Monday, May 9, 2011

Positive Discipline Chapter 2-Some Basic Concepts is a really upfront chapter, it really points out a lot of things that most parents do any why they don't work.
At the start, Nelson Talks about the difference between winning over children and winning children over.  "Winning over children makes them losers, and losing generally causes children to be rebellious or blindly submissive.  Neither characteristic is desirable for children.  Winning children over means gaining their cooperation in developing mutual respect, responsibility, self-discipline, and problem solving skills." (22)  She goes on to talk about what we do is not as important as how we do it.  If a child spills mild on the floor, it makes sense to have them clean it up.  But if you snap at them, call them clumsy, or tell them they can never pour milk because they always make a mess, you have entered into the humiliation spectrum.  Then we move on to the basic concepts themselves:
1. Children are social beings-  "Children make decisions about themselves and how to behave based on how they see themselves in relationship to others and how they think others feel about them."

2. Behavior is goal oriented- "Children are good perceivers, but poor interpreters."  A good example is when mommy brings a new baby home from the hospital, the child perceives that mommy loves the baby very much, but then makes the interpretation that mommy doesn't love them as much anymore, and then either acts out to get attention, or acts like a baby.

3. A child's primary goal is to belong and to be significant- As explained before, misbehavior is based on a mistaken belief about how to achieve belonging and significance.  We'll go into more detail on this in chapter 4.

4. A misbehaving child is a discouraged child- We're kind of getting redundant here, but it's an important point to make: a misbehaving child is trying to tell you that they don't belong or feel significant but they don't know how to do it.  Armed with this understanding, it's a lot easier to be patient and look for the root of the problem.

5. Social Interest- basically, to instill a concern for others and a dire to contribute to society.  "What good is academic learning if young people do not learn to become contributing members of society?  We have gone through an age of supermoms and super-teachers, where children have learned to expect the world to serve them rather than to be of service to the world.  These are the children who think it is unfair if they don't get their own way.  When others refuse to serve them they feel sorry for themselves or seek revenge in some hurtful or destructive way.  When they seek revenge they always hurt themselves much more then they hurt others.  Positive Discipline helps children and adults end these vicious cycles by encouraging social interest."

6. Equality- We all know that a child is equal to an adult in value, but this has more to do with dignity and respect.  Again, why humiliation is not part of this approach.

7. Make sure the message of love gets through- the key concept that unlocks all doors.  When we have a screaming match with our child because we fear that they are making decisions that could eventually lead them down a destructive path, they may get the message that we dislike them and that they are a burden.  Again with the perception thing.  They need to be reminded that our agitation is fear and concern for their well-being, not anger or fed-up-ness (I made that word up!)

One thing that I have been working on is focusing on the cause of the misbehavior.  My soon to be 3 year old has really been teaching me how much patience I don't have.  For a while he was screaming at me and hitting his baby brother.  Even though he loves his brother, he was still hitting him really hard.  Through some one-on-one talks with him, my husband and I found out that, even though I would talk to him personally every night and read him story of his choosing twice a day, his siblings were around and he wanted some real one-on-one time with me.  After a calm and brief talk about how wrong it is to hurt others, we decided that the next morning he and I would go to Walmart together, just the two of us, since my hubby didn't go to work until the afternoon that day, so he could be home with the other kids.  When my two year old and I went to Walmart he helped me put food in the cart, and I let him pick one special treat for himself, he chose chocolate pudding in those individual cups.  Then I caught eye of the discounted bakery items and I was having a major sweet tooth so I decided to get a small cake and I let him pick which one of the two I liked to take home and share.  He seemed so happy for the rest of the day, he shared his pudding with his sister without being told (in fact, we told him he didn't have to share this time).  So he got one on one time with mom, got to make some choices (he felt like he had control over some things in his life), and he got a treat!  Notice that I didn't use a treat as a reward, it was just because we were having a special time together.

This same little man taught me another lesson at another point during one of his sleep-deprived temper tantrums.  After a long fit, I was letting myself get angry and went over to my angry looking screaming child to put him in his bed to cool down.  When he saw me move toward him, he help out his arms for a hug.  My heart went to mush.  I instantly recognized his need for love.  And hugging helped him calm down and helped me to calm down.  So we could talk about what I didn't approve of and he could tell me how he felt.

Positive Discipline
Chapter 1

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