Teachers Host Positive Discipline Book Club

By Becky Langerman | Brevard, NC

Over the past six weeks, Tina and I have facilitated a Book Club based on the the book Positive Discipline:  The Classic Guide to Helping Children Develop Self-Discipline, Responsibility, Cooperation, and Problem-Solving Skills by Jane Nelsen, Ed.D. We, along with a group of about eight parents and teachers, read two chapters per week and came together on Wednesday evenings. We discussed our thoughts about the content, what we’d tried, and what worked or didn’t work. We also lead some experiential activities to learn more about implementing Positive Discipline in our homes and classrooms.

Positive Discipline is a method that emphasizes discipline as a way of parenting, as opposed to punishment or rewards. Based on the work of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikers, this model of parenting is designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful, and resourceful members of their communities. Positive Discipline teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults.

Dr. Nelsen identifies five basic criteria for Positive Discipline. That it:

  1. Is Kind and Firm at the same time. (Respectful and encouraging)
  2. Helps children feel a sense of Belonging and Significance. (Connection)
  3. Is Effective Long-Term. (Punishment works short term, but has negative long-term results.)
  4. Teaches valuable Social and Life Skills for good character. (Respect, concern for others, problem-solving, accountability, contribution, cooperation)
  5. Invites children to discover how Capable they are and to use their personal power in constructive ways.

One of the most important realizations that we made together as a group was that we are all in the same boat. As parents, we all have struggles and issues that we have no idea how to handle, or that we’ve handled badly in the past. Recognizing that we are doing the best we can, while continuing to learn and grow shows our children that it’s okay to make mistakes (and take responsibility). We explored the consistency in the themes we were learning throughout the chapters:  behavior is a child’s way of communicating to us (children just want to belong); being kind and firm; deciding what we will do and following through; and to replace punishment with teaching so that children can see mistakes as opportunities to grow.
This model is used in many Montessori schools because it embodies so much of what is already inherent in the philosophy. At Mountain Sun Community School, our teachers believe that children are worthy of the respectful manner in which Positive Discipline offers them to grow and learn. Tina and I became certified trainers in Teaching Parenting the Positive Discipline Way so that we could teach parents the valuable tactics we use in the classroom so they  can then carry these methods over into the home. Positive Discipline works best when it is consistent in all areas of a child’s life. We offer learning experiences in Positive Discipline once per school year. We hope you’ll join us in our journey together as a community of parents!

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