The Positive Parent Project bases all its trainings on the Positive Discipline approach to child-raising. Our work is founded on the principle that for children to become responsible, respectful and resourceful members of their communities the way parents interact with their children needs to reflect these same principals.
Positive Discipline focuses on bringing out the best in children and ourselves in a way that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults. It intends to give children a healthy model to copy as they move out into the world and interact with those around them. We believe the role of the parents and child-carers in each child's life is to teach them social- and life- skills in a manner that is respectful, nurturing & kind to both the children and the adults.
Positive Discipline is an approach to child-raising works on the premise that for children to 'do' better, first they need to 'feel' better (instead of being made to feel worse; in fact aren't we all like that too?) and that there are no bad children, just some bad behaviours that need to be moulded into good ones. We want parents to be healthy, strong guides and mentors for their kids and we want children to WANT to do good and WANT to maintain a strong, happy relationship with their parents at all costs (instead of being forced to or having to). So we believe that adults need to treat children with firmness, respect AND kindness at the same time maintaining a balance that is neither permissive nor punitive (and not swinging from one side to the other with inconsistency either!).
The five criteria for using Positive Discipline.
Ask is what we're doing..?
1. Mutually respectful and encouraging? (Kind and firm at the same time.)
2. Helping children feel a sense of connection? (am I building a sense of belonging, importance and love in my child?)
3. Effective long-term? (am I considering what my child is thinking, feeling, learning, and deciding about himself and his world and what to do in the future to survive or to thrive or am I just dealing with this very moment?)
4. Teaching important social and life skills? (am I modelling respect, concern for others, problem solving, and co-operation as well as the skills to contribute to the home, school or larger community?)
5. Inviting children to discover how capable they are? (Am I encouraging the constructive use of personal power and autonomy in my child or shutting them down?)
Five components of Connective Parenting
- Unconditional acceptance of the child provides a strong foundation for self-confidence. Connective parents understand that children come into the world whole and ready to absorb—but on their own time schedule and with their unique way of learning. We gain the greatest understanding of our children by listening and watching each child’s developmental process. It is in this place that children thrive and a parent’s influence is strongest.
- Respect teaches respect. The connected parent acknowledges and is considerate of her child’s agenda whatever it is. She sees that what is of interest to her child is just as important to him as what is of interest to her. Emotions and desires are always acceptable and acknowledged even when the objects of interest cannot be granted.
- All children (all people, actually) want to do the right thing and will do so as long as they can. If the child is not in a receptive state, she will not learn. In other words, she must want to learn and hear what is being taught. It should never be assumed that just because she is your child, she will do what you want. Resistance means that she is having a problem, not being a problem. There is an obstacle in her way of doing what she knows is right. It is that obstacle that must be addressed in order for behavior to change.
- Behavior provides clues for a parent to understand what is going on with his child; what it is that provokes his child’s behavior. There is an underlying need that results in unwanted behavior. If the behavior is addressed with rewards or punishments, that underlying need is missed, and the behavior must get louder and more dramatic in an attempt of the child to be heard. Behavior should never be taken at face value.
- Punishment is never effective. Even consequences, the “pc” word for punishment, are usually threats and lay conditions on behavior….”If you don’t do…, you can’t do….” Connective parenting relies on problem solving and conflict resolution to truly hold a child accountable and responsible. When threats and blame are not used, defensive behavior is unnecessary and the child is free to see the true consequences of his behavior, state his side of the story and work out a compromise that works for all involved. Again, it is about the relationship. If your spouse speaks rudely or ignores you, you wouldn’t threaten to take his cell phone away or prevent him from playing golf this weekend. You would attend to the relationship.