Monday, August 22, 2011

More than Just Words


Ø      Tone   Ø      Volume   Ø      Pitch    Ø      Body Language

Enlightened Discipline, just like any other method can be abused or misused. I can talk and teach all day long about the “right” words to use when teaching Enlightened Discipline, but like any other method, an individual can manipulate the concept with their tone, volume, pitch or use harsh body language with a child and still technically say the correct words.

Those who are parents or have been teachers in a classroom alone for any length of time absolutely know what I mean.

You can say, “Karen it’s not clean to put your feet on the wall at naptime. Put them on your plastic mat.” The perfect Enlightened Discipline approach.

But all that teacher has to do is: clench her teeth, point with a silent and scolding look in her eyes, raise her tone in volume or a shrieking pitch, (even a quiet, threatening whisper) or loom with her adult body in an intimidating fashion and anything “enlightened” is lost.

I encourage teachers to pass the baton to a new team member when they begin to be frustrated by any child. Know when it’s time to call for a new person to take over. With children, sometimes that’s all they need. The conflict may just be a power struggle with YOU and you can win by bowing out. The same thing applies with two parents. Sometimes the second parent can come in and it changes to whole picture.

Power struggles are no-win for teachers or parents. The whole point to Enlightened Discipline is teaching the child to win in life by behaving in ways that are win-win for the whole world. When your emotions take hold and you want to use the old ways, bow out. Find a partner to help. Once you have pushed back against the force of the child’s will the tug-of-war has begun. The only appropriate way to end it is for YOU to drop your side of the tug-of-war rope.  Ask a team member (second parent or older sibling) to pick up where you left off. Their new tone, fresh demeanor will usually work.

Teaching or parenting alone? It’s harder. You will need to give yourself a lot of leverage and drop the tug-of-war rope, (figuratively speaking) immediately, come back in a few minutes with a new perspective and back on track with Safe, Kind and Clean.

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