Opening Up the Gentle Discipline Toolbox

Choosing to use gentle discipline is scary at first.  What are you going to do if you give up spanking?  Time out?  What if that doesn't work?  Take away privileges?  What if your kids are too young to really care?  I remember that feeling in the pit of my stomach when we first decided not to spank.  It was like jumping off a cliff and not being sure of the landing.

It turns out that there are many, many tools besides spanking and time outs.  I gave an overview of some of our favorites, but now I want to open up that toolbox by focusing on each one, with practical tips of how to use it.  Even if spanking is still one of your tools right now, I hope that as you read through the alternatives you will find fewer reasons to use it.

[4/365] Handy Man
Image credit goaliej54 on Flickr
Looking for more practical tips?  Check out my favorite post from the Hippie Housewife on The Hows of Discipline (and read through all the comments!),  Pearl in Oyster's 52 Tool Cards series and Aha! Parenting's blog.  Do you need inspiration and a reminder of why and how to do this?  Read Emerging Mummy's Practices of Mothering and Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond.  If you have other great resources or ideas, please add them in the comments.

People who don't feel well usually don't act right.  We know that.  But sometimes we need to be reminded.  If your child's behavior is telling you that something is wrong, take a look at possible physical causes.  There might be more going on than meets the eye.

Even though it is hard, I don't think I am especially good at it, and I rarely feel like doing it, I know that play is one of the most important things I can do with my children.  Besides all of the skills that children acquire through play, it is the key to two of their deepest needs: power and connection. 
Most of us tend to think of stories as being nothing more than entertainment.  But they are also a fun part of our parenting toolbox.  Jesus was a storyteller.  The Bible is made up of stories.  Stories are a wonderful way to communicate Truth and encourage connection.

Big emotions are challenging at any age, and the truth is that many of us are still learning how best to handle them.  By working consciously with our children, we can give them a stronger, healthier emotional foundation.  That is one of the greatest legacies I can imagine.

It is so easy to tell our children to use their words.  Honestly, though, we adults have a lot of learning to do when it comes to words, too.  It starts with giving clear instructions.  Keeping our directions simple and precise.  Telling what *to* do, not just what *not* to do.  Making sure that our tone of voice doesn't distract from the message.  As we practice, we will become much more fluent communicators.

We look for ways to say yes as much as we can to each other.  Not just them to me or me to them, but all of us honoring the other and seeking to understand and bless each other.  That kind of intention is a powerful thing.

Opening Up the GD Toolbox:  Connection
We all know that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.  This is especially true of relationships with our children.  Before they can focus on the lesson we need to teach, they have to feel safe and know that we understand where they are coming from.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A teacher once told me that when a child acts up in her class, instead of sending him to a corner for a time out, she pulls up a chair close to her desk and has the child sit near her. She gives more attention rather than less.