Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Three Strategies

Discipline. First, I want to clarify things a little bit. I believe in the power of language. So I'm going to look at definitions of a few words first. Punishment a penalty inflicted for an offense, fault, etc.; severe handling or treatment. Discipline to train by instruction and exercise Strategy a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result Solution the act of solving a problem, question, etc. I think there is a desire to go for punishment and solutions because those sound more final, more conclusive. Solving a problem. Penalty for offense. But I think parenting is more effective when I use discipline strategies. Training by instruction and exercise. Having a plan in order to obtain a specific goal. Guiding, teaching, by specifically chosen methods. That is what I strive for as a parent. And where I find myself right now is not having a plan, not following a plan, being reactive rather than proactive. Responding to things as they come rather than being engaged. Step one of getting back to where I need to be is to reconnect with the strategies that I have known to be effective for my kids as well as for my family, my home, and for me. Which is why I chose the book that I did. Side note- The great thing about this book (and the other books written by Moorman/Haller) is that they are applicable to almost any age. You can really start in with these strategies around age 3, depending on the child, and I think they are also set up to be very effective with teens, too. I'm going to start with the Introduction. The Introduction gives a lot of examples of the behaviors that we, as parents, see and want to change. Whining, lying, pouting, fighting, not following curfew, not returning borrowed items, etc. And also talks about generally followed courses of managing these problems. Some parents give quiet explanations. Others use behavior management charts colorfully decorated with stars and stickers. Some offer rewards, praise or eloquent lectures. Other strategies include yelling, spanking, bribing, threatening, pouting, giving children the silent treatment, dispensing guilt, shaming, ordering, criticizing, and nagging. Some punish children into submission with an escalating series of consequences. I bolded the 3 that I am most "guilty" of. And I know they don't work. Here's what the authors have to say about these methods. None of these strategies are effective. They all create tension, resistance, and distance. None are respectful or loving. They are all manipulative and controlling. They foster temporary obedience to an outside authority, not the development of an internal guidance system that can be used for personal direction. They train kids to mind, not to develop self-discipline, self-reliance, or self-motivation. These parenting strategies do children's thinking for them rather than teach children to think for themselves. They do not help children create a strong sense of personal power. The power of having these 3 strategies that the book will delve into is that they apply in any situation. On vacation, in the grocery store, at home, church, or wherever. The authors compare it to the 3 primary colors. All other colors are built from red, blue, and yellow. These 3 strategies are the primary colors of discipline. When you watch Super Nanny, for example, each episode is packed with various techniques for all kinds of problems. Different naughty spots, bedtime routines, self care routines. It can be hard to know what to pick, what works when, and to remember all the rules of the various techniques. These 3 strategies from Moorman/Haller are a solid foundation and they can link together, build from one another. You keep these 3 with you- easy to remember, easy to apply, easy to build. Just reading the introduction has me energized. Remembering why this is so important to me. Why I am so invested in being the "best" mom. I can do this and I can do this really, really well. The Introduction concludes by giving a brief synopsis of what each of the chapters will cover. Chapter One, "The One-Minute Behavior Modifier," will help you learn a technique for eliminating negative behaviors. In Chapter Two, "The Dynamic Discipline Equation," you will learn how to hold your children accountable for their actions and behaviors with love and consistency. Chapter Three, "The Positive Anger Explosion," describes techniques that will allow you to communicate annoyance, irritation, and frustration in a way that lets your child know that you are clearly angry, yet refrains from attacking character or wounding the spirit. Chapter Four, "Putting It All Together," will show you how the only three discipline strategies you will ever need are connected and interrelated. Is this ringing true with anyone else? Are you finding yourself nodding in agreement? And to be clear... I will never be perfect and I absolutely know that. Even if my every wish were granted, life would still be challenging. I'm not trying to be better than anyone else or set myself as any kind of standard. I just know that my kids deserve my best. And I know there are other parents out there who feel the same way. So when I share about my struggles and my efforts to improve... it's selfish to the point that I'm doing it for my family but it's broadcast because my journey might help someone else.

Don't forget to leave comments, links to your own posts about this process and contest...

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Okay, this sounds like a book I need! I'm so behind on blog reading :( What's the book? I'll have to see if I can find it on your blog - or drop me a note if you have a minute, please!