Thursday, March 14, 2013

Connection Before Correction - A Positive Discipline Success Story

We had just finished Vicki Dolan's Positive Discipline class at Children's Playroom in the morning.  Most of it was review, but I picked up a few bits of information and one of the things I wrote down was "connection before correction." I haven't tried to implement that particular tool very often, but I had the perfect opportunity that night.

My kids were arguing over who was going to feed the hamster. My 9 year old asked my 4 year old to do it.  He got frustrated and yelled, "I always have to feed him," and THREW the bowl of food all over the kitchen floor.  My first thought was to yell at him to pick it up immediately and get nasty with him.  But I thought I'd give this new technique I learned a try.  So I very calmly held him in my arms and said, "You sound like you're angry because you are tired of feeding Niblet all the time."  He grumpily replied "YES!" with a long winded explanation of how he always has to feed the hamster and he doesn't want to do it.  I told him I could understand how it's frustrating to feel like you are always doing the work.  He nodded.  I then pointed out that there was hamster food all over the floor and it probably wasn't going to pick itself up.  I asked him how we could get it off the floor?  He suggested the vacuum; and I asked him if he wanted me to get it for him so he could use it for the food.  He said yes and proceeded to vacuum up all of the hamster food.  Amazing!

I often say that Positive Discipline takes more time and effort and it's easier to be a mean and nasty parent!  However, when I look back on this situation, I actually think I saved time and frustration by not yelling at him.  If I yelled, he would have fought back and we would have been in a HUGE power struggle that could have lasted all night!  Instead, I spent a few minutes making that connection and then he knew what the correction needed to be.  It was a great tool to use!  Positive Discipline works so well!  It never ceases to amaze me!  Thank you for the tools to be a good parent!

Shannon A.


Unknown said...

This is the one thing I struggle with most. Taking a deep breath and handling a situation calmly. Well done you! Every morning I tell myself I'm not going to shout today, bit it seems to be the hardest of my habits to break. :-(

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post! It is a great reminder that gentle parenting and connection before correction is such a helpful approach for us parents! Keep up the great work!!

Anonymous said...

I am not judging but I sincerely wonder whether it is best to completely ignore the unacceptability of throwing a bowl when we're angry instead of using words. I would love a positive way to handle this situation that ALSO included a firm (i.e., the child understands that the parent really means it) correction/communication about the acceptable and unacceptable ways to handle anger.

Anonymous said...

Great job, mama! Your empathy and connection with him will definitely make a lasting impression in his growing heart! I think addressing the throwing/angry behavior can come with the correction. Together you can think up some ways to deal with his frustration if - or, let's be honest, WHEN - your 9yo tries to pass the chore along again. Those alternatives you brainstorm together have a much better shot of being implemented the next time this happens since you had the connection with him first!

Anonymous said...

This is one I struggle with as well. I always seem to be shouting at the kids. But I am going to try this one. Thank you for sharing.