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Positive Discipline Techniques

As a parent of a toddler I was very keen to find some positive discipline techniques and ones specifically focused on positive discipline for preschoolers.

The following book: Positive Discipline held some answers for me as well as another mother who wrote this excellent review of how these techniques helped her and her child.

Please share with us your review of Positive Discipline or any other books that have had positive discipline techniques in that you have found helpful for you and your child in their first three years. We would love to add them to our site for other parents to enjoy.

Positive Discipline: The First Three Years: From Infant to Toddler--Laying the Foundation for Raising a Capable, Confident Child
By Jane Ed.D. Nelsen, Cheryl Erwin, Roslyn Ann Duffy
Three Rivers Press (2007)

Book Review by Charlie's mum: An At-Home, Objectivist, Mommy Blogger.
Read more from her blog Principled Parent

positive discipline techniques

I was reading Positive Discipline: The First Three Years: From Infant to Toddler--Laying the Foundation for Raising a Capable, Confident Child . I finally finished reading it and I thought it might be helpful to share the things I learned from the book and how I am applying the ideas concretely. Here's what I learned:

Show a child what to do instead of what not to do (pg. 103).
An example of this is when a child hits you instead of saying "stop that!" you can say "touch nicely." Charlie has some teeth coming in right now so he's taken to biting us--he has sharp little piranha teeth too! "No" only seems to exaserbate the situation so we tell him what he can do with is mouth. We say things like "Can you give mommy/daddy kisses?" We also redirect by telling him that his teeth hurt and that he needs a teether. When giving him the teether we tell him that it is an OK thing to bite when he feels like biting.

Keep in mind a child's developmental appropriateness (pg. 112).
Before reading this book I was taking Charlie's unwanted behaviors personally as if he was defying me. I no longer do this. I remind myself that Charlie is trying to explore and that I just happen to be the recipient of some unwanted behavior because of this exploration.

Young children lack effective impulse control (pg. 170).
This makes their responses immediate and beyond their conscious control. This is part of the issue of developmental appropriateness. He is not able to stop himself from pinching my arm. When he is frustrated and wants my attention he doesn't think, "Gee, if I just touch mommy's arm nicely I will get her attention." He is frustrated and he acts on impulse which gets him my immediate response.

Distract and redirect (pg. 122).
This is key to keeping my days calm and respectful. I don't want to tell Charlie "no" all of the time. I want him to know what he is capable of doing so I give him activities or objects that are acceptable for play. When he finds something he should not have I use redirection. One example is when Charlie takes a toy and bangs it on our coffee table. This is an unwanted behavior because it is destructive. In this instance I gently take the toy and say something like, "We can bang your light saber on the couch. Watch mommy." I proceed to show him what is allowable. Or I find something that he can bang and make a loud noise, which is what is so intriguing to him. The truth of the matter is telling him not to bang only makes him more interested in the aciton so it is counterproductive.

Offer limited choices (pg. 131).
I've started offering Charlie choices. An example is when we are in a store he can either sit in the cart or he can hold mommy's hand while we walk around. Of course what he really wants to do is run about the store like a wild man, but that is not acceptable behavior nor is it safe. If he doesn't want to hold my hand I let him know that he has made his choice, put him in the cart and move on. After quite a bit of repetition he now holds my hand (for the most part) without trying to run off. He's getting that he either holds hands or sits in the cart. It feels good to give him agency.

Shut your mouth and act and do it with a positive attitude (pg. 144).
This was said in relation to how to handle temper tantrums. Jane Nelson gives three reasons as to why to avoid words:

1. He can't hear them anyway.
2. Often, words are like throwing fuel on the flames.
3. Silence reminds you to stay calm.

True, true true!. When Charlie gets wild and I talk to him it never yields the results I am looking for. It either gets him more upset or it gets me upset. In these moments I stop talking and persist in whatever needs completing--say an unwanted diaper change--or I redirect him to something else. It keeps my part of the interaction calm and helps to diminish the volatility of the moment.

Don't get hooked by your child's behavior (pg. 146).
It is so easy to be hooked into a tantrum--to become upset myself and to become a part of the unfolding drama. Sometimes it is best not to respond to a behavior. I've found that when Charlie shakes our bookshelves he is doing it for attention. When I don't become part of the situation, by giving him the attention he wants, he has stopped shaking them. In an event where this doesn't work or isn't appropriate I redirect or distract.

Give names to feelings (pg. 150).
I've been doing this most when Charlie begins to get upset. If he's smashing something or starting to scream I tell him something like, "I can see that you feel frustrated because you are hitting that toy on the chair. I'm sorry you feel upset. Would you like to play ball with me and the dog?" I acknowledge his feelings, I give him a name for them and then I help him move on.

I now have many more tools for my parenting toolbox. The difficulty is integrating these ideas into my subconscious so that I automatically respond in a positive way. This will just take a lot of repetition and practice. I'm well on my way because I use these tools everyday. I am happier and so is Charlie. There are fewer temper tantrums in my house now--from Charlie and myself. I look forward to more Positive Discipline reading so that I can add even more tools to my parenting toolbox.



Positive Discipline: The First Three Years: From Infant to Toddler--Laying the Foundation for Raising a Capable, Confident Child (Positive Discipline Library)

Read More Book Reviews of Positive Parenting

Please share with us your review of Positive Discipline or any other books that have had positive discipline techniques in that you have found helpful for you and your child in their first three years. We would love to add them to our site for other parents to enjoy.


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