An important strength of positive discipline is that you can respond quickly and assertively and with confidence when your child behaves badly. Before the positive discipline approach you may have reacted emotionally when your child wasn’t cooperating with you, or refusing to work with you, and you probably felt and expressed anger, resentment, sarcasm or helplessness.
Now, with an agreement about what exactly are acceptable and unacceptable behaviours, and the consequences for acceptable and unacceptable behaviours, you will find it much easier to be fair and consistent and calm and reasonable when your child chooses ‘bad student’ behaviours.
You will no longer need to chose moment by moment how to respond to your child’s ‘bad’ or ‘good’ behaviours and you won’t need to get involved or highly emotional about what they are doing or not doing anymore. Instead you and your child will realise that they have made a choice knowing the consequences of that choice, and as their coach all you have to do is step out of the way while your child experiences the results or consequences of their behaviours.
An important and exciting side-effect of the positive discipline approach is that your child learns that they have the power to change their behaviours in an acceptable way to create the natural outcomes or consequences they want. Over time as they learn to control their thoughts and emotions and behaviours with you, you will help them change negative and unhelpful behaviours at school too.
Positive discipline – the steps to make it work. Follow these steps carefully and you should be able to easily set up a new and more respectful coaching situation in your home.
Step one: Take time to plan ahead very carefully!
Decide exactly what behaviours you need, both from your child and from yourself. Ask yourself, “What does my child need to do so that I can coach and they can learn?” Then ask yourself, “How do I need to act to encourage those behaviours?”
Calm actions and words are the key to using positive discipline with your child, so plan for all the possible positive and negative scenarios you can think of. Decide what you will say (keep it brief), your tone of voice (keep it low), and your gestures (keep them simple) when your child behaves like a ‘good student’ or like a ‘bad student’. Then you can always use the broken record’ strategy, where you have several standard, brief responses for most situations that arise, and you repeat them just as a broken record/CD repeats part of a song. The broken record strategy allows you to respond decisively, smoothly, calmly and automatically, using minimal energy and maximum impact, to nearly all of your child’s behaviours. Step Two is in the following post.
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