Okay so the positive discipline approach works. Remove the pressure on enforcing punishment and the stress of disciplining a head-strong seven year old is almost gone. You don’t ignore misbehaviour you just delve underneath to discover the true cause and tackle that instead.No shouting, nagging, hassling, power struggles are required – just the willingness to have a mature civlised conversation with your child that asks them calmly to explain why they are behaving that way and what needs to change. In the Positive Discipline approach, the author states, “When did we start thinking that in order for children to do better we must first make them feel worse?”
I had one particular Eureka! moment today. My daughter’s best friend came to play for the day. They are very similar in character so power struggles between them are inevitable and I often find myself playing piggy in the middle. Before her friend arrived, I set some ground rules with my daughter -“lets all focus on having a good time and avoid confrontation because I want you to enjoy your day”. This worked until after lunch when we were about to embark on a short car journey to visit a farm play park. “I want to sit in the back with (baby Boy)”, my daughter replies “No I want to sit in the back, I will sit in the back on the way there and then you can sit in the back on the way home”. Her friend retaliates “No, (baby boy) finds me funny and I like to make him laugh, I will sit in the back”. Then the inevitable happens, they both swing round to me “She won’t let me sit where I want to sit”. They look to me for answers like I am the UN. No I am going to use the positive discipline method and believe in the capabilities of children and empower them. “Right, baby boy and I are going to wait until you both have discussed this and come up with an amicable agreement as to the seating arrangements. All the time you continue to argue, we are not going anywhere.” There is a delay while they process this and then I can’t believe my eyes because they turn to face eachother and actually have a civilised discussion without any raised voices and they agree on a compromise deal. I had just witnessed two seven year old girls avoiding conflict and coming to an agreement without any adult intervention. We left the house relaxed, happy and the girls actually discussing how they were going to share helping to load and unload the car. I had to pinch myself.
In fact, I have had to pinch myself all week so far with the PD method as it traces back all misbehaviours to four key issues – with my daughter it is power. This is a good attribute to have as a leader in later life but it needs to be channelled correctly. So,
(sorry I have just had to interrupt this blog by saying that I have just watched the latest giffgaff advert which is ridiculously long and features Zombies) It is a shite way to promote a mobile network and you can tell some advertising geek said “Zombies sell films…why not use them in adverts?”. But as much as I hate it, it has got me talking about it and will I remember Giffgaff……probably….but will I use it….no I’m happy with Tesco’s ‘Every little Helps’…)
So, before I was rudely interrupted by a crap advert, the key thing I have been doing differently with my daughter is not entering into the power struggles and instead, giving her responsibilities around the house for her to take ownership of – she is loving it!
I will keep you updated on how I keep this up – not sure how I use it with baby boy though – there is a book that you can get for pre-schoolers, which I might have to read next.
I am blogging every day for Unicef to raise money for the charity. If you are able to donat ethat would be great – just go to my page on Unicef’s site.
Thanks for reading.