Monday, October 22, 2012
One of the biggest mistakes some parents and teachers make, when they decide to do Positive Discipline, is becoming too permissive because they don’t want to be punitive. Some mistakenly believe they are being kind when they rescue their children, and protect them from all disappointment. This is not being kind; it is being permissive. Being kind means to be respectful of the child and of yourself. It is not respectful to pamper children. It is not respectful to rescue them from every disappointment so they don’t have the opportunity to develop their disappointment muscles. It is respectful to validate their feelings, "I can see that you are disappointed (or angry, or upset, etc.)." Then it is respectful to have faith in children that they can survive disappointment and develop a sense of capability in the process.
Have faith in children to handle their own problems. (Offer support through validating feelings or giving a hug, but not by rescuing or fixing.)
TAKE TIME FOR TRAINING
It is also important to take time for training. Adults often expect children to accomplish tasks for which there has not been adequate training. This is more typical in homes than in schools. Parents may expect children to clean their rooms, but never teach them how. Children go into their messy rooms and feel overwhelmed. It may be helpful to clean the room with your children until they have more training. This is also a great way to create connection.
Be sure and use "Curiosity Questions." (We will be covering curiosity questions in a later blog post.) Instead of telling children what to do, ask curiosity questions. "Where do your dirty clothes go?" "What do we need to do before we can vacuum the floor?" Children are great problem solvers when we give them a chance.
Patience is probably the most difficult part of showing faith in our children. It is almost always more expedient to solve problems for our children. This is particularly true when we are under time pressures. In these cases we can take time later to explore solutions for the future. Ask your children exploratory questions. "What happened?" "What caused it to happen?" "What did you learn?" "What can you do in the future?"
When time pressures are not an issue, practice having patience with your children. Allow them to problem solve on their own. Allow them to feel a little disappointment. Allow them to work through their feelings. They will need these skills in the future.
It may help to remember that who your children are today, is not who they will be forever. Someday they will be nagging their own children to put their dishes in the sink and to clean their rooms. Remember that example is the best teacher. Model what you want for your children, take time for training so they learn skills, have regular family meetings, and then have lots of faith in them to become the best they can be.