Does she have the dexterity for thecup? Am I willing to support theidea that she is going to dropthat cup a whole bunch of times?
“It’s 5 o’clock in the afternoon,”
Barker says, setting a common scene.
“Your son’s tired and you’re kind
of cranky. You just got off work and
you’re in kind of a hurry. Just take
that moment to stop and think,
what’s going on here? Ask yourself
what you need to do to make this go
Barker recommends a little bit of
coaching and information on the
way to the store. “Tell your son:
‘We have to go in and we’re getting
two things and then we’re coming
right out again.’ Perhaps give him a
snack, and, depending on his age,
you could get him to help you in the
store. Send him ahead in the aisle to
find the cheese strings or yogurt.” By
thinking ahead, you won’t be forced
to react to an emotional hiccup in the
middle of the grocery store.
In fact, Barker and other parentingexperts suggest parents regularlythink ahead, far ahead to the long-term goals they want for their kids,instead of doling out individualpunishments and rewards in themoment.
One way to do this is to borrow
advice from The Positive Discipline
Program. Developed by Joan
Durrant, a clinical psychologist at
the University of Manitoba, for the
Swedish agency Save the Children
in 2007, the program has since been
enthusiastically adopted in more
than a dozen countries. It helps guide
parents away from punishments
and rewards, says Susan Patenaude,
the former provincial coordinator
of Alberta Network for Safe and
Healthy Children at the Stollery
Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.
“One of the first questions parentstaking Durrant’s positive disciplineprogram are asked is: ‘What doyou want your child to look like at20 years old? What kind of persondo you want your child to be?’ “Patenaude says.
With that vision in mind, andwith a better understanding aboutchild development, parents canbegin to teach their children howto solve problems, communicateand be confident, kind, responsiblepeople—goals that are actuallystymied by hitting or yelling,ays Patenaude.
Positive discipline is about helpingthem solve problems. “It really allowsparents to think big picture andthink about the teaching that they’redoing as opposed to making a childbehave. It gets away from that narrowkind of thinking and sees parentingas a nurturing, teaching processas opposed to punishment,” saysPatenaude.
The Positive Discipline Programwas initially developed to offerparents alternatives to physicalpunishment.
“Lots of child abuse starts off asdiscipline that gets out of hand,”Patenaude says. Positive disciplinemethods show parents how to dealwith conflict with their kids in a non-violent, solution-focused, respectfulmanner that’s based on the child’sdevelopmental stage.
Getting away from usingpunishments and rewards toinfluence a child’s behaviour givesparents a lot more freedom torespond. “When your child does this,