Sunday, May 30, 2010
Positive Discipline Tool Card - Kindness & Firmness
Kindness and Firmness at the Same Time
Some of us have a tendency to be too kind. Some of us have a tendency to be too firm.
Dignity and respect is created when you are kind and firm at the same time.
“I love you and the answer is, ‘No.’”
“I’m sorry you didn’t get ready for bed in time for a story. I have faith in you to be ready on time tomorrow night.”
The most important part of this Positive Discipline Tool Card (and probably the most difficult part) is learning how to be "Kind and Firm...AT THE SAME TIME". All of us know how to be kind, and most us know all too well how to be firm. But combining the two is a real art form. Personally I haven't mastered it yet. I have a tendency to be too kind until my children take advantage of me and then I have a tendency to be too firm until they conform to my wishes.
This will be a good concept to focus on this week. I'm not exactly sure how to be kind in the heat of the moment. Maybe I will incorporate some deep breathing techniques and start counting to 10. If you have any specific examples of situations where you incorporated kindness and firmness at the same time, that would be very helpful to share.
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My example isn't about a discipline issue really but it's an experience I had with my 13 year old that I'm proud of.
My daughter takes voice lessons and was to do a master class, which involves her singing in front of her fellow students and teacher. She voluntarily signed up for the class and then the day of, started letting me know she really didn't want to do it. Then as we were getting ready to get into the car, she told me that she wasn't going. She was in tears and said she didn't know it well enough and that she just couldn't go.
I was so tempted to take over and call the teacher and make an excuse for her because it's so hard to see your child so upset and nervous (and I wouldn't have had the nerve to do it either so I could totally relate!).
I thought for a minute, and then said really firmly but definitely kindly, that I KNEW she could do this, she had been practicing and working towards this, and that I could understand that she was nervous. I reminded her that she had made a commitment that she needed to follow through on and that her teacher was counting on her.
She pleaded all the way to the class for me to turn around and was really mad at me for taking her, but after the class she was practically skipping out, and was proud of herself for following through (and she wasn't so mad at me anymore!).
I'm way too kind and my son knows it. He also looks at me as the nurturer so, with discipline, it's a difficult balance to strike. A friend suggested this approach: "I love you but I don't love it when you are disrespectful." Or whatever. It seems to resonate.
And I know my son's "currency" - his DS player. That gives me tons of leverage!
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