060: Discipline your child today for better choices and actions tomorrow

To T.E.L.L. and discipline a child involves more than noticing a behavior that needs to be punished. It’s more about noticing a moment where your child is trying to get his or her needs met in inappropriate ways. As the adult, your intent should be to discipline a child to help him or her develop self-control in this circumstance, to make a better choice in the future.

You discipline to help the child get over the current situation and be better next time.

Have you given the time to process and practice the information in the last three posts? Have you practiced disciplining in ways that develop the child’s thoughts and choices? What and how have you taught, encouraged, listened, and loved when experiencing a disciplinary situation with your child?

Discipline is about developing self-control.  Here are the links to the previous three posts for those interested in thinking and practicing T.E.L.L.ing a child while disciplining him or her.

#1: How to TELL and discipline a child?

#2: Discipline with (the right) feeling

#3: Practice and teach self-control with (the right) feeling.

We emphasize the ‘right’ feeling above. You may want to read this post to see what we mean by that: Are you raising your child ‘right’?

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About the author of this post:  Denise Forrest, Ph.D.

Denise is a mother of three grown children and has been a teacher to thousands of students.  She is the creator of the TELL message and Founder of TELL Our Children, Inc. Denise also serves K-12 schools as an educational consultant focusing on mathematics education and instructional decisions for student learning. You can contact her by emailing denise@tellourchildren.org.

 

 

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059: Practice and teach self-control with (the right) feeling

In the previous two posts, we have been talking about how we discipline and T.E.L.L. a child: How to TELL and discipline a child and Discipline with (the right) feeling. 

We’re talking about how we discipline children so they begin to learn how to self-control their behavior and emotions. You want the child to learn consequences, positive and negative, throughout childhood. You want the child to understand emotions and ways to respond with each feeling.  Our feelings are related to how you and the child view the current circumstance.  To some degree a child is disciplined every day by how you respond; in particular, how you control your emotions.

When a child constantly experiences blame for an adult’s emotion, there comes a point in time when the child adopts this belief and behavior. The other day I heard an adult say “How dare you make me feel guilty?”

mother scolding

The child, or another person, is not making this adult feel guilty. The situation made the adult feel that emotion, but this adult was not owning his own emotion. When an individual blames the other person for a negative emotion, the real issue cannot be addressed. It becomes a bigger problem when a child experiences this continuously because the child is more than likely to then grow into an adult who doesn’t know any better than to blame others for how they feel.

In the previous post, I mentioned the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Here is another excerpt from this book, somewhat paraphrased for our conversation here:

“We are responsible to others and for ourselves. Many times the others in your life do not have enough strength, resources, or knowledge in the current moment. They need help. Denying ourselves to help others when they cannot do for themselves is how we show love and care for that person.

“On the other hand, everyone has responsibilities that only he or she can carry. It is each person’s daily responsibility to take ownership of certain aspects of their life. Among these responsibilities are feelings, attitudes, values, and behavior. Problems arise when people act as if they are not responsible for these aspects of life.”

Adults are responsible to the children in their life. Children need adults to provide strength, resources, and knowledge throughout childhood. However, adults are not responsible for a child when the child is capable of doing something on his/her own. It is also during childhood when children learn to take ownership of personal daily responsibilities such as how they feel, behave, etc. Depending on how the adult responds and how the adult disciplines, children learn.

How are you responding to the children in your life? Are you there to help when the child lacks the knowledge, strength, or resources? Do you discipline so the child begins to develop self-control, or do you tend to just control every time?

What about emotionally speaking? How do you respond to your child’s feelings? How do you communicate yours? Do you discipline yourself first when your feelings are negative? How do you help the child recognize and discipline his or her feelings?

 

About the author of this post:  Denise Forrest, Ph.D.

Denise is a mother of three grown children and has been a teacher to thousands of students.  She is the creator of the TELL message and Founder of TELL Our Children, Inc. Denise also serves K-12 schools as an educational consultant focusing on mathematics education and instructional decisions for student learning. You can contact her by emailing denise@tellourchildren.org.

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058: Discipline with (the right) feeling

The last Show & T.E.L.L. post brought up what it means to discipline in a T.E.L.L.ing way (How to TELL and discipline a child). I emphasized that a child is disciplined in order learn self-control in a specific situation. I am curious to hear if you practiced any of the suggestions provided when disciplining a child. Did you find yourself saying “this makes sense, if only I remember it in the heat of the moment!”

So true – our feelings can get the best of us. When we are angry or frustrated, we tend to react. That’s why the fourth point in the previous post was to discipline without anger. Learning to discipline from a caring place is one of the major principles for T.E.L.L.ing children.

I think most would agree that it is much easier to discipline when you feel good. The challenge is when our feelings are hurtful, such as when we feel frustrated, angry, disappointed, or sad. It is during these moments that you as the adult have to discipline yourself first. You discipline yourself so the feeling/emotion does not control your response, and your wisdom does.

