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.