "If you need my help with your homework, please let me know in advance."
    6. DECIDE WHAT YOU WILL DO WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT:  “I’m available to help with homework between 7:00 and 8:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I won’t be available to help with last minute projects.”
    7. FOLLOW THROUGH WITH KINDNESS AND FIRMNESS: “I can see you are stressed about waiting until that last minute. I’m sure you’ll figure it out. I’ll be available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 to 8:00.”
    8. LET GO OF THEIR ISSUES: "I hope you'll go to college, but I'm not sure it's important to you."
    9. AGREEMENT NOT RULES: "Could we sit down and see if we can work on a plan regarding homework that we both can live with?"
    10. LOVE AND ENCOURAGE: "I love you just the way you are and respect you to choose what is right for you."
    11. ASK FOR HELP: "I need your help. Can you explain to me why it isn't important to you to do your homework?"
    12. SHARE YOUR FEELINGS: Share your truth by using the "I feel ______ because _______  and I wish" process without expecting anyone else to feel the same or grant your wish. This is a great model for children to acknowledge their feelings and wishes without expectations. "I feel upset when you don't do your homework because I value education so much and think it could be very beneficial to you in your life and I really wish you would do it.
    13. JOINT PROBLEM SOLVING: "What is your picture of what is going on regarding your homework? Would you be willing to hear my concerns? Could we brainstorm together on some possible solutions?"
    14. RESPECTFUL COMMUNICATION: "I'm feeling too upset to talk about this right now. Let's put it on the agenda for the family meeting so we can talk about it when I'm not so emotional."
    15. INFORMATION VS. ORDERS: "I notice you spend a lot of time watching television and talking on the phone during the time you have set aside for homework." "I notice you often leave your homework until the last minute and then feel discouraged about getting it done."
    16. ENCOURAGE LEARNING FROM MISTAKES: “I can see that you feel bad about getting that poor grade. I have faith in you to learn from this and figure out what you need to do to get the grade you would like.”
    If you are used to using short-range solutions of control and rescuing, you might not realize how powerful these empowering statements are.  Empowering statements and actions are important because they turn control over to your kids so they have power over their own lives. This power often leads to mistakes and failure. When you understand and trust that learning from mistakes and failure is an important part of a successful life process, you may find it easier to use the empowering statements.  If what you are currently doing isn’t working, take a leap of faith and work on using empowering statements with your kids.

    Monday, August 4, 2014

    Decide What You Will Do



    The Jones family is very excited. They have just finished planning a day at the beach. Seven-year-old Jason and five-year-old Jenny have promised that they won’t fight. Mr. Jones, has warned, “If you do, we’ll turn around and come back.” “We won’t, we won’t,” promise Jason and Jenny again.

    The Jones family haven’t gone two miles when a loud wail is heard from the back seat, “Jason hit me.”

    Mrs. Jones says, “What did we tell you kids about fighting?”

    Jason defends himself, “Well, she touched me.”

    Mr. Jones threatens, “You two had better cut it out, or we are going home.”

    The children cry out it unison, “Nooooooo! We’ll be good.”

    And they are -- for about ten minutes. Then, another wail is heard, “He took my red crayon.”

    Jason replies, “Well she was hogging it. It’s my turn.”

    Mr. Jones says, “Do you want me to turn around and go home?”

    “Nooooooo. We’ll be good.”

    And so the story goes. Throughout the day Jason and Jenny fight, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones make threats. At the end of the day, Mr. and Mrs. Jones are angry and threaten never to take the kids anywhere again. Jason and Jenny feel bad that they have made their parents so miserable.  They are beginning to believe they really are bad kids—and they keep living up to their reputation.

    Now let’s visit the Smith family. They have just planned their trip to the zoo during their weekly family meeting. Part of the planning included a discussion about limits and solutions.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith have told Susan and Sam how miserable they feel when they fight. The kids promise they won’t. Mr. Smith said, “I appreciate that, and I think we should come up with a plan for what will happen if you forget.” The kids keep insisting they won’t fight. Mr. and Mrs. Smith know their children have good intentions, and they are also very familiar with the pattern of good intentions gone awry. So, they have decided what they will do and they will follow through.

