Parents

Compliments Create a Positive Atmosphere in Homes and Classrooms

Compliments and appreciations bring us closer together. Finding ways to compliment your children can be a very valuable parenting tool. So often we are focused on what our children have done wrong. This week focus on what your children have done right and give them an appropriate compliment. "I appreciate how quickly you get dressed and ready for school." "I notice how kindly you cared for Anna when she felt sad, I bet it helped her feel better." "Thank you for setting the table." You will be amazed how this simple act will change the atmosphere in your home.

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SCHEDULE SPECIAL TIME FOR CONNECTION

One of the most encouraging things parents can do for their children is to spend regular, scheduled special time with them. You may already spend lots of time with your children. However there is a difference between have to time, casual time, and scheduled special time.

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Listening Tool Card

Many parents complain that their children don’t listen, yet few parents really listen to their children. Children will listen to you AFTER they feel listened to.

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Connection Before Correction

The one Positive Discipline Tool I wish I had used more consistently is this: Connection before Correction. Of course, I didn't know what this meant as a young mother, and didn't create it as a Positive Discipline tool until about five years ago. Now we know it is just brain science: children learn (grow, feel safe, thrive) best when they feel connection—or as Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs taught us, "a sense of belonging and significance".

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The Importance of Connection

"You have to reach the heart before you can reach the head." I first heard this statement while reading an article about Carter Bayton in a September, 1991 issue of Life Magazine. Carter Bayton was asked to work with thirteen 2nd grade boys who were considered so disruptive that they couldn't make in it a "regular" classroom. After six months of working with these boys they were doing so well that they challenged the "regular" class to a math contest and won. Carter found many ways to be effective with his students, but said the foundation was to reach their hearts before he could reach their minds.

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Encouragement vs Praise

Rudolf Dreikurs taught, “A child needs encouragement like a plant needs water.” In other words, encouragement is essential. Children may not die without encouragement, but they certainly wither.

Since encouragement is so essential, it would be good for parents to know what encouragement means and how to do it. Let’s start with the difference between praise and encouragement. It would be helpful to download the file "Differences Between Praise and Encouragement".

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Things Often Get Worse Before They Get Better

Remember this point so that you won’t become discouraged. Children quite often don’t trust that adults are really willing to listen to them and take them seriously. It may take some time for them to get used to this. At first they may try to use this new power to be hurtful and punishing, because this is the model they have been used to.

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One Word

Avoid lecturing and nagging. Use one word as a kind reminder.

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The Power of Nonverbal Communication

Adults and children express emotional energy on their faces, in their voices, and in the way they move or stand. Because children are still developing their language skills, they trust the message of this nonverbal communication far more than they do mere words.

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Limited Choices

Offering limited choices instead of making demands can be very effective. Children often respond to choices when they will not respond to demands, especially when you follow the choice with, "You decide." Choices should be respectful and should focus attention on the needs of the situation.

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