Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Teenager Doesn’t Keep His Agreements

"My Teenager Doesn’t Keep His Agreements!" If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that line. . . Does anyone have a teenager who does keep all his or her agreements? Did you?Now that we’ve established that this is a typical complaint of many parents of teens, what is an effective way to handle this challenge?

It is with pleasure that I quote Certified Positive Discipline Trainer, Kelly Pfieffer, who responded to a parent on  the Positive Discipline Social Network who wondered how to get her son to keep his agreement to take out the trash:

Wow, can I relate.  I don't have much time this morning to answer. Similar issue with my 17 yo son. His job is to bring in the trash. He works each Wednesday evening and would "forget" to bring the trash & recycling bin in when he got home. Then he would forget again in the morning though the trash can is clearly visible on his way to his car on the way to school. So the trash can would sit out all day the next day and my husband would be especially upset because it's obvious to the neighbors that our trash can has not been brought in.

After reminding & nagging, I was SOOOOOOOOOOOo frustrated with him for a while. Finally, I wondered how I could connect with my son, follow through and teach my son about responsibility.  The thing I decided was to simply make the job one that my son and I do together.

When he got home from work each Wednesday night, I gave him the opportunity to bring the trash in on his way in the house. Of course, he didn't so I would greet him with a hug and cheerfully say, "We're doing the trash together now. Let's get it done." So one of us would get the trashcan and the other would get the recycling bin. We'd put them away and walk in the house together. I had resolved that I would not piggy back or act negatively and that I would enjoy doing this task with my son.

Each week, I waited to see if he would bring it in on his own and he didn't for about 3 or 4 weeks, so we did the job together and I continued to be positive and enjoy the task. BUT THENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN............................................ aha, he started walking straight from his car to the trash can and taking care of both the trash can and the recycling bin.

It hasn't been perfect, but I have noticed a HUGE improvement and if needed, I will do the task with him again. Also really, his attitude about the job is much better and he remembers most of the time. Now it's unusual for him to forget when it used to be unusual for him to remember the trash.
Read Kelly Pfeiffer’s many excellent articles about Positive Discipline on the following website: Suite101.com, Examiner.com, BlissfullyDomestic.com, PreschoolRock.com. Just search for Kelly Pfeiffer’s name.

I would like to make a few points about why I love Kelly’s answer:

Connection Before Correction
You may be familiar with the Positive Discipline concept of “connection before correction.” Nagging and punishment does not create a connection. Instead, they create distance and hostility. In the long-term, connection is more important than the trash—and is the most likely thing you can do to encourage cooperation for keeping agreements.

Modeling What You Want
We all know that example is the best teacher, yet too often we don't model what we want. What are parents modeling when they yell, nag, and punish? On the other hand, Kelly modeled putting relationships first and using the "trash" as an opportunity for connection? Which example provides the best long-term memories and decisions about how to behave?

Teen Priorities
Trash is not on the list of top priorities for teens (just as it wasn't on yours when you were a teen). What is on their list: friends (do I fit in or not), girl/boy friends (am I good enough to have one), grades/homework (can I get good ones or not; if not should I rebel or act like I don't care; drugs (should I or shouldn't I), sex (should I or shouldn't I), pressure (since I can never seem to please my parents, why try?) electronics (I'm not addicted, I just like it), sports, etc., etc. etc.
Trash (huh?)

Keep in mind that who your teen is today is not who he or she will be forever. The teen years are a time of intense individuation—discovering who they are separate from their parents. Healthy individuation requires a little rebellion. We all know it can be a tough time. What kind of modeling do you think will eventually bring them back to the values you have spent years teaching? What kind of modeling (and memories) do you think will serve your teens for the rest of their lives?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Positive Discipline Workbook

For years I have wanted to create a Positive Discipline Workbook. However, I did not want it to be a boring, fill in the blanks workbook. Then I discovered Diane Durand's illustrations and felt inspired to finish the project in a different way.

Each lesson in this Positive Discipline Workbook is filled with illustrations to capture your interest and tell the Positive Discipline story better than words alone. Experiential activities and parenting tools are included in each lesson. In the first lesson you will learn what to do when your child won't listen. You'll also learn what happens when your buttons are pushed.

The Positive Discipline Workbook book can be used for self-study. Or, you may want to invite friends for a parenting party and learn together.

As our special Holiday Gift to you, we are offering the first lesson of the workbook as a FREE download on the Positive Discipline Website. Click Here!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gratitude and Generosity

by Jody McVittie, MD, Executive Director, Sound Discipline,
 Certified Positive Discipline Lead Trainer and Parent Coach

As the leaves begin to turn vibrant colors and then fall we enter the season of short days and longer nights. It is also, for many of us, a season of holidays and traditions. It can be both exciting and stressful for families. Now, before things start moving really quickly is a time to pause and think about what you might want to remember. Traditions are important for families – partly because in the ritual “doing” we come to a place of finding out who we are and who we are connected to. Consider for a moment, what you will want to remember being instead of what you want to remember doing. One thing that many traditions have in common (and you can start your own) is the sense of gratitude and generosity. Here are some ideas to play with at home to grow your family’s sense of these values.

