Positive discipline. With dancing.

I don’t call it ‘time-out’, I call it ‘sit-and-think-time’.

Because I’m reading a book about positive discipline, where the central idea is that no child will behave better when made to feel worse, and that there is something between total permissiveness (which I hate) and do-exactly-as-I-say strictness (which I gravitate towards, but wish I didn’t). Secretly I harbour an inner headmistress that would like to silence unruly children with a good Scary Eyes Face, and leave it at that. Now I’ve got a boy myself, Headmistress Lady bats handbags at dawn with Feelings Lady, who just wants her glorious child to be so happy all the time, and yes of course we can make mess, and of course you can climb that bannister, and please stay as long as you like at the park, you little beaming thing I adore.

Feelings Lady gets on my nerves, and she’s no good in large doses for tumbleweed Henry, who already thinks he runs everything around here and should go wherever the heck he wants. I’m trying to find a middle way. There has to be one: my mum had a cracking line in Scary Eyes Faces, and she’s about as far from Headmistress Lady as they come. Lovely as a sunrise, but when the eyes came out, well. You’d had it.

I hope the middle way will include effective sit-and-think-time. One day. For now, Hen sits on the edge of the step watching my ticking timer with unbearable excitement. Because when the alarm goes off, he does a special dance. It’s got shoulder shrugs and everything. Not quite the learning experience I was hoping for.

(I might add that he thinks Scary Eyes Face is the opening challenge in a mother-son gurning competition.)


7 thoughts on “Positive discipline. With dancing.

  1. Now, I know I’m not a parent, and i know that Henry is young, but hear me out here. I went to a seminar once by this fascinating lady called Nicholeen and she has this whole system called “self-government” where you teach children these really basic principles and then remind them of those principles when they are in tough situations. She does it as a whole course, but she’s got a book that I’ve started reading called A House United (which you can buy on her blog teachingselfgovernment.com)

    Here’s a video/blog of a three year old telling the steps to one of the principles “steps to following instructions”

    p.s. she’s LDS and she’s coming to England in September to tour 🙂
    p.s.s. you should watch her on World’s Strictest Parents- it’s pretty special! http://teachingselfgovernment.com/videos

    • Ooh, this looks VERY interesting – thank you for sharing. I will look around her site and make notes!

      Oh, and you definitely don’t need kids to comment – I actually love hearing from people who don’t have toddlers of their own. I think sometimes they have a better idea of what counts as good behaviour 😉

  2. Hi Rachel Emily Meade Dick’s mum here. I just wanted you to know how much your blog adds to my day. You make me smile and you occasionally make me tear up……in your stories I see a life I used to live with most of the same concerns and issues to worry about. As each of our little ones came along I would worry too about being able to love another little body as much as ” this” little body that we already had…..7 babies later I can say… Parenthood stretches the heart muscles and there are no limits and that where there’s room in the heart there’s room in the home ( even if you sometimes have to jimmy it all around). Rach, thank you for being a little light in my sometimes dark days.

    Love Linda Meade x

    Ps. Turns out one of my good friends is mates with your mum. Elaine Wain.

    • Oh, thank you so much for this! I’m so glad you like to read it, and I just love hearing from people who have already been through it all. It reassures me that it’s all doable – and more than that, enjoyable!

      Yes, my mum and Elaine go way back! Adam and I were little toddler friends 🙂 Small world!

      Hope to see you soon xx

  3. ah yes, the discipline. i like what we saw on charlie & lola: the simmer-down chairs for when your family grows and you have two or more little people having squabbling episodes that find you pulling your hair out well before noon. i also have a friend who makes squabbling siblings do service for each other after standing out at the mailbox hugging for a minute solid.

    • I love both of those ideas! It’s like the Repenting Bench the Eyres recommend (have you read any of their books?). I like the idea of helping the children make up with each other rather than just telling them off – seems more constructive for their relationship.

  4. Pingback: The year of the wave | make a long story short

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