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Thread: Positive Discipline / Gentle Discipline

  1. #1

    Positive Discipline / Gentle Discipline

    Someone asked for a thread to explain what positive discipline or gentle discipline is so this is my effort at that. I will warble on a bit with my take on it then link to lots of really useful informative stuff so feel free to skip straight to the links! I think most people call it Gentle Discipline but I prefer the term Positive Discipline.

    I'll start with what it's not - it's not letting them get away with everything. I personally see it in a lot of ways as respecting your child and trying to treat them as you would prefer to be treated - which is easier said than done with a tantrumming toddler!!! In a lot of ways positive discipline is telling a child what to do rather than what not to do and explaining why they can't or shouldn't do something. DD is only 10 months so I don't have any examples from home but I do from teaching. Here are the parenting links first:

    http://www.fresnofamily.com/ap/gentle.htm
    http://www.parentingweb.com/discipline/disc_index.htm
    http://www.saferchild.org/tipsfor4.htm
    http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/t ... ipline.php
    http://www.parentingweb.com/discipline/pw_disc.htm
    http://www.parentingweb.com/discipline/pos_disc.htm
    http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/a ... dlerd2.php

    When I started teaching I thought if pupils misbehaved you shout at them and tell them off Boy was that a mistake! It tells the pupils I don't respect them, so why would they respect me? I had no control of my classes so could barely teach them. I did not get off to a good start but fortunately I had the opportunity to go on excellent courses and turn things around completely. These are some of the most effective things I learned that I use in my teaching and will use in my parenting.

    Description of reality This advice helped me immensely! If a pupil is misbehaving you say that using a description of reality - so instead of 'stop talking' you'd say 'Our classroom rules are that we don't talk when the teacher is giving instructions' or 'you are talking'. 'x is unsafe/unacceptable/unkind/naughty' rather than 'stop x'. So maybe for toddlers 'Hitting hurts the cat and makes him sad. We don't hit cats'. This explains the reason why to the toddler as well and so can make more sense to them.

    Certainty Pupils test to see where they boundaries are. They like to have the boundaries, to know what they can and can't do (that sounds unlikely but it's true). You have to show them where they are with consistent consequences, and they need to know that will happen otherwise they will continue to test the boundaries. If they do x, you do y. If they shout out in stead of putting up their hand I ignore until they put up their hand or remind them that they have to do that (unless we are doing whole class stuff etc). If you don't react in the same way - one day they can shout out (without it being said in advance that they can) and the next they can't that creates uncertainty about rules. they also need to know that if you say something you mean it - if you tell them that you will not play a game at the end of the lesson unless behaviour improves you can't go back on that unless you give very good reason - e.g. that behaviour has greatly improved and if it continues you will change your mind. Same with toddlers - if you say they can only have pudding if they finish their dinner you have to mean that.

    Immediacy Consequences are most effective if they happen immediately - 5 minutes chat about behaviour straight after the lesson is far more effective than 20 min detention a week or 2 later.

    Consistancy The consequences need to be the same, though this can be on a sliding scale for repeat offences if you like. At secondary if they misbehaved in class I would keep them back 5 minutes into break/lunch/after school, whatever happened at the end of the lesson, to doscuss their behaviour, why they did it and what we could do to stop it happening again. After several months of this consistently happening pupils mellowed completely and were angels, something that wouldn't have happened with infrequent harsher consequences such as detention. After I left that school some of my classes went wild and started failing because they didn't have the boundaries which was sad as they had behaved so well before and achieved their potential.

    Relevancy The consequence should have some relevance to what happened. At school this was discussing the behaviour and what could be done to help them improve it. At home, if a child refuses to put away a toy then confiscating it for a week is a relevant consequence, banning TV for a week isn't.

