Discipline: the Latin root word disciplina means both “teaching” and “learning.” (E.g., a disciple learns from a master who teaches.) If there is no learning occurring, there is no teaching occurring.
The Three Discipline Skills
We might say that a general goal of discipline is to teach children to care about themselves and others: Cooperation, Accountability, Integrity, Responsibility, and Empathy. New School Discipline rests upon the parent’s ability to dialogue and reach agreements where the child makes his/her own decisions.
Skill #1.Co-create (negotiate) clear agreements about two things:
- Behaviors (Things you either want or don’t want your child to do.)
- Consequences (Include positive and negative consequences.)
- Don’t let them off the hook for breaking their agreements. Rescuing children through inconsistency is a way of telling children they’re incompetent.
- You-and-Me Dialogue: “How are going to treat each other?”
- Support your partner’s decisions with the child. Discuss later if necessary.
- Be clear on who owns the problem. If the child does, not solve it; guide the child to solve it. This is like teach them to fish instead of giving them the fish.
- Use a 4 or 5 step process to guide the child in solving his/her problem.
The Parent’s Commitment to Dialogue
In my New School approach to discipline
, the parent negotiates agreements instead of imposing rules because a person–including children–will be more likely to cooperate when s/he has participated in setting his/her own limits and behavioral expectations. In and of itself, the dialogue
process is Continue reading
Influencing the Child to Change
How the Parent Influences the Child to Change
In a different article I described the dynamics of harmony in music as an example of why the parent must be the first to change when parent and child are in conflict, or discord. In another article, I explained why the parent — not the child — must be the one to change first in these conflictual situations.
This is a radical departure from normal parenting behavior (yelling, demanding, arguing) because it constitutes a “backing off” by the parent from the discord and conflict of the moment. Rather than giving a misbehaving or angry child a “time out” or a tongue lashing, the parent gets “in harmony” with the child’s upset feelings and desires at the moment not by getting angry or yelling, but by empathically moving into harmony with child by being aware that “there’s disharmony here.” Thus the parent elevates the interaction to a higher level by backing off from the war of wills through empathic attention. Then the parent takes the time-out to think things over and plan the next steps, and what s/he is going to do and say.
Now I want to describe the next steps a parent can take to influence the child to make a change.