When my children were in preschool, it seemed I was always one step behind my kids when it came to discipline; No jumping on the couch!” “Stop fighting!” and “Put your brother down!!!” Also, my kids always had a reason for their misbehavior, ie., I’m not jumping; he started it, and he likes it. So any “no, don’t or stop” from me cultivated an argument – yes you are jumping; or a discussion — he started what; or a screaming match — PUT HIM DOWN NOW!!! In fact, much of what I said to the kids started with no, don’t or stop.
At Tuesday’s Child, I learned to use scripts that were encouraging and provided a clear message what my child should do. “Your feet belong on the floor” (it’s the rule – they can’t argue that); “stop and listen to each other, do you need my help?” (Listening is a great tool for them to learn to use in a disagreement, and I really should get involved before it gets out of hand), and “your brother’s feet belong on the ground. He is crying – he is not having fun.” Firmly reminding kids what they should be doing, instead of yelling out limits and restrictions changed the overall tone in my house. My kids were much more apt to listen to the encouraging mommy – instead of the mad mommy. I also empowered by kids by letting them make their own choices and taught them about making good choices at the same time. When my 5 year old wanted a cookie 10 minutes before dinner, I didn’t say “No way, dinner is in 10 minutes” because that would send him into a tantrum. Instead, I said “that’s a great choice for after dinner, I’ll put it right here on the counter so we’ll remember it’s your dessert”.
Discipline: Taking the “NO” Out