Sunday, January 29, 2012

Family Meetings

This weeks Parenting Tool is: Family Meetings
I have to say, this is the tool I have the least experience with.  I have never actually been a part of a real family meeting Positive Discipline style.  To start the week I read about Family Meetings in my PD book.  Then I went onto the PD website and downloaded the Family Meeting Album. Finally I read Jane Nelson's Family Meeting Training Plan.  Once I was armed with knowledge and printouts I decided on a day for our first meeting and announced it to my family!
Our first meeting was tonight.  After we had dinner and put the baby to bed we gathered in the living room.   Following the Training Plan we started by talking about what family meetings are, why they can be helpful, the 5 components of the family meeting(compliments, agenda, brainstorming solutions,  planning family fun, and a fun family activity) and the three jobs (Chairperson, recorder, and timekeeper).  Then we went over what an agenda is, remember we are just three people, me, my husband, and our 5 year old daughter.  We then talked about some ideas that could be agenda items and we practiced brainstorming solutions.  We ended by talking about what compliments are and planned to start with them next week.  After our meeting our chosen family fun activity was playing doll house.  I am sure you can guess who suggested that idea!
This first meeting when great!  It felt good to know we were starting something that would really add strength to our family.  Our daughter was excited to try different jobs and to plan fun events for the future.  She even came up with a possible agenda item as we were playing after the meeting.  She claims that she always finds our bathroom light left on and "that is not good for the environment", so she is going to put that on the agenda.  I have a feeling we may end up with a really long agenda this next week.  Hmmm, I wonder what we'll do then?  Maybe we pick the top three items, each of us choose the one most important to us?  We will try that for now!  I will try to report back once we really get into the true meetings to let you know how we are doing and how they are affecting or family.

Next weeks tool is: Compliments.  Oh, that will coincide perfectly with our next family meeting!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Connection Before Correction!

The Parenting Tool we focused on this week was: Connection Before Correction.  Another of my favorites, and one that I find fairly easy to implement.  I feel like I have, over the past few years, made this tool a natural part of my parenting style.  Not to say that there aren't times that I should have done it and didn't, but for the most part it is one of the tools I pull out of the Positive Discipline tool bag most often.  In fact this has been such an integral part of my 5 year old's life thus far that she often uses it on  my husband and I and even on the baby occasionally.  Just the other day I was peeking in on them playing together on the floor.  The baby was hitting the TV very hard and then he hit my daughter as she got close to him.  She put her arms around him and pulled him down from the tv and said, "We love you when you try to stand up, but you can't hit the tv, it might fall on you"!  It was so sweet to hear her use this tool with him and even more importantly it showed me that she has picked up a respectful way of approaching another person.  Score!  Another point for Positive Discipline!

My favorite use of this tool is to make a connection and then find a solution together.  I think children feel so safe and respected when we let them know we love them and when we include them in finding the solution to a problem together. Just yesterday my daughter was trying to start a cd that had a song that she liked to dance along to.  As she was inserting the cd and trying to skip to the song she wanted, the baby was fast approaching ready to smash the cd player to pieces (maybe not really, but that is how it seems sometimes).  So my husband started saying, "Hurry, just close the door(to the entertainment center) so the baby doesn't get in there!!!".  Of course, my daughter got all upset feeling rushed and my husband didn't know what she was trying to do in there, so she ended up just slamming the door and rushing off to her room crying.  I went in after her and offered her a hug while I told her that I love her and hate to see her upset.  I asked her what made her feel so angry (even though I already had a feeling I knew the answer).  She explained that she was trying to get to her song and daddy wouldn't let her.  I asked her why daddy wouldn't let her.  She knew it was because the baby could get hurt on the entertainment center.  When I asked her what she could do so that everyone would be happy, she came up with a great solution.  She decided she would tell daddy that she doesn't like it when he rushes her.  She also thought it would be good to ask him to pick up the baby before she opened the entertainment center so that he wouldn't get into it.  She went back out to the living room and told her dad her solution.
It really is amazing how an upset child calms down quickly when you take time to make a connection, then once they are calm and feeling loved and respected they are much more willing and capable of helping to come up with a solution or even listening to your solution.

On to the next week.  The tool to focus on will be: Family Meetings!?!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


This week's Positive Discipline Parenting Tool was: Encouragement!

This is my favorite tool, I think!  It seems like it is kinda the basis of Positive Discipline.  The thinking behind it is that discouraged children misbehave, so encourage the misbehaving child and they will behave.  If you want to see a copy of the card check out this blog or this blog.

It seems simple right?  Just encourage your children and they will behave?  It actually is a pretty simple tool to use, but the tricky thing is to remember it when you really need it - when your child is misbehaving.  When your child is not doing what you want them to do your first idea may not be to encourage them.

