Following is an article and activity related to the topic we will discuss:
When does Positive Discipline stop being Positive Discipline?
Kindness and Firmness--When Less is More
By Jane Nelsen
Many people are drawn to Positive Discipline because they want to treat their children respectfully and they are against punishment. Others want to learn how to use punishment in positive way and are shocked when they learn that Positive Discipline does not advocate any form of punishment. They assume, therefore, the Positive Discipline advocates permissiveness—far from the truth.
A person who is against punishment often marries a person who thinks eliminating punishment leads to permissiveness—whoops! Many of you have heard me share about Mr./Mrs. Strict and Mr./Mrs. Lenient:
Opposites Attract: When One Parent Is Kind And The Other Is Firm
It is interesting to note that two people with these opposing philosophies often get married. One has a tendency to be just a little too lenient. The other has a tendency to be just a little too strict. Then the lenient parent thinks he or she needs to be just a little more lenient to make up for the mean-old-strict parent. The strict parent thinks he or she needs to be just a little more strict to make up for the wishy-washy lenient parent—so they get further and further apart and fight about who is right and who is wrong. In truth they are both being ineffective.
Enter kindness and firmness at the same time.
Being kind and firm at the same time is a foundation concept of Positive Discipline. PD stops being PD when you are too kind without being firm and/or when you are too firm without being kind.
Positive Discipline stops being Positive Discipline when you are too kind or too firm. The attached activity is designed to increase your awareness of your style, to get into the child’s world to understand what your style may invite, and to practice kindness and firmness and the same time.
Kind and Firm at the Same Time Activity
(Adapted from an activity by Terry Chadsey,
based on the work of Barry Johnson on Polarities)
To help parents understand the value of being kind and firm at the same time.
Questionnaire at the end of the directions
Comment: Beware of “either/or” thinking. Life is not always about either/or. Think about having to choose between breathing in and breathing out. Wouldn’t it be better to think in terms of both/and?
- Fill out the questionnaire below. During the chat we will discuss the following points:
- What insights did you gain by filling out the questionnaire?
- Do you lean toward being too kind, too firm, or vacillate between the two extremes?
- If you have a tendency to be too kind without being firm, what can you learn from people who have a tendency to be firm? If you have a tendency to be too firm without being kind, what can you learn from people you have a tendency to be kind?
Comment: Being just kind or just firm can be as dangerous psychologically as just breathing in or just breathing out can be physiologically. Positive Discipline tools are based on being both kind AND firm.
(Please answer all questions to increase awareness of yourself land others.)
1. What kind of environment do parents hope to create for children by being kind?
2. What characteristics do parents hope their children will learn from an environment of kindness?
3. What do kind parents think are the negatives of being firm—what kind of environment are they afraid children will experience from too firmness (which they may think of as punishment)?
4. What kind of environment do parents hope to create for children by being firm?
5. What characteristics do parents hope their children learn from and environment of firmness?
6. What do firm parents think are the negatives of being kind—what kind of environment are they afraid children will experience from too kindness (which they may think of as permissive)?