A family gratitude journal. You can start a new journal or add some pages to your family meeting book. At dinner have everyone take turns being the scribe as each family member shares one thing that he or she is grateful for.

Random acts of kindness. Talk with your family about how you might do random acts of kindness. Do you want to practice on each other? Do you want to do stealth acts of kindness in the neighborhood? What kinds of ideas can you come up with?

Family read alouds. There are all sorts of books and stories on gratitude and kindness. Your local librarian can direct you to many. Another great source for lists of books and stories is the Fetzer Institute.

Interview friends and family. Encourage your family to dig into its own story. You can interview family and friends about a time that someone was generous to them that made a difference in their lives…or about a time that they were generous…or about something that the person is grateful for. Record them if you can. They will be a family treasure. StoryCorps has ideas for documenting family stories as well or find more suggestions at the National Day of Listening site.

Enjoy the connections these activities can bring!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Wicked Witch of the West

Terese Bradshaw, a Certified Positive Discipline Trainer and Montessori teacher, shares a scary Halloween story that will be an inspiration to every parent who is delusional about the possibility of being a perfect parent—even a Perfect Positive Discipline parent.  We all make mistakes, even when we know better. Fortunately, our mistakes provide an opportunity to go back to our Positive Discipline tools to clean up the mess we have made—and to model for our children (over and over). that “mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn.”

          On a blustery, cold Halloween night, a wicked witch fretted in her brand new house.  She had just re-married, blended her little goblins, and moved her in-home preschool to their new location.  She was overwhelmed and cranky (nearly flipped lid), but still wanted to create the "Perfect Halloween" for her children.
          Dinner was done, and her little goblins were putting on their homemade costumes to go out and spook the neighborhood, when the witch (who was usually quite kind) noticed bright blue theatrical make-up on the stairs of her brand new white carpet. (No one knows why this crazy Mother Witch of 4 little ones decided to put expensive white carpet throughout HER whole house.)
          The lovely witch followed the trail of shimmering blue make-up up the stairs, down the hall, and into the master bedroom and bath where her little darlings were making faces in the mirror and squealing with delight at how scary they looked in their costumes and made-up faces—until they saw the contorted look of horror on the mother Witch's face (fully flipped lid).
          Their joy suddenly turned to sheer terror (mirror neurons at work) as their once friendly Mother Witch   turned on them. She started screaming at the top of her lungs  "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?! (Blame!) YOU'VE RUINED OUR BEAUTIFUL HOME!! (Priorities?) AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO CARES ABOUT HAVING A DECENT PLACE TO LIVE!?!  (Not really a Curiosity Question.)  DO YOU WANT TO LIVE IN A PIGSTY ALL YOUR LIVES!?!   (Shame.)  YOU DON'T DESERVE TO GO TRICK-OR-TREATING!! (Punishment) GET OUT OF HERE!!  (Abandonment.)  YOU CAN JUST GO OUT TRICK-OR-TREATING BY YOURSELVES. The wicked witch was out-of-control!
         After she chased them down the stairs, she saw more of the ugly blue stain on her living room and dining room carpets!!  She screeched some more hurtful things at the innocents and pointed her bony finger towards the door. (Not a very respectful way of using NON-VERBAL SIGNALS.) The little children and their friend (humiliation) cried in fear and ran out of the house—to the streets of a brand new neighborhood where they had only lived one week.
A few minutes later the wicked witch realized what she had done and felt great remorse and shock at the way she had treated her little children who just wanted to BELONG.  She jumped on her broomstick (a big Suburban) and raced down the street trying to find them.    Ahhh . . . Great Relief!  There they were—safe on the sidewalk.  Whew, they had not been kidnapped!          
         She raced the car towards them.  The youngest one, with the telltale blue make-up still stuck to the bottom of her shoe, ran in fear and jumped into the nearest bushes.  The witch ran to embrace her child and offer a heartfelt apology. The little one cried in fear.  She thought sure her mother was going to run her down with the car. (The witch forgot how important timing is before apologizing)
         After many tears and hugs, the Not-So-Wicked Witch took responsibility for what she had done.  She shared with them what she had learned from this experience, and what she would do differently next time she was that stressed. (5 Rs of Recovery.) She let them know that they were more important than a few stains on the carpet— and it could be cleaned up, anyway.
         Fortunately, her loving children were amazingly forgiving and eventually recovered from their harrowing ordeal with the Wicked Witch of the West.  However, to this day, none of the girls will wear Halloween make-up.

