Be the Consultant: Don’t Rescue (Discipline Skill #3)
Discipline Skill #3:
Be the Consultant. Don’t Rescue.
Instead, Guide Your Child to Solve His/Her Own Problems
It is understood that parents must play many roles in raising responsible, caring, and cooperative children. At different times, in different circumstances, depending on their child’s age and needs, parents are nurturers and protectors, they are teachers and guides, they are role models and advocates.
Yet one of the most important roles a parent can play in raising responsible, caring, and cooperative children is one that parents typically may not even consider, much less know how to perform. That is the role of consultant to their child. It is a somewhat difficult role, and may or may not come naturally for any given parent. It is certainly one that requires a real balance between the natural tendency to help the child by protecting and supporting, versus the natural tendency to help the child by teaching right and wrong, or guiding the child in how to do what’s right and how to do it well. The consultant role actually provides the child with a bit of all of these parental blessings: protection, support, teaching, and guiding. With this approach, you are “teaching her how to fish” instead of just “giving her a fish” (the way a baby’s “mommy” might do).
Being a consultant has two important parts. Continue reading
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