    Mrs. Smith says, “Well then, is it okay with you if we stop the car if you do forget? We don’t think it is safe to drive when you are fighting, so we’ll just pull over to the side of the road and wait for you to stop. You can let us know when you are ready for us to drive again. How do you feel about that solution?” Both kids agree with innocent enthusiasm.

    Typically, it doesn’t take them long to forget their promise, and a fight begins. Mrs. Smith quickly and quietly pulls off to the side of the road. She and Mr. Smith take out magazines and start reading. Each child starts blaming the other while protesting his or her own innocence. Mr. and Mrs. Jones ignore them and just keep reading. It doesn’t take long for Susan to catch on that Mom and Dad must mean what they said. Susan says, “Okay, we are ready to keep driving.” Mr. Smith says, “We’ll wait until we hear it from both of you.” Sam says, “But, she hit me.”

    Mom and Dad just keep reading.  Susan hits Sam, “Tell them you are ready.” Sam cries, “She hit me again.” Mom and Dad just keep reading. Susan realizes that hitting Sam won’t help, so she tries to reason with him. “We’ll have to sit here forever if you don’t say you are ready.” Susan follows her parent’s lead and starts to color. Sam holds out for about three more minutes before saying, “I’m ready for you to start driving.” Mom says, “Thank you very much. I appreciate your cooperation.”

    About 30 minutes later another fight starts. Mom starts to pull over to the side of the road. Both kids cry out in unison, “We’ll stop. We’re ready to keep driving.” There was no more fighting for the rest of the day, and the Smiths enjoyed a wonderful day at the zoo.

    What is the difference between the Jones family and the Smith family? Are Jason and Jenny really “bad” kids?” No, the difference is that the Smith family is helping their children learn cooperation and problem solving skills while the Jones family is helping their children learn manipulation skills. Mr. and Mrs. Smith demonstrate that they say what they mean and mean what they say by using kind and firm follow through. Mr. and Mrs. Jones don’t. They used angry threats. This had a temporary effect, but the kids would soon be fighting again.

    Mr. and Mrs. Smith stopped using words and instead followed through with kind and firm action. It took a little longer for the kids to catch on, but once they did it had a longer lasting effect. Because they are kids, they just had to test the waters one more time. When their parents started to follow through again the kids knew they meant what they said. They were left with the feeling, not that they were bad kids, but that they were clever enough to figure out a solution to the problem and that cooperation was the most effective alternative.

    Monday, July 28, 2014

    Distract and Redirect


    Children under the age of three do not understand “no” in the way most parents think they do. (And a full understanding of “no” doesn’t occur magically when the child turns three. It is a developmental process.) “No” is an abstract concept that is in direct opposition to the developmental need of young children to explore their world and to develop their sense of autonomy and initiative.

    Oh, your child may “know” you don’t want her to do something. She may even know she will get an angry reaction from you if she does it. However, she cannot understand why in the way an adult thinks she can. Why else would a child look at you before doing what she “knows” she shouldn’t do, grin, and do it anyway? Knowing things as a toddler means something far different than knowing things as an adult. Her version of knowing lacks the internal controls necessary to halt her roving fingers. Researchers like Jean Piaget discovered long ago that toddlers lack the ability to understand cause and effect (an excellent reason not to try to lecture and argue a toddler into doing what you want—or to use punitive time-out). In fact, "higher order" thinking like understanding consequences and ethics may not develop until children are as old as ten.

    The following Piaget demonstration illustrate intellectual development, and helps parents understand why children can’t understand some concepts (such as “no”) as soon as adults think they can.