Terese Bradshaw, Certified Positive Discipline Ttrainer (formerly known as the Wicked Witch of the West—now loving Mother (most of the time)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Routine Chart and Wheel of Choice Success Story

It warms my heart to hear Positive Discipline success stories. I know other parents find them them helpful and encouraging too.  I asked for permission to share Laura Beth's and Jake's story to inspire others.

My son, Jake, 3-years-old, loves to help out with projects like these.  We have done a behavior chart before (it turned into a piece of art on our fridge instead of a teaching tool!).  However, the Routine Chart and Wheel of Choice have been very successful in our home.  Even though he always knew his routine before bed, having a chart has made it fun for him, PLUS he gets to look at himself in the pictures he took!  We walked through his routine together before snapping photos of him doing it all!  He is proud of the chart, shares it with anyone who comes into his room!  He has been using it for about 3 weeks and he doesn’t forget a step!

The Wheel of Choice was fun to put together too.  I asked him what he’d like to do when he’s feeling frustrated or sad or hurt... And he proceeded to tell me he’d rather laugh than cry; he likes to “take a break and drink water”; dance; etc.  He got into the actual searching for pictures that described the words and the outcome is our Wheel Of Choice.  We used it today, in fact, when he and his sister (Marin, 17 months old) were sitting on the sofa sharing a book.  Marin, took the book and Jake immediately flipped his lid.  Yelled at her, grabbed the book, made her cry, she grabbed it back and I slowly walked in.  I asked Jake if he’d like to use his Wheel Of Choice to help – and he actually said YES!  He chose to “share his toys,” he got Marin her own book that was more appropriate for her and she gladly gave him his book back.  They sat there for a while and then traded!!


All my very best,
Laura Beth 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Certified Positive Discipline Trainer Candidate

I am continually awed by the passion and commitment of people who want to become Certified Positive Discipline Trainers.  Asma Saloom recently sent her "Letter of Intent" to join the PDA training program. I was so touched and impressed that I asked for her permission to share parts of her letter. Asma is planning to take Positive Discipline to Egypt.

Becoming a mother three years ago was a turning point that helped me discover what I want to do in my life: work with children and provide them environments that support cooperation, mutual respect, and contemplation.  I had not been around many children before and had very few expectations or assumptions about what conventional parenting or discipline is supposed to look like, so entering this new role with the need to “research” how to do it opened my world to a variety of philosophies about raising children.

My firm belief in the need to respect and honor the child as a capable member of the family and society led me to read about Montessori methods and Positive Discipline, which I first heard about in my natural birthing classes. I found these practices to be really comprehensive and life changing because they result in such a heightened awareness of the importance of the words, actions, and environments that our children encounter. We can support our children as they develop themselves, or we can make them think that nothing matters more than what we and others think of them. We can help them become strong, curious, and self-reliant, or we can crush their spirits so that their highest aspirations are to follow the crowd. It’s such a huge responsibility.

As a mother, I use Positive Discipline with my children because it respects the child while fulfilling the parents’ needs. The successful family needs cooperation from all of its members, and Positive Discipline teaches us how to achieve true cooperation rather than the appearance of cooperation through coercion or bribery. Everyone’s needs are honored and their contributions are valued.

As an elementary teacher-in-training, I plan to use positive discipline in the classroom to help me actualize my ultimate goals for working in education: providing a supportive and respectful environment in which children are not “controlled” but rather learn to become positive and self-driven contributors in the learning community as well as the greater society. The idea of controlling children is so ridiculous and impossible, and even if or when it does work, it leaves them with no internal regulation to help them function when they are alone. So when will they learn that they are capable of being responsible and regulating themselves? Trying to control children does such a disservice to their development into thoughtful adults.
I recently decided that I wanted to take my practice and understanding of positive discipline to the next level by becoming a trainer, so that I will be better equipped to share it with others and ultimately lead workshops for teachers and parents.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Questions from French Publisher

Positive Discipline is spreading around the world. A Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator who lives in Paris is looking for a French Publisher for Positive Discipline. The publisher asked the following questions, which are followed with my answers:

1) Give me a definition of Positive Discipline and its goals.
2) What makes this book so popular in the US?

Positive Discipline provides parents and teachers with non-punitive and non-permissive methods that help children develop self-discipline, responsibility, respect, and problem-solving skills. 

I think the reason it is so popular is that it works.  Brain research is now letting us know why. Children don't learn in an environment of threat that activates the midbrain (fight or flight). Children learn in an environment of connection that activates the rational brain. Two major themes of Positive Discipline are Connection before Correction and Focusing on Solutions.