Here is an excerpt from Dr. Henry Cloud’s & Dr. John Townsend’s book Boundaries:

“Feelings come from your heart and can tell you the state of your relationships. They can tell you if things are going well, or if there is a problem. If you feel close and loving, things are probably going well. If you feel angry, you have a problem that needs to be addressed. But the point is, your feelings are your responsibility and you must own them and see them as your problem so you can begin to find an answer to whatever issue they are pointing to.”

So when you feel angry, or another hurtful feeling, recognize there is a problem that needs to be addressed – and the child is not the problem! Yes, the child may be very involved in the situation; however, the child is not the cause of your feeling. When a child misbehaves, for example he hits or bites another child, you feel frustrated; the issue is not the child. The frustrated feeling lets you know there is a problem with how the child is thinking. He believes he must hit to get his needs met. Or, maybe the child is frustrated so the child allows the emotion to control what he or she does.

During childhood, it is critical for children to begin learning how to self-control their emotions. Children learn how to develop self-control of emotions largely by how the adults respond when disciplining. Emotions are central when disciplining, especially yours. More on self-control in the next post.

 

About the author of this post:  Denise Forrest, Ph.D.

Denise is a mother of three grown children and has been a teacher to thousands of students.  She is the creator of the TELL message and Founder of TELL Our Children, Inc. Denise also serves K-12 schools as an educational consultant focusing on mathematics education and instructional decisions for student learning. You can contact her by emailing denise@tellourchildren.org.

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057: How to TELL and discipline a child?

I am often asked for my opinion on disciplining a child. Typically, the conversation centers on whether I believe in spanking or punishing children. The caregivers  want to know if you focus on T.E.L.L.ing your child, can you still discipline him or her? I thought I’d respond to this question in today’s Show & T.E.L.L. blog.

First, I’d like to clarify the purpose of any disciplinary action, whether it be a spanking, timeout, sent to a room, taking away a privilege, etc.

You discipline a child in order to teach him or her to make a better choice. You want the child to gain a better understanding of how actions also choose consequences. You discipline because you believe the child should develop more self-control in a particular situation.

When a child is disobedient, making poor choices, he or she requires discipline. The child needs instruction to teach him or her to make a better choice. He or she needs to gain a better understanding of how this action has negative consequences. If the disobedient behavior is not addressed, the child will more than likely continue thinking and therefore behaving this way given similar circumstances.

Because children need correction, they need discipline. Adults must T.E.L.L. children to behave in appropriate ways! If not you, then who?

T.E.L.L.ing a child means you focus on changing the child’s mindset. You teach and encourage the child to think in ways that allow him or her to make better choices. So when you discipline, if you also wish to effectively T.E.L.L. your child in this moment, consider these ideas:

1) Discipline promptly because a young child’s mind is in the present. You want to connect the inappropriate behavior with discipline. You want the child to link the action to a consequence.

2) The punishment, i.e., spanking, time out, etc., may get your child’s attention and get them to link the inappropriate behavior with the punishment; however, to effectively T.E.L.L., you also give time to work on changing your child’s mind. You Teach, Encourage, Listen, and Love new ideas about how to better behave in this situation.

3) When you T.E.L.L., focus on one or two good ideas to help your child better understand positive and negative consequences, as well as allow your child to make a better choice in this situation. Most importantly, make sure the ideas make sense to your child so the child will more likely remember the new ideas in the future.

4) T.E.L.L. without anger because children will focus more on your negative emotion than your words. Discipline of any kind is most effective when you remain calm.

As my children were growing up, I most often used timeouts. At first the timeout location was in a chair in the same room.  Rather quickly, my children learned the timeout rules were they had to sit quietly until the timer went off; the timer did not start until they were quiet and calm, and once the timer went off they had to tell me why they believed they were put in timeout. I followed the general rule I’d heard somewhere, never more minutes than their age, most often less than that. For example, at 2 years of age, put anywhere from 1 minute to a minute and a half on the timer, never more than 2.

Once the timer went off, we would talk about why they were put in timeout as well as what they could do differently and why. If appropriate, we would practice the situation using the new ideas.

As my children got older, the timeout moved to their room. I would send them with a piece of paper and pen to write me a letter about what just happened and what they may need to think about doing differently in the future. How I wish I still had those letters!

Bottom line: you discipline a child in order to teach him or her to make a better choice. Try and do more than just punish the child. Try and help the child gain a better understanding of how actions have negative and positive consequences. Help the child develop a sense of self-control. That is how you discipline and effectively T.E.L.L. your child during those moments.

My opinion? Children need discipline. We all need discipline. I can think of areas in my life where I should be more disciplined. Can’t you?

So let me know, what strategies do you use to discipline your child? What strategies do you use to discipline yourself? Send me an email with your strategies.

 

About the author of this post:  Denise Forrest, Ph.D.

Denise is a mother of three grown children and has been a teacher to thousands of students.  She is the creator of the TELL message and Founder of TELL Our Children, Inc. Denise also serves K-12 schools as an educational consultant focusing on mathematics education and instructional decisions for student learning. You can contact her by emailing denise@tellourchildren.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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