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- Helps children feel a sense of connection (belonging and significance).
- Is mutually respectful and encouraging. (Kind and firm at the same time.)
- Is effective long-term. (Considers what the child is thinking, feeling, learning and deciding about himself and his world – and what to do in the future to survive or to thrive.)
- Teaches important social and life skills. (Respect, concern for others, problem solving and cooperation as well as skills to contribute to the home, school or larger community.)
- Invites children to discover how capable they are. (Encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy.)
Positive Discipline is a program designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful and resourceful members of their communities. Based on the best selling Positive Discipline books by Dr. Jane Nelsen, Lynn Lott, Cheryl Erwin, Kate Ortolano, Mary Hughes, Mike Brock, Lisa Larson and others, it teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults (including parents, teacher, childcare providers, youth workers and others).
The Positive Discipline Parenting model is aimed at developing mutually respectful relationships. Positive Discipline teaches adults to employ kindness and firmness at the same time, and is neither punitive nor permissive.
The tools and concepts of Positive Discipline include:
- Mutual respect.
Adults model firmness by respecting themselves and the needs of the situation, and kindness by respecting the needs of the child.
- Identifying the belief behind the behavior.
Effective discipline recognizes the reasons kids do what they do and works to change those beliefs, rather than merely attempting to change the behavior.
- Effective communication and problem solving skills.
- Discipline that teaches (and is neither permissive nor punitive).
- Focusing on solutions instead of punishment.
- Encouragement (instead of praise).
Encouragement notices efforts and improvement, not just success, and builds on long-term self-esteem and empowerment.
Occasionally participants in my classes give me gifts–tokens of appreciation for the learning experience they’ve enjoyed. My feeling is these gifts should be shared with everyone, because the experience would not have been what it was without the input and open hearts of everyone in the group.
And sometimes, an unintended gift is given, and that needs to be shared, too. And so it was recently when a mom made the quiet comment that she had stopped doing all email and computer work in the evenings and on weekends. “It works for my family” was her humble statement. She went on to explain that she took up knitting and now hangs out with her kids, quietly present in the room with them, practicing “closet listening”. She described a tender connection that hadn’t been there before, in the days when that time was spent responding to email and continuing her day job at home. I was intrigued. I don’t have a day job, but I still spend a lot of time at the computer, and many is the time I only half-listened to Ben as he tried to tell me something that was really exciting/important to him.
I was intrigued, but could I DO it? Could I stay off the computer from 3:30 until 8:30 p.m. every day, and all day Sunday (Ben is at his dad’s on Saturday)? Ben didn’t think so, and I took that as a challenge. He’s a smart kid.
And the biggest surprise is that it it hasn’t been hard to do. I’m fairly sure Ben doesn’t get nearly as much from it as I do. I love the “hang time” with Ben. The deeper connection leads to hearing more of his thought processes, and insight to his emotions. And for me personally, it’s been so liberating. It gives me space to slow down, read a magazine, or do a crossword. I’m listening to music more, recharging my battery, nourishing my soul.
And you just can’t put a price on that. Thank you, Maria, for a gift that will be with me forever, and that will be shared over and over again. Blessed are the many families whose lives may be changed by your precious gift.
I’ve come to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for my mom’s strength and resilience in the months since my dad’s passing. I’ve always known that Anne is an incredibly strong woman, but it is showing up in even richer ways now. She is the first to acknowledge that she relied heavily on my dad; being in a wheelchair definitely forces a dependence of some degree, and though it went against the grain, she grew to rely on my dad more and more for help with everyday life. With his help gone, she’s had to master another type of strength–asking for help from others. Fortunately, she has a big network of friends to ask, and all are more than willing to help. It’s been a matter of accepting that help with grace, which she does very well. On New Year’s Day, she prepared a gourmet meal for neighbors who have looked in on her since July, thanking them for their care and love.
But one of my favorite stories is how she invited a friend’s 10-year-old to spend the day with her during the holiday break. The context for this story is that it was Anne’s first Christmas spent alone in her entire life, and it hit her hard. She had gone to visit my dad’s gravesite on Christmas Eve and came away feeling raw and broken. She didn’t stay down for long, though. Her incredible resilience pulled her through. Anne has always been a baker, and has shared her love of that craft with all her grandchildren (all boys, no matter!) Her friend’s daughter had never baked before so my mom was driven to rectify that situation. And they didn’t start with something simple like chocolate chip cookies–oh, no. It was an Italian Creme Cake made from scratch, with lots of butter and eggs, and crushed nuts. requiring true labor and focus. My mom was in her glory and it brings tears to my eyes to imagine that scene where she is giving so much of herself, yet nurturing her own soul in that simple gift of teaching a child to bake.
People say I’m a strong woman, and I believe I am. I’ve made some hard decisions, especially in the last few months, but it has never been clearer to me that I get that strength from my mom. She has been my quiet role model all my life. Fortunata, once again!
Dr. Brene Brown TED talk
This is a link to a TED talk in Houston by Dr. Brene Brown, talking about vulnerability and the courage to be imperfect. Well worth the 20 minutes!
Amy Lang is an expert on educating children about sex. Down-to-earth and straightforward, she offers insight and recommendations easily implemented in the family setting.