I'm not sure why Positive Discipline is popular in the US, but it could be because every chapter provides many tools that parents and teachers can use instead of punishment or permissiveness. These tools are designed to meet the 5 Criteria for Positive Discipline:

1.  Helps children feel a sense of connection? (Belonging and Significance)
2.  Is kind and firm at the same time (Respectful and Encouraging)
3.  Is effective long-term, (See the following two criteria)
4.  Teaches valuable social and life skills for good character? (Respect, concern for others, problem-solving, cooperation)
5.  Invites children to discover how capable they are?  (Encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy)

I believe every parent and teacher would prefer to avoid punishment and rewards if they know what else they could do to influence children to develop Nos. 1, 4, and 5 of the above criteria. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My New Teacher

The following essay was posted on the Positive Discipline Network by Sandra Szadolc from Dallas, Texas. I was so touched by it, and how well it represents the feeling of Positive Discipline, that I asked Sandra for permission to publish it on my blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

My New Teacher

We have a new teacher. We don't know what happened to our old one. My mom said she probably got sick because people who are always grumpy often do.
My old teacher used to snap at us and take away 5 minutes of our recess when we didn't follow her rules. I won't miss her. She was scary.

My new teacher is cool. Her name is Paula so we call her Miss Paula. She is very pretty and must be very happy because she smiles all time.
The first time we met her she said she was getting rid of the time out policy and would never snap at us. She says we are going to be good friends and that good friends are always nice to each other. 

Miss Paula has been teaching us a lot of things. Some of us used to get in trouble for talking in the hallway. Mrs. Paula says she can't change the rule that we can't make noise in the hallway but we can still talk to each other. She is teaching us sign language. I already know how to say hello and how are you with my hands. Now we love it when we have to walk somewhere and we are always quiet except for a giggle or two. 

Miss Paula likes everybody even Sam and nobody likes Sam. Sam is a bad boy. He was always getting sentenced to the quiet table during lunch by our old teacher. He never does what he's told but now he is doing better. Miss Paula says every single one of us is perfect and beautiful just the way we are so I guess that includes Sam.
Today she showed Sam how to draw pictures on the blackboard using colored chalk and we used his picture to figure out a math problem. Sam can actually draw pretty good. 

This week at school was really the best ever. I didn't even get in trouble when I thought I would because I spilled milk on my homework and had to turn it in still wet. Miss Paula just smiled and asked, "What's this?" So I told her what happened. Then we figured out a plan that I would leave the milk on the kitchen counter and do my homework on the kitchen table. If I get thirsty from now on I will just take a break to drink something and then get back to my homework.
My old teacher would have just ripped it up and made me do it over during recess time. (I know. It's happened to me before.) Miss Paula put it near the window to dry. She said the sun had been waiting for such an important job as this and would be happy to help us. 

Well, I have to go and get ready for bed now. I have school in the morning and I want to wake up early so I will have time to pick Miss Paula some flowers. See you later.

Sandra Szadolc
Dallas Texas

Monday, August 30, 2010

What is Positive Discipline?

I wrote and self published Positive Discipline in 1981. Can you believe that cover? I did it myself--not enough money to hire a cover designer. :-)  You should see how ridiculous it looks on the inside (which I also did myself, before the advance of word processing). Much to my surprise, the first 2,000 sold within one year, so I printed another 5000--again gone in a year. So, I hired a book designer for the next printing of 10,000. In six years I had sold over 80,000 copies as a self-publisher when Ballantine discovered the book and began publishing Positive Discipline in 1987. It has now sold more than one million copies--and I have written many other Positive Discipline titles with several co-authors.
Designed cover

The books got better, but you can see
that the spine on the first was upside down
and spelled wrong
2006 Revised Edition
I am so excited by the growth of Positive Discipline. There are so many wonderful people all around the world using Positive Discipline in their daily lives. Our Positive Discipline Network is growing every day and I see people encouraging and helping each other apply the principles of Positive Discipline.

Unfortunately with the growth of the Internet, I also see many people misusing the term Positive Discipline.  The original book was based on the philosophy of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs, and does not advocate punishment, praise, rewards, punitive time-out or withdrawal of privileges. These methods of discipline come from the realm of Behaviorism and teaches children an external locus of control. ("I'll behave well for the reward and to avoid the punishment.") The original Positive Discipline teaches children an internal locus of control. ("I'll behave well, even when no one is looking, because I like feeling capable, connected, and making a contribution to society.")

Each week I receive an email from Google which lists all the websites mentioning the term Positive Discipline. Often these websites grossly misrepresent the basic Adlerian philosophy of treating children with dignity and respect. How can they possibly justify any form of punishment as "positive"???  Even when they talk about "logical consequences," what they describe in poorly disguised punishment.

Just this morning I received a Google notice of a blog titled "Tips for Effective and Positive Discipline Strategies". The blog post was filled with references to praise, consequences and punitive time-out. It even had a YouTube video of the SuperNanny teaching a very punitive way of using time-out with a toddler. But contrary to the blog title, the article had very little to do with the original Positive Discipline.