    Praising good behaviour
    Wow does this work in primary! If I ask a hyper happy bunch of children fresh in from break to be quite it will take a minute or two. If I point out how well a pupil or group of pupils are sitting, nice and quiet ready for the start of the lesson they will all suddenly be silent! Because they are so keen for attention and praise when they are younger it lets them know exactly what they need to do to get praise because it just happened to someone else. I have no idea if that would work with a toddler or even if it might be a bit cruel to say to your own child who is stropping ' wow, look at that little girl over there, she's playing quietly and smiling! Well done that girl'. I really didn't believe it when I read it, it sounds so unlikely but it really works!

    I don't find shouting to be effective unless it is used very sparingly - I would tend to save it for dangerous situations. That way if you do shout it gets immediate attention and shows that something is very different. With my Brownies I would only ever shout if something unsafe was about to happen and so needed to be stopped immediately and afterwards I apologise and explain I was scared they would get hurt. Shouting tends to be a way for the adult to let go of stress rather than beneficial for the children as when they are used to it they just zone out.

    I hope this may have helped in some way and isn't just a really long boring post!

    When youíre wearing a sling or carrier, donít forget ...
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  2. #2

    Re: Positive Discipline

    thats really interesting.. it all makes alot more sense to me now. I know this is slightly off topic but i read the book "why men lie and woman cry" and it explained how to steer away from an argument with your OH. It basically advises you to talk about how things make YOU feel rather than directing it at the person.. i didnt think it would work but it did.. the only problem i found though is that i would slip back into my old ways.

    I think some of the tips from your post and those links will really help but im not convinved id be able to stick to it and i cant see my OH not using the word "no!"

    You never know.. i may make become and "earth mother" yet!

    Claire x



    Had a succesful VBAC.. any questions just ask!

    I apologise for short replies. im not being rude i just have a crazy household these days and cant type much!

  3. #3

    Re: Positive Discipline

    Funny you posted that... I said something to Becky the other day and thought "damn, I sound like I'm at work"... dunno if that's a good thing or a bad thing Not to mention that the kids at work keep calling me mum...



  4. #4
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    Re: Positive Discipline

    Ahhhh I see! I do that! Just didnt know it had a name! I probably dont do it completely! I do very very rarely shout! But thats generally when I need to stop them doing whatever they are doing immediately! And when they were younger I used to naughty step and will with Lola if I need to!

  5. #5

    Re: Positive Discipline

    i try not to use the words dont and not for example if adam had pulled up the foam floor mat and is chewing it, i will say adam please put the mat on the floor it is for playing on. or if he is tipping his cup up so the water is going everywhere i will say adam put you cup on the tray/table etc it is spilling.


  6. #6
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    Re: Positive Discipline

    Quote Originally Posted by zebrastripes
    Thanks for this!

    I've been practising GD with Willow from the word go, and it is really fab. It is so utterly simple, yet so effective. I wish more people had an idea of this- it's such a catalyst for better communication/relations with your child
    For sure! When I had my 3 elder ones, I didnt know any better than to shout if they were badly behaved! It got us nowhere! Then I realised one day that it so much better to talk and explain and they responded better to it! Its all learning!
    I still have the occasional moment of madness where I raise my voice! With 3 wild shouting / fighting children I dont really have much choice lol! But no, if they have done something wrong I have a word with them!

  7. #7

    Re: Positive Discipline / Gentle Discipline

    Ive just been trying to explain this to my OH.. not so sure he will be following it though.. he thinks im becoming a new age mum what with my sling and now this!



    Had a succesful VBAC.. any questions just ask!

    I apologise for short replies. im not being rude i just have a crazy household these days and cant type much!

