Sunday, January 31, 2010

Put Them in the Same Boat: A Positive Discipline Tool Card


Put Them in the Same Boat

My son Brad Ainge is choosing a tool card a week from the deck of Positive Discipline Tool Cards and sharing his efforts to follow the advice on each card in his blog: http://www.singledadbrad.com/  I’ve been raving about his blog and telling everyone to read it because he is such a good writerfunny and heartwarmingly real.
I’ve decide to do a blog on his blog, either sharing articles I have written on the tool card he chooses, or responding directly to his musings, or both.  I have picked a touchy one to start withone on which, as Brad shares, we disagree. He’ll soon discover that we really don’t.                                                                         You might want to read Brad’s blog first on “Put Them in the Same Boat” to make sense of mine.
After reading Brad’s blog, I realize we don’t really disagree.  Staying out of fights is not the same as “not being around” when the fights take place. Actually, parents should not stay out of fights until they have taught their children problem-solving skills through family meetings and other one-on-one problem solving sessions.

Focus on Solutions

            My favorite way to “put kids in the same boat” is to guide them to focus on solutions.
"What ideas do you kids have to solve this problem?"
                    "Which one of you would like to put this on our family meeting agenda."
                    "I have faith in you two to work this out."  (Of course, you have been teaching them lots of problem-solving skills.)
                    "Pig pile!" as you jump on both of them and wrestle them to the ground."
                    "Would it help you both to go to your 'positive time-out' spaces until you can access your rational brains to work on a solution." (Of course, you have taught them about the brain, and how they go into their 'fight/flight response' when they are upset, and taking time to calm down allows them to access their rational brains again--and that is why it is so helpful to have a positive time-out area that helps them feel better.)
                    None of these suggestions involve neglect or punishment, and it isn’t really staying out of children’s fights. It is getting involved in a way that let’s them know you love them both, and you guide them toward finding solutions.

Belonging and Significance

            Most fighting involves issues of "belonging and significance.” From a kid’s point of view, it is difficult to understand that parents have more than enough love to go around. They think they have to compete for the love. So, they do what politicians doput the other party down so they can look better. Adler or Dreikurs called it "deflating to inflate"--try to make yourself look good by making someone else look bad. Or, one child might “provoke” another child. The parent doesn’t see this. All he sees is the provoker clobbering the provokee. So the parent gets on the case of the provoker, not realizing that he has just reinforced the idea the provoker has that the way to be special is to get the provokee in trouble.
      The way parents interfere in fights, often increases the competition. When they take one child's side, they reinforce the idea that parents can love only one child at a timeso the competition increases. This is why we suggest that you "put children in the same boat" and treat them the same. By the same, we mean don't take sides. You don't really know who started it anyway. You don't see the subtle things one child might do to provoke another child into "reacting." So, put them in the same boat to "focus on solutions."
            If they up the antetrying to get the same response they are used toit may be best to walk away saying, “I have faith in you to solve this problem,” or “both of you go to your corners until you feel better so you can do better.” If you are afraid there will be violence when they are left together, put them in the same boat by saying, “Kids, you’ll need to separate until you are ready to find a solution. Eventually they might learn that cooperation is a better way to find belonging and significance than competition.































Instead of Saying No, Try:

I was very pleased to discover Dr. Annie Castle’s blog on Positive Discipline. She has kindly given me permission to post an excerpt from her blog on by blog. Thank you Annie for this excellent list of suggestions. J

by Annie Castle Deckert, M.Ed.Psych
Silicon Valley, California


This thing called “positive discipline” really does work. Most parents realize that a positive, respectful approach has great long-term benefits for their child because it builds self-discipline and self esteem.

But putting positive discipline into practice in-the-moment isn’t easy. Many, many parents tell me they just forget what to say and do when they are tired, frustrated, or busy.  For most of us, it takes deliberate practice.  Having a sort of “script” to think about at first can help.

Certainly, you don’t want to use anyone else’s words all the time, because that won’t be YOU, and the most important thing you can give your children is yourself. But following positive examples is a good way to start.  Perhaps the following examples will give you some ideas and starting points:

  
INSTEAD OF SAYING NO, TRY:

USING POSITIVE LANGUAGE
“You can throw the ball outside.”

BEING A ROLE MODEL
“Here.  I’ll share this toy with you.”

SETTING FIRM BOUNDARIES WHEN NEEDED
“I will not let you hurt other people.”