Recently my son sent me a flyer that my granddaughter brought home from school. The flyer announced that they would be using a Positive Discipline approach at her school. Below is an exact quote from the flyer.

"A positive discipline approach is followed including praise, and rewarding class and table points redeemable within the regular classroom in conjunction with their reward system, and, where necessary, support of the school's specialty teacher discipline program: should severe misconduct occur, a reminder to follow the rules will be given; if a second reminder is necessary, the student will complete a "behavior log;" a third similar misbehavior will result in a phone call to the parent/guardian and will result in notification of the student's other teachers; should the behavior continue, more severe consequences, such as missing another specialty class, or referral to the office, will occur; those who cannot follow the procedures will also lose computer time for the period."

Let me be very clear that this is NOT Positive Discipline.

So what is Positive Discipline? We have a very clear description titled "What is Positive Discipline" on the Positive Discipline website. On that page we also list the following "Five Criteria for Positive Discipline":


1. Helps children feel a sense of connection. (Belonging and significance)
2. Is mutually respectful and encouraging. (Kind and firm at the same time.)
3. Is effective long - term. (Considers what the child is thinking, feeling, learning, and deciding about himself and his world – and what to do in the future to survive or to thrive.)
4. Teaches important social and life skills . (Respect, concern for others, problem solving, and cooperation as well as the skills to contribute to the home, school or larger community.)
5. Invites children to discover how capable they are. (Encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy.)

Many people fear that if they stop using punishment, praise, rewards--the only alternative is permissiveness. In the original Positive Discipline, we make it very clear that permissiveness is not healthy for children and does not teach inner locus of control for responsibility, cooperation, and problem-solving skills. Because so many people wonder, "What else is there if you give up punishment and rewards? (Behaviorism), we have developed 52 Positive Discipline Tool Cards that summarize the hundreds of alternative discipline methods discussed thoroughly in the Positive Discipline books.

If you believe in the Positive Discipline methods, please help us educate people who are misusing the term. Feel free to share the "What is Positive Discipline" link. Make comments on blog posts and share your own experiences with Positive Discipline. Help educate the staff at your children's school. Together we can help maintain the mutually respectful concepts of Positive Discipline so that our children will learn the valuable social and life skills necessary to be contributing members of society.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Positive Discipline Conference and Think Tank

I never cease to be amazed at the wonderful people who are attracted to do the PD work. They are such creative, fun, dedicated, and passionate people who really believe it is possible to create peace in the world through peace in homes and schools. Last week 52 people who are either Certified Positive Discipline Trainers, Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educators, or Certified Positive Discipline Trainer Candidates came to San Diego from all over the country--and the world. See if you can find the people who came from Mexico, Colombia, France, and Canada.

If any of you feel drawn to join this work, go to The Positive Discipline Association Website and click on Certification Program. While there, browse the website for lots of good information.  For people who can't travel to one of the LIVE two-day workshops (dates and locations on the above website0, we have a DVD Training in Teaching Parenting the Positive Discipline Way to become a Certified Positive Discipline Educator--the first step to becoming a CPDT. Some people take the two-day training (live or via DVD) and start teaching parenting classes without joining the advanced training program. Others join the advance training program for the many benefits--plus the choice to come to our annual Think Tank.

PS, If anyone knows how I can delete the following ad, please let me know. ;-0

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Spanking: Will the Debate Ever End?

Why do parents spank? In most cases it is because they love their children and really believe spanking is the best way to teach them to improve their behavior. In other words, they believe spanking = good behavior.

The sad part of this equation is that it is not true; and parents who believe in spanking don’t do the necessary research to prove or disprove their hypothesis. Actually, short-term results fool them. Spanking usually does stop the behavior for the moment. However, short-term research never tells the whole story. What about the long-term results?

There is so much research conducted in University settings by trained researchers (buried in academic journals) that has been proving for years that spanking is not effective long-term. In fact, the research proves the oppositethat the long-term results of spanking are increased violence and aggressiveness. So why do parents keep insisting that spanking = improved behavior? It is a mystery to me.

Parents would learn a lot if they would do some basic research just five minutes after they spank their children by asking, “What were you thinking? What were you feeling? What were you deciding?”  Most parents don’t even consider that their children have thoughts and feelings; and that they are constantly making decisions about themselves, about others, and about what they are going to do in the future. These “decisions” are being made even before learning verbal language as “a sense of.”  For example, even a one-year-old has a “sense of” being safe or not safe, and makes “sense of decisions” such as, “All I need to do is cry and Mommy will rescue me.”

