Us MommyBetas have been busy with our reading lately. Jennifer and I have been doing a lot of talking about how to discipline our 2 year olds. Between the two of us we've tried time outs, giving to the count of three and rationalizing - but how effective are these tactics really? So we started reading Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson. Positive Discipline is an approach that does not include excessive control or permissiveness. It is based on mutual respect and cooperation. What I like about this approach is that it incorporates kindness and firmness at the same time while teaching life lessons.
This statement from the author really resonates with me: "Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse."
From the perspective of two mother's raising toddlers here are some key learnings:
Be kind and firm: "Children learn responsibility when they have opportunities to learn valuable social and life skills for good character in an atmosphere of kindness, firmness, dignity, and respect." (p. 5) By being kind you're showing respect for the child and by being firm you're showing respect for yourself.
It's a disservice to give a child self-esteem; the greatest service is to teach them self-evaluation: "Instead of being dependent on praise and the opinion of others…Adults can help by teaching that mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn. By allowing them to experience failure, kids will figure out for themselves how to solve problems when they arise. They will benefit greatly from learning to be resilient so they know how to handle the ups and downs in life. Children benefit by having many opportunities to feel good about themselves when they make a meaningful contribution in their home, school, and community." (p. 28)
Children are capable: "Never do anything for a child that the child can do for himself... Children learn valuable life skills when parents take time for training, and then allow children to develop responsibility and self-confidence by practicing these life skills." (pg. 55)
I’ve already started practicing some of these strategies with Reese and I can already see a positive difference.