Positive Discipline is a program based on the work of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs and designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful and resourceful members of their communities.
During a class meeting, students in a fifth grade class were asked to brainstorm logical consequences for two students who didn't hear the recess bell and were late for class. Following is their list of "consequences:"
A foundation of Positive Discipline is to be kind and firm at the same time. Some parents are kind, but not firm. Others are firm, but not kind. Many parents vacillate between the two—being too kind until they can’t stand their kids (who develop an entitlement attitude) and then being too firm until they can’t stand themselves (feeling like tyrants).
It is difficult for me to choose a favorite Positive Discipline parenting tool, but family meetings are at the top. Children learn so much during family meetings, such as listening, respecting differences, verbalizing appreciation, problem-solving, focusing on solutions, and experiencing that mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn. I have a much longer list, but you get the idea. Family meetings also create a family tradition and will create many memories.
The one Positive Discipline Tool I wish I had used more consistently is this: Connection before Correction. Of course, I didn't know what this meant as a young mother, and didn't create it as a Positive Discipline tool until about five years ago. Now we know it is just brain science: children learn (grow, feel safe, thrive) best when they feel connection—or as Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs taught us, "a sense of belonging and significance".
Imagine your child is now 25-years-old and has knocked on your door for a surprise visit. What kind of person do you hope to see in front of you? What characteristics and life skills do you hope he or she has?
Hi, I have a daughter who just turned 5 and a 20 month old son. My daughter is constantly giving us trouble, at home and at day care. I'll start with "she actually bit someone a few weeks ago at school. I couldn't believe it at her age. Then when I asked her who she bit, she said she didn't bite anyone. So, she is already lying to us, too.
Active (or reflective) listening is an effective tool of communication. One that will serve you well as you parent your child and (sooner than you may think) the adolescent that child will become. Active listening is the art of observing and listening to feelings, then reflecting them back. Active listening does not require that you agree with your child’s feelings, but it allows your child to feel connected and understood—something all people need—and provides an opportunity to explore and clarify those mysterious impulses known as emotions.
Rudolf Dreikurs taught the importance of being both Kind and Firm in our relations with children. Kindness is important in order to show respect for the child. Firmness is important in order to show respect for ourselves and for the needs of the situation. Authoritarian methods usually lack kindness. Permissive methods lack firmness. Kindness and firmness are essential for Positive Discipline.
Power struggles create distance and hostility instead of closeness and trust. Distance and hostility create resentment, resistance, rebellion (or compliance with lowered self-esteem). Closeness and trust create a safe learning environment. You have a positive influence only in an atmosphere of closeness and trust where there is no fear of blame, shame or pain.