Make some guesses about what your children are thinking, feeling, and deciding while being punished. My guess is that their thoughts are somewhere on the continuum of, “I am bad,” or, “You are bad,”and many thoughts in between. Their feelings may range from hurt to angerand many feelings in between. Their decisions (even when they are not consciously aware of them) usually fall into one of three categories, “I just won’t get caught next time,” “I will get even,” or, “I must be a bad person.” I doubt that these thoughts, feelings, and decisions convey the results parents hope to gain by spanking.

One reason parents are reluctant to give up spanking is their fear that the only alternative is permissivenessleading to spoiled brats. They have reason to be concerned. The thoughts, feelings, and decisions pampered children make are not any healthier than those made by punished children.
The question that would be more helpful to parents and healthy for children is, “What else can I do, instead of spanking or permissiveness, that will encourage my children to make healthy decisions leading to valuable social and life skills for good character?” If parents were willing to research this question they would find many alternatives. My favorite is engaging children in focusing on solutions. Punishment focuses on making kids pay for what they have done. Focusing on solutions focuses on changing behavior for the future. This is just one of my 52 favorites in a deck of Positive Discipline Tool Cards.

All of these tools are designed to meet the 5 Criteria of Positive Discipline:

1.     Helps children feel a sense of connection? (Belonging and Significance)
2.     Is kind and firm at the same time (Respectful and Encouraging)
3.     Is effective long-term, (See the following two criteria)
4.     Teaches valuable social and life skills for good character? (Respect, concern for others, problem-solving, cooperation)
5.     Invites children to discover how capable they are?  (Encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy)

Isn’t this what you really want for your children?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Positive Discipline Conference and Letter of Intent from Paul Bradshaw

Positive Discipline Conference
If you live anywhere near San Diego (or if you want to drive, fly, or waddle to get there) I hope to see you at the first annual Positive Discipline Conference on July 15. And tell a friend--everyone must have at least one friend in the San Diego area. You can choose three of 12 topics presented by Certified Positive Discipline Trainers. For details, go to www.positivediscipline.org

Letter of Intent from Paul Bradshaw

We are blessed have many people who want to help others the way they have been helped by Positive Discipline. So, they join our training program to become Certified Positive Discipline Trainers. Their Letters of Intent are so inspiring that I will start sharing some of them with you--starting with the latest from Paul Bradshaw.

I would like to let the Positive Discipline Association know of my request to become a Positive Discipline Trainer Candidate (PDTC). Let me begin with a little background of my interest. I am the father of four grown children ranging in age from 23 – 29 years of age. Yes, we once had 4 teenagers at the same time and survived.  When my wife, Terese Bradshaw, CPDT, and I married 16 years ago, we each had two school-aged daughters. Terese was a Montessori Teacher and also taught parenting classes.  She would share with me her beliefs about parenting and the PD philosophy.  She would read to me from various PD books and relationship books on the long car rides we would take to the mountains or lakes on the weekends.  Our goal was to be consistent in our parenting with our children.  Having both been divorced, we vowed we would do whatever it took to make this second marriage work, both for us as a couple, and for our children.

This method of parenting was very different from the punitive model I had been raised with and had been raising my 5 and 7 year old.  But I agreed to give it a try.  Terese’s daughters seemed to be well-behaved, capable and responsible pre-teens (8 and 11 years old) and the philosophy made sense to me.   

Over the years I had recorded some of Terese’s parenting classes, but had not actually done the experiential activities myself.  Back in March and April of this year I decided to take Terese’s 7-week parenting class and helped her prepare for each class. 

Terese and I attribute our successful marriage of 16 years, while raising four fantastic daughters, to the principles of Positive Discipline.  Terese would model this philosophy in her communication.  We had regular family meetings and worked together as a family to find solutions to problems. We would regularly see a family therapist who also believed in Adlerian theory and helped us improve our communication with each other.  Not always easy in a busy household.

Terese and I thought it would be wonderful to share our experiences with the Positive Discipline philosophy and our marriage with other couples.  We also wanted to have a manual or book available for our own daughters when they went into their adult relationships.  After talking with Jane Nelsen, we agreed to start by re-writing the tool cards so they could be used by couples who are working on their relationship.  We have really enjoyed the process of choosing a tool card and applying it to our marriage.  These cards have been so helpful in resolving conflicts and working on solutions in our marriage.

Terese and I would like to write a work book for couples that could be used to lead 7 or 8 week workshops on relationships.  We will call these cards, book and classes Positive Discipline for Empowering Your Relationship. Our goal would be to develop two-day workshops for Empowering Your Relationship for others who would like to lead these classes.  This project is a great opportunity for Terese and I, not only spend quality time together, but to empower our own relationship at the same time.  It’s a positive way to continue to practice good communication skills and focus on our relationship. We are sure we will learn so much from the participants in our classes.

