Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Parenting the "Positive Parent" Way : A Summary

I had heard a lot about Positive Discipline and being a mom to 3 kids with different personalities, I want to know how Bry and I can effectively reach out to them.  Practicing Positive Discipline takes a lot of commitment, sometimes going against the norm of how parents treat their kids.  Despite all the books I've read, I still feel a bit lost as to how to go about it.  So, when I heard that there's a workshop on Positive Disicpline by Clarice Talavera-AviƱante, I was very much interested.

I was a bit anxious leaving the kids for a whole day, but it was time well spent.  Aside from being oriented with the tools. We had exercises where we got to experience what its like being in our kids shoes.  Also, it was a chance to connect with like-minded parents who we can count on for support even after the workshop.

Positive discipline believes that children deserve to be respected, feel that they belonged and more importantly, loved unconditionally.  There is a way to do this and instill discipline in your kids.  Here are some of the basics.

Focus on Natural Consequences
In order for children to see the connection of their present actions to what happens to them in the future, it is important to familiarize them with natural consequences.  For example, should Ben refuse to go inside the car when it’s time for him to go home, it is better to give him a choice of going inside the car now or walking home later rather than get angry, have a power struggle and ground him.

Give Kids Time to Cool-Off when they’re very upset
When Ben throws a tantrum, rather than get angry at him for feeling upset, Bry and I can try having him stay in a comfortable place to cool off on his own.  This is different from time-out where you punish a child by asking him to stand in a corner.  To cool off means to bring a child to a place where he can relax and feel calm.  Ben got very upset recently and I was so tempted to get angry myself because he was not being polite anymore.  I t look a lot of willpower to ask him to stay in one part of the living room with a book (which co-incidentally was about a cranky bear) and some food.  I just left him there and he eventually calmed down.

Get Mommy-Daddy time-outs too!
If you feel you’re going to explode out of anger, take a step back, go out of the room and cool down.  Easier said than done, believe me!  There were many times when I wished I was able to calmly tell Ben that I am not ready to talk to him and leave before I throw a “tantrum” on my own.  I promise to do better in the future

Power of a Hug
The sense of touch can be very disarming, specifically a hug.  The trick here is instead of giving a child a hug when he/she is upset, ask for one by saying “I need a hug”.  It makes him/her feel important, that she/he has a choice, and besides, chances are, you do really need one at that moment, too

Know your child’s love language and temperament
Some kids communicate their love through words, some through hugs (touch), by expressing that they want to spend time with you, etc.  How they communicate their love is also the best way to show it to them.  Since each child is different, be aware of their individual love language so you can fill up their “love tank”.  Among the twins, Bea seems to be the more verbal while Bree is the touchy-feely one.

As for temperament, knowing your child’s activity level, ease in adapting to new situations, and distractibility will help you understand if she/he is easy or slow to warm up.   Once you understand your child’s temperament better, you can identify better if his/her actions are part of his/her personality or is actually misbehaving.

Encourage rather than Praise
When you encourage your kid, you empower him, giving him confidence to try harder.  Instead of saying “I’m proud of you”, try saying “You did it” or “ I see that you worked very hard on this one”.  It makes them focus on improving themselves and not merely seek the approval of others.

Give Positive and Clear Instructions
We had an exercise where we were given instructions with the facilitator saying “ Don’t  Stand”, “Don’t Open your Mouth” etc.  It was just short but draining! Since the instructions start with the word “don’t”, it took time for me to process and ask myself “so if I can’t do this, what can I do?” we did another round where the instructions were “Sit”, “Close your Mouth” etc.  They were much easier to follow.  A simple adjustment but it makes a difference.

Connection before Correction
Before you correct your child, show concern and ask questions.  Make him /her feel that you respect his/her feelings so he/she will be more responsive. 

Be an Asking Parent (vs. a Telling Parent)
Encourage your child to “think, think, think” by asking instead of imposing.  Ask questions like ‘What is next in the routine or what do you have to do to have healthy teeth” instead of saying “brush your teeth”

Have family meetings
I have not done this and for me, this is one of the most challenging to implement.  Take time out 15-20 minutes in a week to sit down and talk about your issues and plans.  Assign a chairperson and secretary to make it official.  Another thing that makes family meeting special is you start with paying compliments to each other.  This enables a child become more comfortable in receiving compliments and begin the meeting in a positive note.
Set dates with you kids
Take time even just 15-20 minutes to have a date with each child as a way to fill up their love tank.  It doesn’t have to be out of the house, it can be a game of Pictionary or cooking a snack.  Having quality time with your kids not only will help you get to know them individually but make them respect your time as well.

Wow … seems like lots to take in, huh? I am far from practicing all these but I’m grateful and willing to slowly try these tools out.  What I realize is being parent is a learning process, and if  we want our kids to be conscious of their actions, we must ne conscientious parents as well.  Also, let us know be afraid to go against the flow of how parenting has been done through the years, times are changing and we can apply what we learned from the past with new concepts to find your own style.

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