  8. #8
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    Re: Positive Discipline / Gentle Discipline

    It's always worth remembering to use phrases like 'we'll clean up together now' rather than 'would you like to help me clean up?' Another classic is to use 'thanks' at the end of an instruction rather than 'please' at the front. The idea being that 'please' still suggests they have a choice where as 'thanks' implies that there is no question that they're going to do what you ask. You can often even trick teenagers into doing stuff with that one.
    Alhumdulilah My beautiful boy Eesa was born 07/08/09

  9. #9

    Re: Positive Discipline / Gentle Discipline

    Praising good behaviour is a fab tool, it really helped us with Seren when she was going through the terrible twos. We ignored negative behaviour but when she did something well we would tell her. Dinner times especially "wow Seren you did really well to try that" and when we go out I will tell her how great she was at behaving. I just think if you spend all your time focusing on the negative stuff they do, and not the positive they associate bad behaviour with attention. Consequences are also really useful, instead of saying to Seren, no you can't touch that knife because it is sharp, I tell her that the knife is sharp and she could hurt herself which would make us all sad, or that she mustn't hit as it hurts the other person. She now tells her dad to be careful with the grill as it is hot and he could burn himself, or tells Cally not to pull her hair as it hurts her and makes her sad, bossy boots that she is I have done this since she was teeny, and my friend used to take the **** out of me as I would talk to Seren about how biting isn't nice instead of just saying no. We don't have a naughty step, I hate that term. Instead we have a quiet step where we go and sit and think (Seren does get incredib;ly riled at times and will just scream). Sometimes I sit with her but sometimes she asks to be by herself - a few minutes and she is as right as rain. When she apologises also I always asked her what she was saying sorry for as I don't like generic "sorry" in a huffy voice. She now says "mummy I'm sorry for pushing Cally" etc so she knows what she is apologising for. These things might not work for Cally and I will have to find other ways of discipline but it will always be positive discipline.

    I have found positive discipline hard as I have an incredibly short fuse and have ended up shouting too many times but it is so effective and Seren will behave in a way because she wants to as opposed to because she is frightened I will shout/hit etc. She isn't an angel by any means though
    beardbeardbeardbeardbeardbeardbeardbeardbeard

  10. #10

    Re: Positive Discipline / Gentle Discipline

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  11. #11

    Re: Positive Discipline / Gentle Discipline

    I do this, I just didn't realise it had a different name.

    I always found it very interesting that the word discipline comes from the latin 'to teach'. It doesn't mean punish!






  12. #12

    Re: Positive Discipline / Gentle Discipline

    This is how we will parent. We discussed this when ttc - although we didn't know it had a name then - as we wanted to make sure that when the time came we were on the same page, so to speak, to make sure there were no mixed messages.

  13. #13
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    Re: Positive Discipline / Gentle Discipline

    Quote Originally Posted by beanie
    Consequences are also really useful, instead of saying to Seren, no you can't touch that knife because it is sharp, I tell her that the knife is sharp and she could hurt herself which would make us all sad, or that she mustn't hit as it hurts the other person.
    I think that is one of the most important parts of discipline! Explaining why they cant do certain things! If they know why, they generally wont do it! (they all try to push the boundaries, that's how they learn) but the accept it a lot easier than simply saying "no dont do that"
    Although I call the step the naughty step, I dont actually call it that too the kids! Its just "time out" Though its easier to explain to most "naughty step" so I just say that!

    Nori, although your OH may think its a new age mum thing (lol) It is probably the easiest, less stressful for the parent as well as the child, way of teaching them right and wrong and Im sure once he sees that he will be fine! Even my OH who has lots of children and is older than me so kinda set in his ways does it! Yet before he did as he was brought up! "No and dont dare ask me questions"

    I find it uses more energy and makes people so much more stressed and makes the children behave a lot worse to shout etc!

    Edited because i cant spell with a babs on my knee ha

  14. #14

    Re: Positive Discipline / Gentle Discipline

    Great post!!! I think positive parenting and discipline is the most effective, far better than shouting and always saying no!


  15. #15

    Re: Positive Discipline / Gentle Discipline

    Great post; we have always tried to parent in this way and it certainly does help.
    I didn't realise there was a name for it; I just didn't want to be one of those parents that shouts and screams at their child and is always saying no.

    We do have the odd moment when I raise my voice but generally I do tend to parent in this way and I feel there is a mutual respect there; although she is going through the terriblle twos and there are moments when this is tested.

    Thanks for the great post


    PF member since March 2006l

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