I just completed a fabulous two-day Teaching Parenting Workshop with Jane Weed-Pomerantz in Watsonville.  Although, I was fairly familiar with most of the philosophy and activities, I enjoyed looking at them from the perspective of how they could apply to couples.  I even came up with a new version of Follow-Through  (kids fighting in the car) that would include all participants.  We rode on a bus, where everyone got to join in on the fight.

On another note, but somewhat related, I have worked as a part-time ski instructor and have found the Positive Discipline principles very helpful in my ski teaching. I am also a Certified Public Accountant, and have found these principles very helpful in my work where I frequently deal with challenging adults.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I love finding these blogs

An Episode in Positive Discipline
by Kelly on June 11, 2010
The other night, my husband and I were talking in the kitchen, and Elia (5) & JJ (3) were in the living room when we heard Elia shriek, scream & start crying.  It is instantly followed by “SOR-RY!” from JJ.  We look over and Elia is getting up from the floor, holding her neck & crying and JJ has hidden himself between the ottoman and the couch, with his face buried on the floor. Elia said that JJ kicked her.

To read the rest of the article go to:

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Very cool!! My son sent this to me and I'm go glad I have a blog so I can share it with others.

A palindrome reads the same backwards as forward. This video reads the exact opposite backwards as forward.  Not only does it read the opposite, the meaning is the exact opposite..

 This is only a 1 minute, 44 second video and it is brilliant.   Make sure you read as well as listen...forward and backward.

 This is a video that was submitted in a contest by a 20-year old.   The contest was titled "u @ 50" by  AARP. This video won second place. When they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause.  So simple and yet so brilliant.

Take a minute and watch it.

Click here >Lost Generation

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Positive Parenting Show on new Oprah Winfrey Network

Terese Bradshaw, a Certified Positive Discipline Trainer has entered the contest for the new Oprah Winfrey Network by producing and excellent 3:44-minute video. It took close to 300 hours (I’m either exaggerating or underestimating) to produce these few minutes. Watch and you’ll see why.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a Positive Parenting show on Oprah!!! Parents need an alternative to the “Behaviorism” (punishment and rewards) parenting shows such as Nanny 911 and Super Nanny.  I cringe every time I see a child forced to sit on the “naughty chair.” Please view and vote (and make a comment) if you would like to see a quality parenting show based on the Positive Discipline philosophy.

Your vote (and the votes of everyone you know) could make this happen. Please view the video and vote nowor as soon as you can. J

PS:  I'm now sending the above to everyone I know. Feel Free to copy (and/or change) and send to everyone you know.  Thanks, :-)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Heligirl Blogs about Positive Discipline Tool Cards iPhone App

It is always such fun for me to discover other people who are being helped by Positive Discipline Tools so I was delighted to find:


Jen gave me permission to share the first paragraph of her blog. You can then go to her link and read the rest.

Positive Discipline in the Palm of Your Hand

In the heat of the moment, when your child is acting out and you’re at the end of your rope, how do you keep to your positive discipline parenting? Just as I’m starting to truly put these methods to work with my 2 1/2-year old, I was really excited to learn Jane Nelsen recently released her Positive Discipline Tool Cards as an iPhone/iTouch/iPad app. Talk about having answers at your fingertips. My phone is never very far, which makes this an ideal tool for dealing with issues in the heat of the moment.

continued at http://www.heligirl.com

While on her blog, learn why Jen is called Heligirl, and read some of her other posts about her adventures with Positive Discipline

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Modeling Control for your Children

Control Your Own Behavior

It would be nice if parents would keep in mind that you can't expect your children to control their behavior when you don't control your own. Try teaching yourself some self-control tools just as you would your kids.

1) Watch the video on "Flip your lid," to understand the brain. Then catch yourself when you are about to flip your lid and do something else.

2) Create your own positive time out--and use it.

3) Share your feelings and take full responsibility for them, "I'm upset right now and need to wait until I can calm down to talk about this." Do not say, "You are making me so upset."

4) Keep a deck of Positive Discipline Tool cards handy. When you get upset, choose one at random to get you out of your mid-brain and into your rational brain. You'll probably pick the perfect one. Make it even more fun, by asking your child to choose a card and random, and decide together which works best to solve the challenge.

5) Don't forget some of the wisdom from the ages: Breathe, count to ten, think happy thoughts, and count your blessings.

Remember that mistakes are opportunities to learn. When you make a mistake, learn from it and start again. And most of all, remember to enjoy your children.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I was just informed of this fun new title:

We are delighted to inform you that we have chosen you as a MOMspiration,
you are now featured on our homepage:


We know that you will be an inspiration to all our other mom/women
visitors to be the best they can be in what they do in life.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

iPhone App of Positive Discipline Tool Cards

pampering (rescuing or fixing)
punitive time-out (grounding)
taking away privileges as punishment

What else is there?????