    Find two glasses that are the same size. Then find one glass that is taller and thinner, and one glass that is shorter and fatter. Fill the two glasses that are the same size with water until a three-year-old agrees they are the same. Then, right in front of her, pour the water from one of these glasses into the short, fat glass, and the other one into the tall, thin glass. Then ask her if they are still the same. She will say, “No,” and will tell you which glass she thinks contains the most water. A six-year-old will tell you they contain the same amount and can tell you why.

    This demonstration illustrates the thinking abilities identified by Piaget. When we understand that perceiving, interpreting, and comprehending an event are so markedly different for young children, our expectations as adults alter. The meaning children attach to their experiences does not match the meaning adults attach to the same experiences.

    Erik Erikson, child development psychiatrist, identified the ages and stages of emotional-social development. Around the age of one, children enter the "me do it" stage. This is when they develop a sense of autonomy vs. doubt and shame. The ages of two through six herald the development of a sense of initiative vs. guilt. It is a child's developmental job to explore and experiment. Can you imagine how confusing it is to a child to be punished for what he is developmentally programmed to do? He is faced with a real dilemma (at a subconscious level): “Do I obey my parents, or do I follow my biological drive to develop autonomy and initiative by exploring and experimenting in my world?”

    These stages of development do not mean children should be allowed to do anything they want. It does explain why all methods to gain cooperation should be kind and firm at the same time instead of controlling and/or punitive. This is a time of life when your child’s personality is being formed, and you want your child to make decisions about him or herself that say, “I am capable. I can try, make mistakes, and learn. I am loved. I am a good person.” If you are tempted to help your child learn by guilt, shame, or punishment, you will be creating discouraging beliefs (a sense of guilt and shame) that are difficult to reverse in adulthood.

    The three most important discipline tools to use with children under the age of four is supervision, distraction, and redirection. Showing them what to do instead of what not to do (showing them how to touch nicely instead of saying, “Don’t hit.” During the first years of life, your job is to keep your child safe without letting your fears discourage her. For this reason, supervision is an important parenting tool, along with kindness and firmness while redirecting or teaching your child.

    Parents almost always cite the danger of a child running into the street as a justification for spanking a toddler. Reasons include the life and death nature of the situation, the need for immediate compliance, and the effectiveness of a spanking for getting a child’s attention. The thing they forget is that to a toddler, an angry, shouting, spanking parent is probably far more frightening than any street.

    I always ask these parents, “After you have spanked your child to teach her to stay out of the street, will you now allow her to play in front of a busy street unsupervised?”

    The answer is always, “No.”

    They know, spanking or no spanking, that they can’t expect her to have the maturity and judgment to have that responsibility.

    Distraction and redirection works well with toddlers. Fifteen-month-old Daniel was toddling toward his Dad’s computer. Dad called his name and Daniel looked at him, grinned, and toddled so fast in the direction of the computer that he almost fell. Dad picked him up, gave him a big hug, and took him over to his blocks.

    What if Daniel keeps returning to the forbidden computer? How many times must a parent distract or redirect a child’s attention? Well, as many times as it takes. As we’ve mentioned before, it takes patience and perseverance to train a young child. If Daniel’s dad slapped his hand or spanked him, would he still want to play with the computer? Probably so. And even if spankings stop the behavior, what is the cost in self-esteem, doubt and shame? What are the lessons about violence? Kindly but firmly directing Daniel toward acceptable objects, and continuing to do so until he gets the message, guides his behavior without punishing or shaming, and without inviting a battle of wills.

    Toddlers are experiencing individuation, learning to see themselves as separate, independent beings. It’s a natural and healthy process, but one that is frequently trying for parents. At one level it doesn’t take long for a young child to learn the power of the word “no,” or that by using it he can provoke all sorts of interesting reactions. Adults can’t always avoid these confrontations, but changing your own behavior and expectations can lessen their impact.