The way that I make this one work for me is to try to take a good look at what my child is really doing before I try to correct the misbehavior.  I can't tell you how many times I have caught my daughter doing something "naughty" and corrected her immediately.  At closer inspection or upon hearing her explanation often times I discover that she actually had really good intentions, just poor execution :)
When I take the time to observe what is really going on (unless someone is in danger of getting hurt) or ask her what she is up to, I can usually get to the bottom of what is going on.  Once I know what her motive is I can encourage her to achieve it in a more acceptable way.  For example:  The other day I found her dragging her baby brother, 9 mos, by the arms out of his room.  She was pretty gentle about it and he actually seemed to be enjoying it (that is beside the point), so I asked her what she was doing.  She said that the lamp in his room had been knocked over, by the baby pulling on the cord, and it was teetering on the edge of the changing table about to fall onto the baby.  She was saving him!  I thanked her for being so caring and looking out for her brother, then told her that he might get hurt if we drag him  around by his arms.  I asked her if there were any other ways that she could think of to protect him in this situation.  She came up with a few ideas including moving the lamp herself and calling for me.  I was so proud of her for describing the situation and for coming up with solutions, and I was proud of me for not screaming at her when I saw her dragging my baby down the hallway.  If I had yelled at her, or even just said "STOP", she would most likely have burst into tears or shouted back because she would have then felt discouraged.  I incorporated encouragement and listening into one incident and we all came out ahead!

Encouragement feels good, it is that simple.  I think anyone, child or adult, can learn more about a situation when they are feeling good!

When I have shared this idea with parents or teachers they often say things like, "Isn't that rewarding them for misbehaving if you are so nice to them?"  They are forgetting that children do better when they feel better.  You are not rewarding or condoning anything by encouraging your child, but if you don't do it, then correcting will be practically impossible.   Give it a try, it may surprise you how well it works and how good it feels to you too!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


So remember, we (I have lumped my husband in with me on this project) decided to follow a couple of other bloggers as they go through the 52 Positive Discipline Tool Cards, one card per week!

The first tool we practiced was LISTENING! (for a peek at the card check out Mary Tamborski's blog) Listening, sounds pretty easy huh?  I know that as a parent and teacher having your children listen to you is very important.  Parents always say that their kids just don't listen.  I think Jane Nelson would say that what they mean is they don't do what you want them to do.   Either way, the first tool we practiced in our home this week encouraged us to listen to our children first, with the understanding that children who feel listened to are more likely to listen to you.

What I found was that I don't always listen to my children, imagine that!  Listening takes time, patience and humility.  Some of my daughter's explanations run quite long, so sometimes listening means giving up some of my time doing something else to listen.  Other times it is necessary to listen at inopportune times, it takes a lot of patience to listen why the purple knee socks that are at the bottom of the hamper are the only thing that will complete my five year old's outfit before we can go to the grocery store.  Sometimes, often while at said grocery store, listening requires humility.  Getting down to your child's level, eye to eye, and having a respectful dialogue about why we do or don't need bunny shaped pasta in the middle of the pasta and sauces aisle isn't the "norm", it sometimes gets you some pretty strange (mostly impatient) looks.

Overal, listening has been a great tool to focus on.  It diffused a few heated moments and made me more aware of how well my daughter communicates!  It is a fairly easy tool to bring respect to your relationship with your children.

Now, on to the next tool: Encouragement!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

52 Positive Discipline Parenting Tools in 52 Weeks

I am going to embark on a new adventure in Positive Discipline starting this week!  It is a challenge to try to implement the 52 parenting tools from the Deck of Positive Discipline Parenting Tools Cards.  I have used these cards in the past for a quick reminder or inspiration or as a discussion starter with parent groups.  They are fun, to the point and full of good ideas!  If you want to follow along with me on this adventure, you can get the cards from the Positive Discipline website. In addition, Jane Nelson, will be advising a couple other willing participants through her blog

As with any adventure, I am very excited to get started with this!  I hope to stay on top of it and blog about each of the tools throughout the year.  I will also try to tie Montessori ideas into my posts when applicable!
Here is a list of the tools that we will explore this year:
Week 1 - Listen
Week 2 - Encouragement
Week 3 - Connection Before Correction
Week 4 - Family Meetings
Week 5 - Compliments
Week 6 - Routines
Week 7 - Special Time
Week 8 - Take Time for Training
Week 9 - Validate Feelings
Week 10 - Positive Time Out
Week 11 - Jobs
Week 12 - Mistakes
Week 13 - 3 R's of Recovery
Week 14 - Problem Solving
Week 15 - Limit Screen Time
Week 16 - Follow Through
Week 17 - Agreements
Week 18 - Focus On Solutions
Week 19 - Logical Consequences
Week 20 - Natural Consequences
Week 21 - Teach Children What to Do
Week 22 - Put Kids in the Same  Boat
Week 23 - Allowances
Week 24 - Hugs
Week 25 - Wheel of Choice
Week 26 - Act Without Words
Week 27 - Understand the Brain
Week 28 - Back Talk
Week 29 - Winning Cooperation
Week 30 - Distract & Redirect
Week 31 - Decide What You Will Do
Week 32 - Five Criteria
Week 33 - Empower Your Kids
Week 34 - Motivation
Week 35 - Kind and Firm
Week 36 - Pay Attention
Week 37 - Small Steps
Week 38 - Control Your Behavior
Week 39 - Sense of Humor
Week 40 - Silent Signals
Week 41 - Letting Go
Week 42 - Win/Win Solutions
Week 43 - Closet Listening
Week 44 - One Word
Week 45 - Show Faith
Week 46 - Break the Code
Week 47 - Avoid Pampering
Week 48 - Anger Wheel of Choice
Week 49 - Encouragement vs Praise
Week 50 - Limited Choices
Week 51 - Curiosity Questions
Week 52 - Mirror