52 Positive Discipline Tool Cards that help children learn self-discipline, responsibility, cooperation, mutual respect, and problem-solving skills.

 Full Version
Lite Version

There is a shake feature to randomly find the perfect tool for the challenging behavior you are experiencing right now. Take turns shaking with your child until you find the perfect one. (Great way to create a connection before correction.)

I hope you will find these tool cards so helpful and so much fun that you will go to iTunes and give them the highest rating. :-)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another excerpt from Serenity

What do you mean, you don’t accept negative programming?

Cartoon by Chuck Vadun, used by permission.

Excerpt from Serenity, Conari Press, by Jane Nelsen (available at www.positivediscipline.com)

The Brain as a Computer
The brain is like a computer (not really, but you’ll get the point) that requires software to be useful and a person who understands how to operate it. Using your programmed thought system is the same as using old, outdated software full of bugs. And it can be as frustrating as trying to operate a computer without understanding the basic principles or reading the instructions. Both produce unsatisfactory results, to say the least. You are now reading an instruction manual to gain an understanding of the principles that can help you eliminate or bypass old, outdated software in your thought system. 

Many people do not realize that their thoughts and beliefs from the past are not them, just as software is not the computer. I have seen several versions of a cartoon showing a person smashing a computer because it wouldn’t work properly. When we take our illusionary thoughts and beliefs seriously, we are using as much sense as the cartoon character. We forget that it is not our hearts and souls that are full of bugs. It is our thought system that is full of bugs and we smash ourselves instead of fixing our software. The wonderful part of this analogy is that simple awareness (understanding) is all it takes to fix our software—to eliminate the bugs that keep us from experiencing our inherent joy.
If you are like many who first hear this principal, your mind may be going crazy right now be-cause you are trying to figure it out from your thought system instead of your heart. As Einstein said:

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

Computer buffs know what happens when they try to feed new information into a software program not designed to understand it: the computer beeps and flashes error messages, or even worse, “fatal error.” A software program simply cannot accept what it is not designed to accept.
Your brain often does the same thing with new information that could be very useful to you. When you try to filter this information through your thought system, it beeps and says, “Wrong!” Fortunately, you have something a computer does not have—a heart full of inner wisdom to let you know what new information is useful to improve your life and relationships and what information is not useful. However, you don’t have access to your inner wisdom until you dismiss your thought system—which happens automatically when you truly understand the principle of thinking as a function. Dismissing your thought system does not leave a void; it clears your channel to your inner wisdom so your thinking ability can be used to express your natural good feelings and messages from your heart.

It is such fun to hear from someone who has been touched by one of my books. Today I received the following email:

I came by your book "Understanding" in 2002/3. [now titled Serenity]

I still go "off course" and have to re-read the book sometimes and try to get quiet again, however, I would like to congratulate you on writing what I believe to be one of, if not the best book to date I have ever had the pleasure to read.

Ray, UK

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Power of a Hug: Some Success Stories

  It is such fun when "real parents" share their success stories with Positive Discipline Tools. One of my favorites is 

Just last night in another parenting class the Parents Helping Parents Problem-Solving Steps, the role-play was about a three and a half year old having a tantrum.  The second role-play demonstrated the power of the hug without words.  The child was unable to continue the tantrum.  When processing with the person who role-played the child, she said she believed her mom cared about her and she felt safe.  The tantrum was diffused.
                        Jan Morris, CPDA

Just yesterday I had an almost 3-year-old having a tantrum in the school parking lot because I had cleaned his face. I was fending off his blows when I thought to pick him up and I held him close. He snuggled into my shoulder and melted in my arms.....isn't Positive Discipline wonderful???
                      Susan Lehman, CPDA

Holy Cow: It Worked. This morning, the scene in my house was practically identical to the scenario we role-played last night [during parenting class].  My daughter (4.5) woke up early and we had a very nice time together, getting dressed together. Then I woke up little brother (2) and the whole scene changed: They both wanted their breakfast in the "green bowl".  We drew straws for it, and John ended up with it and Sara burst into tears.  I gave Sara extra brown sugar to soften the blow (perhaps not positive discipline ;-)) that stopped the crying, but she proceeded to yell, "You are an idiot, John, I hate you John, John is a buttass."  John is then crying, "Mama, Sara call me Buddyass." I decided to try the option that we tried last night of "speaking less and using body language" (which I was frankly skeptical of, but having acted last night, it came to mind).  I removed Sara's dish from the table.  She immediately began to scream, "Give it back, I want my food," and, "I am going to spill your coffee."  I honestly can't remember if I said anything, but I went and hugged her a nice long hug and a kiss. She said, "I want my food," but with a smile this time. I gave her back her breakfast, and we all had a peaceful and pleasant breakfast together. Wow!
      Christine, Positive Discipline Class Participant