Humanistic Discipline The Esin Action

For the parent(s)

Example: Set an example of willingness to change by asking your child to help you. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, ask your child to say, "Don't even look!" when you are offered the dessert menu in a restaurant.

Explanation: With very young children: Look for at least one chance a day to explain what you're doing. For example, when your child is finished drawing, say, "Let's put away the crayons now. We don't want them in the way when we set the table for dinner." Or, "So they won't get lost."

For older children: Before introducing new rules, discuss the explanation with your parenting partner. Discuss whether, in this case, it would be appropriate to discuss alternatives with your child.

Encouragement: Together with your parenting partner, read "Five Reasons to Stop Saying 'Good Job!'" by Alfie Kohn (www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/gj.htm), or watch the video "How to Praise Children" (www.greatergood.berkeley.edu/ half_full/?p=55). Think about something each of your children has done that deserves encouragement. Role-play what you will say to your child. Practice encouraging each other, too! It feels good, and you can give each other feedback on whether your words are truly encouraging.

Engagement: Whether you're thinking of discipline as "getting your kid to do what you want her to do," or "teaching your kids life-skills," engaging them in choosing goals and the means of achieving those goals is your best hope for success.

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