Traditional discipline often focuses on what not to do – often blaming, shaming or humiliating children when they make a mistake, in an attempt to “teach” them to behave. Isn’t it interesting that we think we have to make children feel worse before they can do better? Positive Discipline focuses instead on teaching children what to do. They don’t always get it right the first time, but they do learn. We can start by modeling the courage to be imperfect ourselves– acknowledging and repairing our own mistakes. We can also:
- Ask curiosity questions when children have an issue: What happened? How did it happen? What were you trying to accomplish? I wonder what you try next time?
- Remember that your children are children. They are not mini adults. Just as toddlers have to fall down repeatedly before they can walk, our children need to make lots of mistakes as they learn.
- Model and teach the 4 R’s of recovering from mistakes:
- Re-gather – Make sure everyone is calm.
- Recognize – “Wow, I made a mistake.”
- Reconcile – “I apologize.”
- Resolve – “Next time I will…” or “Let’s work on a solution.”