1.15.2009

An Evening of Positive Discipline

We just got home from a couple of hours of Positive Discipline taught by Jane Nelsen. I went in tired and cranky but ended up enjoying myself and learning quite alot about how to make positive changes in how I approach interactions with my children to help them build up self-esteem, a sense of their capabilities and to foster happier, healthier and more complete little human beings.

If I had to sum up the evening in just a single short sentence it would be: Don't Tell, Ask. Meaning that we, as parents, spend far, far, far too much time telling our kids what to do, what they've done wrong, what's going to happen to them and why they need to eat, sleep, sit-up, don't touch, don't hit, don't this, don't that.

Positive interaction with a child can be easily achieved by empowering them, by asking them questions and making them think for themselves. Little Johnny got sent to the principal's office? Ask him what he could do to not have it happen again.

The guiding principle isn't lack of discipline, its a lack of punishment and rewards. The reasoning is that, while punishments and rewards do work in the short term they teach a child to avoid punishment and seek greater and greater rewards. It is short term win but long term fail.

There was some role playing to demonstrate how and why some methods of interaction push the child away and how to convert those interactions into opportunities to build up self-esteem.

I am still processing an awful lot of the information and we bought a book to read about it. But the overall gist of the program resonated quite well with me and the rest of the sold out crowd.

As a parent, we are faced with heading down a road without a roadmap, without signs and without AAA. Positive Discipline offers some quality guidance in helping to raise strong, smart and empowered people. And the world really needs more empowered people.

I will be writing more about the seminar and about the implementation of the practices as we move forward. The first up will be the creation of a Bedtime Routine board that will give us a visual roadmap of the steps we (the boys) need to do to get ready for bed.

I would highly recommend any parent having trouble or just wanting some extra help to look into Positive Discipline (yes, Lujza, this means you!).
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