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Positive Discipline W
ith family and work life busier than ever, a barrage of parenting techniques to choose from and the added pressure of everyone else’s kids behaving better than yours… ..ﬁnding discipline strategies that really work and avoiding the trap of inconsistent parenting (the kind that ﬂuctuates between overly permissive and overly authoritarian) can be a source of frustration and stress for many of us. For nearly thirty years, Jane Nelsen (distinguished psychologist, educator, and mother of seven) has built on the wisdom and research of others to ﬁnd a solution. Known as Positive Discipline, this approach has become the gold standard in a common sense style of parenting that relies on principles that work instead of theories that don’t. It includes a number of diﬀerent techniques that, used in combination, can lead to more eﬀective ways for parents (and teachers) to manage children’s behaviour.
Headteacher of Meadowbrook School in Warﬁeld, Serena Gunn, was one of the ﬁrst to introduce parent workshops in Positive Discipline and manages a school that has embedded this approach into its practice. As a highly experienced lecturer in child development and parent herself, ex school inspector, parent coach and Head teacher, Serena, has seen ﬁrst-hand the diﬀerence that Positive Discipline can make to families. ‘Adopting Positive Discipline as a way of life has made a tremendous diﬀerence to my approach with children. Instead of anger, frustration and blame, my default has become one that focuses on collaboration and problem solving. Adopting a Positive Discipline approach to daily parenting struggles, provides long-term solutions rather than quick ﬁxes. It teaches children important life skills, encourages them to think for
themselves, develop essential problem solving skills that they need to become happy and contributing members of society and have greater respect for themselves and others.’ Positive Discipline focuses on positive points of behaviour in order to motivate children to do better and not feel worse. Good behaviour is reinforced and negative behaviours eliminated without resorting to shouting, bribing and punishment. As Serena points out, this does not mean ignoring bad behaviours but rather being able to deal with them in a mutually respectful and encouraging way that uses kindness and ﬁrmness simultaneously. ‘Kindness is essential when disciplining children if we want to be an inﬂuence on their behaviour and model respect. Firmness, is needed out of respect for us as parents and the needs of the situation.’
Positive Discipline Workshops for Parents are held at Meadowbrook School in Warﬁeld on a regular basis. Visit www.meadowbrook.uk for further information. School Inset training or workshops for teachers are also provided upon request.
Top Tips: • Understand the meaning behind children’s behaviour so that you can respond to it and not react to it. • Focus on controlling yourself and not your child. • Be consistent and follow through with what you say. • When dealing with misbehaviour, consider what children are thinking, feeling, learning, and deciding about themselves, about you and about their world. This can often stop us in our tracks!
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