    Monday, July 21, 2014

    Control or Cooperation


    Are you trying to gain control over children or with children? Trying to gain control over children is hard. It takes constant effort. You have to be very vigilant to police the action of children so you can implement your control tactics—usually punishment and rewards. You have to catch children being “good” so you can reward them and catch them being “bad” so you can mete out the punishment. It never ends—and what happens when you are not around? If you are very good at being in control over children what have they learned? Have they learned self-discipline, respect for self and others, responsibility, problem-solving skills, cooperation?

    Trying to gain control over children is disrespectful and greatly decreases your chances of winning cooperation. Disrespectful methods invite distance and hostility, rebellion, revenge, sneakiness to avoid getting caught, or, worst of all, a child’s developing belief that, “I am a bad person.” On the other hand, respectful methods invite closeness, trust, and cooperation.

    Winning Cooperation

    Rudolf Dreikurs taught the importance of “winning children over”, instead of “winning over children.” One of my favorite terms is “connection before correction.” The best way to make a connection and win children over is to be respectful. One of the best ways to be respectful is to “get into the child’s world” and express understanding of the child’s feelings. Showing empathy is not the same as condoning. A really nice touch is sharing a time when you might have felt the same. These are the steps to create the connection to increase the chances that you can work for correction because children are likely to listen to you AFTER they feel listened to.

    Correction Does Not Involve Punishment

    In can be so difficult for parents and teachers to think they are not doing their job if they don’t engage in a lecture or some kind of consequence (usually a poorly disguised punishment). This will take you right back to the consequences (resistance and/or rebellion) you will experience by trying to gain control over instead of with your children. What do children learn when they are respectfully involved in finding a solution that works for everyone? Thinking skills, problem-solving skills, respect for self-and others, self-discipline, responsibility, listing skills, motivation for following the solution they have helped create. The list could go on and on. And, what better way to achieve control with, and to win cooperation. Once you have achieved a connection you have created an atmosphere where you can focus on a solution together. You have won cooperation.

    Monday, July 14, 2014

    Don’t Back Talk Back






    Mrs. Henderson told her son, Jon, for the third time that evening, “You had better do your homework before it gets too late.

    Jon shot back, “If it is so important to you, why don’t you do it!”

    Mrs. Henderson was shocked. After all, she was only trying to help. She reacted by saying, “Don’t talk to me that way, young man. I’m your mother.”

    Jon reacted right back, “Well, don’t talk to me that way. I’m your son.”

    At this point Mrs. Henderson stepped in and shouted; “Go to your room right now. You are grounded until you can learn to be respectful.”

    Jon shouted back, “Fine,” as he stomped off to his room and slammed the door.

    What creates a scene like this? Was Mom modeling respect as she shouted at her son to be respectful? No. Was Jon being disrespectful to his mother? Yes. Was Mom being disrespectful to Jon? Yes. Let me count the ways.
    1. She nagged.
    2. She took control and gave orders (no matter how pleasantly).
    3. She robbed Jon of learning responsibility by taking over the responsibility of his homework.
    4. She didn’t invite Jon to figure out what he wanted and how to get it.
    5. She is not willing to allow him to experience the consequences of his choices—and to learn from them.
    Why is it that parents think it is their job to see that homework gets done? Oh, I can hear your objections already: “We can’t just let him fail.” Of course parents don’t want their children to fail. All the more reason to teach children self-discipline, self-control, goal setting, and problem-solving skills instead of trying to control them. All the more reason to communicate WITH children instead of TO them, FOR them, or AT them. How to accomplish respectful communication and help children develop a sense of capability and self-discipline is the focus of Positive Discipline.

    For now let's discuss “backtalk” and how to stop “back talking back.” The following suggestions are from the book Positive Discipline A-Z by Jane Nelsen, Lynn Lott, and H. Stephen Glenn.