Parenting without Powerstruggles
Susan Stiffelman, MFT, is dedicated to helping parents raise kids who are joyful, resilient and authentically themselves–without power struggles, negotiations, meltdowns and the various other thieves of joy that can interfere with a parent’s ability to enjoy the journey of parenthood. I reviewed her book, Parenting Without Power Struggles in the summer issues of my newsletter.Parenting From Scratch
This blog is written by a Positive Discipline Parent Educator in Portland, Oregon, Kelly Bartlett. Kelly is an assistant editor and contributing writer for The Attached Family magazine, an API leader, and a Certified Positive Discipline Educator. Her insights and perspective are thoughtful and well-written.
Evidence Based Mummy
Rachel Robinson says: I started to do my own reading and research [on parenting]. I focused on the questions that were important to me and read the scientific journals and publications rather than the standard parenting manuals. This blog is my way of passing on my learning to other parents. My hope is that I write in a way that is interesting and intelligible, and that what I write is based on research rather than my own or other’s opinions. I’m absolutely not a perfect parent but I want to do the best I can. I hope most of all it is useful to other parents. If you find it helpful, I would love to hear from you.
This is a really fun blog. Susie Lubell writes: I’m a mom, an artist and an entrepreneur. And I have tantrums sometimes. But with daycare so expensive, I can’t afford therapy. So I use this blog to keep my own Inner Toddler in check. And to explore what it means to be a stay/work at/from home/studio mom/artist.
Written by early education experts, e.family news is a free weekly electronic newsletter providing advice, strategies, tips, resources, and news about current parenting issues you may be facing. Topics covered range from the practical to the peculiar; the lighthearted to the sublime, and everything in between.
Greater Good Science Center, About Half Full: Science for Raising Happy Kids by Christine Carter
This blog is about science-based parenting advice. Christine Carter is a sociologist and the executive director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. She writes: Since I’m reading all the research related to raising happy children anyway, I thought we might as well make it USEABLE to parents. We hope this is a valuable counterpoint to some of the more opinion-based parenting advice platforms that are out there, especially because sorting out fact from fiction can be confusing when it comes to parenting.
Kids Talk™ is a column dealing with early childhood development issues written by Maren Stark Schmidt. Mrs. Schmidt founded a Montessori school and holds a Masters of Education from Loyola College in Maryland.
Positive Discipline Social Network
A social networking site open to anyone with Positive Discipline questions, challenges or success stories. Try it out!
Positive Discipline Association
The Non-Profit that coordinates Positive Discipline Workshops. The website has a question and answer section.
Positive Time Out can be empowering, as this 7-year-old learned. She calls her “comfort spot” Coco, and here is what she has to say about it:
“Coco is kind, caring, and gentle. She keeps me happy. When she is sorry for me I change her eyes to looking down at me. I change her eyes to closed at night. When it is day, I have a picture of a sun up. When it is night, I put a moon with some stars up. She is a happy 24 year old girl.”
Kudos to her parents for providing an opportunity to learn the invaluable life skill of taking care of herself by practicing how to calm down when she’s upset.
Comments and feedback from participants after completing a seven-week session…
“I took the Positive Discipline class with Linda – She was awesome and I was surrounded by a group of really wonderful parents. I am definitely still a work-in-progress, but I think I am a better parent for taking the time out to attend these classes. I use my new skills every day I highly recommend the PD training – it’s worth every second.”
April Fuchs-Smith, San Jose
Linda has [Positive Discipline] in her DNA. She was a great model for how to implement and that there are sometimes no easy solutions. She showed it’s about internalizing the principles and then committing to try to live them out.
Punishment is going to damage my relationship with my children, and doesn’t serve them.
Participant, San Jose
My husband and I both loved taking Linda’s Positive Discipline class. It has made a huge impact on our entire approach to parenting. We deeply appreciate Linda’s ability to engage everyone in a humor-filled, non-judgmental way. Her passion and commitment to the Positive Discipline approach is inspiring and transforming. We’ve begun to implement many of the Positive Discipline techniques in our home and are committed to its long-term promise of self-motivated, esteem-filled, resilient children. It has given us a guidepost for navigating the challenges of raising preschool and elementary-aged children. It is proving a great support and motivation for being our best selves and helping mentor our children to be their most true and thoughtful selves.
Michelle, San Jose
What helped me most was sharing and hearing other parents’ stories. It helped to share/brainstorm ideas and to also know our concerns and issues were not uncommon. I really enjoyed [the class] and found Linda to be engaging without being “preachy”.
[The most effective part of the class for me] was practical problem solving of real-life parenting problems. It was refreshing to see how many creative ideas could be brought to the table–and it was empowering to hear about solutions being implemented.
I think this is a great hands-on class.
“What has changed at home as a result of the class?”
- “We not only felt we were learning about being better parents, we also knew that we were improving our communications skills with each other. It has been good for our marriage and our children. Wow, that’s a win win.”
- “Choices are being offered, agreements made, and follow-through”.
- “Less crying and whining”
- “I feel more empowered to ‘teach’ my kids, rather than lecture.”
- “I yell less. I understand the kids’ behavior more.”
“Would you recommend this class to others?”
- I would tell them they had so much to gain by devloping a relationship with their child they wouldn’t know was possible.Participant, Campbell
- “Yes! This class has changed my relationship with my girls that will last a lifetime.”
- “Yes! Positive Discipline works!”
- “This is a must for any parent. The sooner the better!”