One Man’s Experience with Positive Discipline

by Heligirl on September 12, 2011

in Mom Tip Monday,Parenting Articles

A couple of weeks ago I asked a question on the Heligirl Facebook page about how to parent and gently guide kids through those rough stages, such as the ferocious threes (which have nothing on the terrible twos) with positive discipline.

One reader and a great friend shared something that was so powerful, I asked him if I could post it here. I love how he changed his technique and the incredible example of how using positive discipline helped him connect with his son. Here is what he wrote about dealing with his son who was acting out:

I decided to invert my response, and I recognize that I was multi-tasking too soon for his level of maturity. Usually when I stopped what I was doing, and went hands on, gently, and spoke to him face to face and guided him through whatever the issue was, it worked out well.

The other thing that helped reduce melt downs and conflicts was redirecting and diverting him to something else. It was easy because their attention span is short. But I had to be cautious not to be buying him out of a conflict with me by providing what might be a reward, such as food, sweets, or TV time.

Jen, it was partly because of your blog a year or two ago that I realized I was getting mad and that phrase you used “positive parenting.”

I didn’t want to demonstrate anger for him, and he didn’t deserve a swat on the rump for “correction” when I was responsible for everything that happens in my house, including preventing conflict and having reasonable expectations of a baby in a toddlers’ body. My rules or instructions, still at 7 years old, are based on my experience and perception of time, commitments, and orderliness in our home, car or public behavior venues.

A little person can’t possibly understand consequences in my life or adult propriety unless he was walked through it step by step repeatedly in a kind and gentle, appealing way. He and I have developed this great trust and closeness now. I rarely have to discipline him now, and he is willing to go calm down, just try to talk his way through his tears and mini frustrations if I take a time out with him.

I did not have that kind of nurturing as a boy, but instead, my frustrated and emotionally disturbed mom spanked me every day, over minor things. We still have an emotional distance. I’ve broken the cycle and I’m helping my wife try to focus on prevention too.

My observation is that we get ourselves too busy for kids’ cognition speed. Being organized helps too. I love being a father. And I must make sure he believes that with all his heart, even when I have to be firm.

Recently, surprisingly, he’s developed this sense of humorous observations of people and circumstances. Little jokes and quips are popping out much to our delight. I’ve told him that’s it’s his job to have fun and love us, and ours too, but we also have to “protect and guide him” at all times. That got me big hugs.

Ok, are you all teared up yet? This man is a firefighter/arson investigator. He’s a big guy. And I mean tall. He’s well over 6 feet tall and I’ve never seen him less than excited about whatever he was doing. He’s a helicopter pilot too, so that’s how I know him in real life. Hearing this kind of heartfelt, honest confession from such a man is an amazing testament to the power of Positive Discipline.

Please consider joining the conversation. Follow Heligirl on Facebook and share your Positive Discipline story, ask a question, or share a resource. I look forward to hearing from you.


Krista September 12, 2011 at 5:50 am

I’m so glad you posted this. I love it. Especially the part about a little person not being able to understand the consequences of an adult life. I need to remember this more often. SIGH. I’m trying.

Twitter: Heligirl
September 12, 2011 at 9:43 am

I felt the same way with that very part of his story. Sometimes it is hard to remember they don’t get our world yet. It’s all about having patience, something I know I could always use more of. Don’t beat yourself up for not succeeding every time. The trick is to succeed more than we don’t. 🙂
Heligirl recently posted: One Man’s Experience with Positive Discipline

Erin September 12, 2011 at 9:00 am

This may sound odd, but that’s why, if I have to label myself, I call myself a positive discipline parent. I don’t “follow the rules” of positive discipline per se, but my daughter and I have a smoother relationship, imo, because I take the time to get on her level and help her process her emotions. I think of new or infrequent situations and how she might feel about them and arrange the family’s actions to the situation accordingly. Only on the days when I’m so clogged up myself do we have issues, because I’m not on her level, I’m trapped inside my own, which she can’t understand.

The downside to this is that my husband often tells me that I let her run the show, but he means it negatively. She gets choices and consequences like any other kid, but they’re not the verbal or physical that he is most accustomed to. My mom always got better results with silence, and I’m finding that, along with some extra communication later, is more effective for me.
Erin recently posted: 34 Weeks

Twitter: Heligirl
September 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this Erin. What a great thing you’re doing with your little girl. I agree with you wholeheartedly about getting down to their level. I have the worst days with my kids too when I am too busy or wrapped up in my own stuff to get on their level. I’m so glad this is working well for you. Stick to your guns. I get flack my my hubby too on many discipline things, but on a whole, we really do keep it positive.
Heligirl recently posted: I Have an Excuse, or Five

Vanilla Bean Girls
Twitter: VanillaBeanG
September 12, 2011 at 10:07 am

Aw….yes, it’s all about being positive! I actually just did a series on parenting issues I see as a social worker/children’s therapist if you want to check it out Jen. I just did the last wrap up section and posted today.
Vanilla Bean Girls recently posted: Parenting is one tough job! – part 4

Twitter: Heligirl
September 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Thanks. I’ll try to check it out soon.
Heligirl recently posted: I Have an Excuse, or Five

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