Over the last couple weeks, Jennie and I have loved the opportunity to attend two great parenting workshops, thanks to Beech Acres! I know this is a really busy time of year for a lot of families, especially with sports practices starting up. These workshops are literally life changing in how to parent your kids! I agree that the best gift you can give your kids is a good relationship with their parents. You don’t have to “have problems” to go to a workshop – it’s simply how you can re-charge your parenting batteries and fill your “toolbox” with resources to be a better parents and help understand your kids. Think about it, we can all be better and continue to learn!
Here’s what we learned from The Discipline Solution with Scott Osterfeld:
Goals for Discipline
Discipline is a process of supporting children in discovering four primary things:
- They are loved and valued unconditionally (stop saying, “I love it when you….clean your room”! What children hear is conditional love, “I only love when you clean your room”.)
- There are consequences to their actions and choices
- They are responsible and accountable for their actions
- They are able to solve problems and effectively cope with the challenges of life
As parents, our goals are to TEACH our children and educate them so they can negotiate the world successfully. It’s good and appropriate for children to test boundaries, they are learning how their actions have consequences. Look at their “testing boundaries” as a positive thing! (Another reminder of how kids need structure and boundaries!)
Our two biggest mistakes as parents when we discipline our kids:
1. We talk too much!
2. Get emotional (this includes getting angry!)
There are two types of consequences:
1. Natural Consequences (i.e. if you play on the chair it may fall)
2. Logical Consequences (which are tied to the transgression)
Here are a few tips to help you with logical consequences:
- establish the rule in advance
- closely follow the transgression so the child makes a connection b/w behavior and consequence
- you need to be consistent!
- reframe your request
You have to be proactive vs. reactive and also being patience and positive really changes the entire situation around! For instance, instead of using threats with Luke (he’s changed SO much since he turned two!!) such as: “If you don’t sit in your high chair you’re not eating your lunch/dinner/snack, etc.” use a positive attitude and reframe your request to: “hurry up and get in your highchair so we can eat your lunch, I have your favorite…strawberries!” What was once a fight over the highchair is now “OK mommy!” I use it all the time and it has made my life SO much easier! When we’re getting in the car was once “Luke, I’m not chasing you around the house! Hurry up and sit down or you won’t be able to come with me!” is now…”Let’s hurry and get in the car so we can listen to your music, what song do you want to listen to?” It’s music to my ears to hear him say “OK mommy, Humpty Dumpty!” and he’s actually waiting for me by the door! LOVE IT. (One thing worth noting is that you have to use things that will motivate your child, you’re not bribing them you’re reframing your request in a positive way!)
We’ve also had meltdowns from him not wanting to wear a coat during the winter. So a “natural consequence” we did was…”Luke, go outside and feel how cold it is.” He would feel the door and run to me asking for his coat.
Another thing to keep in mind is when your child is “acting out” step back and take a look at the bigger picture. Kids have a really hard time showing their emotions and often it comes out as hitting, yelling, (in our case, chasing or hitting the dog) and a full out meltdown. Label their feelings “are you frustrated?!”. Follow, don’t fight, your children’s emotions. It teaches them not only that it’s okay to feel a certain way but with your coaching it can help teach them how to better show those emotions they’re having.
This was just the tip of the iceberg of everything that we learned in ONE HOUR! It was seriously great stuff and we loved Scott Osterfeld, he was an awesome speaker and if you ever have the chance to see him (you can also find him at Kids Learning Through Play conference) we would absolutely recommend seeing him!
Next Month’s conference is “Moms Matter Too!” on Thursday, May 12th from 7:00-8:00pm at the Beech Acres Administration Building. You can find registration details on their website.