    Suggestions
    1. In a calm, respectful voice, tell your child, “If I have ever spoken to you that way, I apologize. I don’t want to hurt you or be hurt by you. Can we start over?”
    2. Count to ten or take some other form of positive time-out so you don’t “backtalk” in reaction. Avoid comebacks such as, “You can’t talk to me that way young lady.”
    3. Use the “back talk” as information (it could tell you that something is amiss) and deal with it after you have both calmed down. Look for places you have been turning issues into power struggles with your child.  
    4. Instead of focusing on the disrespect, focus on the feelings. Say something like, “You are obviously very upset right now. I know it upsets me when you talk that way. Let’s both take some time out to calm down. We can talk later when we feel better. I’d like to hear what you are upset about.
    5. Do not use punishment to “get control.” When you have both calmed down you can work on a respectful solution that works for both of you..
    6. Share your feelings, “I feel very hurt when you talk to me that way. Later I want to talk to you about another way you could tell me what you want or how you feel.”  Or you could say, “Whoa, I wonder if I did something to hurt your feelings, because that certainly hurt mine.”
    7. If you are not too upset, try hugging your child. Sometimes children are not ready to accept a hug at this time. Other times a hug changes the atmosphere for both of you to one of love and respect.
    Planning Ahead to Prevent Future Problems
    1. Be willing to take a look at how you might be teaching the very thing you abhor in your child by being disrespectful to her. Have you created an atmosphere of power struggles by being too controlling or too permissive? 
    2. Make sure you do not “set your child up” by making disrespectful demands. Instead of giving orders, create routines together during family meetings.
    3. Instead of saying, “Pick up your shoes,” ask, “What about your shoes?” You will be surprised how much more inviting it is to ask than to tell.
    4. Once you have both calmed down, let her know you love her and would like to work on a respectful solution to what happened. Take responsibility for your part and work on a solution together.
    5. Apologize if you have been disrespectful. “I can see that I was disrespectful when I demanded that you pick up your shoes. How can I ask you to be respectful when I’m not?” Let her know that you can’t “make” her be respectful, but that you will work on being respectful yourself.
    6. Have regular family meetings so family members learn respectful ways of communicating and focusing on solutions.

    Life Skills Children can Learn

    Children can learn that their parents are willing to take responsibility for their part in an interaction. They can learn that back talk isn’t effective, but that they will have another chance to work on respectful communication.

     


    Monday, June 30, 2014

    Act Without Words - A Positive Discipline Tool Card

    Diane promised she would never be like her friend, Sara, who was always yelling (often screaming) at her kids, “Don’t do that! Do this! I’m sick and tired or telling you!” On and on! It was difficult for Diane to be around Sara, and she felt so sorry for the kids.

    One day Diane found herself telling three-year-old Seth, “Don’t do that! Come here right now! Pick up your toys! Get dressed!” And on and on! Fortunately she heard herself and said to her husband, “Oh my; I sound like just like Sara. Gently he said, “I didn’t want to say anything, but yes you do.”

    Diane remembered what she had read in Positive Discipline Birth to Three about acting without words and decided to try it for one whole day. When Diane wanted Seth to stop doing something, she walked over to him, took him by the hand, and removed him. When she wanted him to come to her, she got off the couch and went to him to show him what needed to be done. When he started hitting his little brother, Diane gently separated them without saying a word.

    During a calm time, Diane sat down with Seth and said, “Let’s play a game. When I want you to do something, I’ll keep my lips closed tight and will point to what needs to be done and you can see if you know what I want without me saying a word. Okay?” Seth smiled and agreed.

    When it was time to pick up his toys, Diane went to him, grinned and pointed to the toys while making a sign with her hands for him to pick them up—and then helped him, knowing that it is encouraging and effective to help children with tasks until they are at least six-years-old and can “graduate” to doing tasks by themselves. When it was time for him to get dressed, she took him by the hand, made a zipping her lips sign, and pointed to his clothes. Seth grinned and let Diane help him get dressed without a struggle—doing most of it by himself.

    Later Diane shared with her husband how much more peaceful her day had been, and how much more she enjoyed her interactions with Seth. Diane added, “I know actions without words won’t work all the time, but this day sure helped me realize how important it is to at least get close enough to see the white in his eyes before I talk—and then to use more action and fewer words.”


    ShareThis