Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Punishment or Not: The Debate Goes On and On and On

I have a Google alert that lets me know any time my name or Positive Discipline is mentioned on the Internet. This morning I read a blog by James Rivera on Spanking, grounding, and yelling: Does old-fashioned discipline work?
            One thing that surprised me is the number of his readers who still believe in spanking.
At the end there was a quote by me, that I wasn’t very fond of, on how to deal with a misbehaving child.
Some children will push and push until they get a spanking and then settle down. They’ve been conditioned not to settle down or cooperate until they’re spanked. Instead, try holding a disobedient child firmly on your lap. No matter how much she struggles, don’t let go until she calms down or agrees to cooperate.
— Jane Nelsen, the Positive Discipline series

 I made the following comment that I would like to share with you.
I can see that in some cases in might work, but in other cases it would just increase the power struggle. There are many other strategies I like better.
1) Simply validate a child’s feelings and then shut up and then provide “energetic support” while allowing the child to have his or her feelings until they dissipate. The long-term benefit is that children develop a sense of their own capability when they experience that they can work through their feelings.
2) Do the unexpected. Tell your child, “I need a hug.” Some will give you one right away. Others will continue their misbehavior. You can then say, “I would really like a hug. Come find me when you are ready.” Then walk away. Some children will follow you right away. Others won’t, but they have an inner smile. They have learned that their misbehavior doesn’t “work,” and they feel encouraged and are less likely to continue the misbehavior.
3) Say, “We are having a power struggle. Would you like to put this problem on the family meeting agenda, or should I?”
         There are many other possibilities, but all are designed to be respectful to both the 
child and the parent and to teach valuable social and life skills. And, they all create a “connection before correction.”

1 comment:

Esther said...

Your search engine should have actually picked up the original article here:

What was in the blog was just the first page of seven. And you're also quoted on 4 of the 6 remaining pages...