TEACHING SKILLS
“Try asking your brother for a turn.”

PROVIDING OTHER WAYS OF COPING
“Want to read a book with me while you’re waiting for a turn?”

RESPECTING FEELINGS
“I can tell that you are very upset right now.”

GIVING INFORMATION
“Pets are animals that need a gentle touch.”

STAYING CLOSE WHEN NEEDED
“I will be right here to help you play with your friends.”

GIVING APPROPRIATE CHOICES
“Would you like to brush your teeth before your bath, or after?”

OBSERVING, AND HELPING BEFORE A PROBLEM STARTS
“I’ll help put some toys away so there’s more room to play.”

HELPING CHILDREN LEARN EMPATHY
“I can see that both of you love doing puzzles!”

POINTING OUT THE EMOTIONAL CUES OF OTHERS
“When you look at his face, can you tell what he’s feeling?”

PROVIDING MANY WAYS OF EXPRESSION
“Would you like to draw a picture or build a sand sculpture about how sad you feel?”

PROVIDING VOCABULARY
“It looks like you might be feeling frustrated.”

UNDERSTANDING THAT CHILDREN NEED TO MOVE
“Let’s run to the playground!”

INVOLVING CHILDREN IN IMPORTANT JOBS
“I need some help with these heavy water bottles!”

PROVIDING COMFORT
“You can sit here with me for awhile if you want.”

UNDERSTANDING A CHILD’S DEVELOPMENT
“Mom and I are still eating but you’re finished. Would you like to be excused to play with your toys now?”

BEING POLITE
“Thank you for sharing your snack with me.”

OFFERING SIMPLE SENSORY AND ART EXPERIENCES EVERY DAY
“It looks like working with the clay helped you feel better.”

BEING PATIENT- LEARNING TAKES TIME
“I can tell that you are working hard to wait politely for a turn.”

ASKING OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS
“How could we make that work?”

LETTING CHILDREN SOLVE PROBLEMS
“What do you think we can do about this?”

HAVING AGE-APPROPRIATE EXPECTATIONS
“We’ll go shopping another day when you’re not tired.”













Friday, January 22, 2010

Positive Discipline lecture in Atlanta

It is so gratifying to hear a success story after a lecture. Following is an email I received the day after presenting in Atlanta. Terry gave me permission to share her comments here.


Jane,
I wanted to let you know that I attended your seminar Wednesday night in Atlanta. I have a 2 1/2 and a 5 1/2 year old. Thursday morning when I woke up and got the kids up, I used some of the tools that you taught. I kept the TV off (which I thought would become an issue right away) and when things started to escalate at the breakfast table and also when we were trying to get out of the house on time, I diffused the situation with many of your suggestions rather than adding fuel to the fire with yelling (like I tend to do). My kids and I took on this new transformation and NOTHING blew out of control. It was such a pleasant morning. I felt calm and I'm sure my kids did too. Thank you for the wonderful 2 hours. I am excited for our family to continue using these tools!
Terry Brooks










Friday, January 15, 2010

Article in Esquire Magazine on Positive Discipline and Obama


Esquire Magazine has a great article on parenting technique -Positive Discipline and How Obama runs the country, written by Tom Junod http://tinyurl.com/y9dsvhj  

I wrote the follow response to Tom:

Tom, I absolutely loved reading your article. Had to laugh out loud at times.  Your comparisons to Obama and Positive Discipline are brilliant. Now I know why I like Obama so much. Of course I'm very curious to know the name of your Positive Discipline instructor.

One other thing concerns me. Years ago I should have trademarked Positive Discipline. When I tried, a company in Texas (Walk the Talk) that does trainings for corporations had already trademarked the name. They gave me permission to use it for parenting--a good thing since I had already published several Positive Discipline books by then. The problem is that they did not enforce their trademark and now there are a gazillion parenting programs that use the Positive Discipline name--and many are based on Behaviorism (punishment and reward). You have provided a lot of publicity for Positive Discipline. I just hope people find the right one. :-)

In any case, it is a pleasure to be associated with such an "enlightened" article. I would love to meet you some day.

Most sincerely, Jane














Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Courage to Be Imperfect

In Positive Discipline, I quote Rudolf Dreikurs often as he cauthioned us to "Have the courage to be imperfect."

I found this video to be humorous, moving, and inspiring.







If anyone can tell me how to get rid of the ad that follows, please let me know. We have tried and tried.

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