Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Gift of Discipline workshop, week 1

Normally I just sign up for these free parenting workshops for the free child care, and don't care at all about the topic. But the title "Gift of Discipline" really got me excited. When it comes to dealing with our toddler, I certainly need the gift of discipline bestowed upon me.

Today's class was about positive parenting, a seemingly unrealistic utopian philosophy in which one focuses on positives rather than negatives. But I have an open mind, so I give you the Five Key Aspects from my handout:

1. Ensuring a safe, interesting environment.

This is all about keeping the knives up high and stuff like that. My motto is "If it's within William's reach, William will play with it." So when I leave the cereal out on the table after breakfast, and I later find a toddler sitting on the floor, waist-deep in frosted flakes, I really have no one to blame from myself. Also, teacher says that an interesting environment doesn't mean that it has to look "like Toys R Us threw up in your basement." Too late.

2. Creating a positive learning environment.

This sounds like a repeat of #1, but this is actually where they talked about paying attention to the positive behaviour. So I shouldn't be calling attention to the fact that William has been throwing things and hitting people. No, I should only reward positives. For every negative thing I comment on, I have to point out at least ten positive ones. Kumbaya.

3. Using assertive discipline.

Okay, you got me. I don't really get this one, but then my lack of assertiveness might be my problem. I tried telling him how to behave ("We don't throw blocks. Look! We make a tower with them."), but I felt like a big faker.

4. Having realistic expectations.

Every time I provided the group with a scenario, I was told "you have to remember that he's only two, not five." Of course what I heard was "Your method of using no discipline whatsoever is totally the right thing. Good job."

5. Taking care of yourself as a parent.

I think taking time to write this blog entry counts. Ah yes, I'm feeling relaxed already.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, it pained me to see you get upset when Hunter threw that crayon. I know for you it was kind of the crayon that broke the camel's back, I mean after William constantly dumped that basketful.

You behaved exactly as William did when you were his age and all my friends were using the smarmy positive parenting logic. They encouraged me to take parenting courses at night. Oh sure, hire a sitter just so you can review your horrible day with the kids.

I dunno, try to get him to take naps so you both get a breather.

Anonymous said...

I was working on taking out all the screws that I placed in my walls. (packing and patching) Zoe had the screw driver and next thing I new poked a whole through the wall. First thought was cheap drywall. Second was thank goodness it wasn't her eyes.

I attend many parenting courses. Some info. I apply and some I don't. Either way if we get through the day and everyone still has there sanity well I think of myself as a pretty good mom.

Don't be so hard on yourself. Toddlers will push our limits till we have hand fulls of gray hair. Then they say I love you and you melt.


I am so jealous you got in. I'm in Fit as a Fiddle doing jumping jacks. So far I've learned I'm out of shape.

Betsy McB. said...

Hi Jen, I love a good parenting course. Mostly they are reminders about positive ways to deal with everyone in your life. Yes, some of the strategies work for husbands, too! My favorite place to go for a meeting of like minds - and people who love to listen to you talk about your kids - was (big surprise) La Leche League. There's lots in the League material about parenting. In my edition of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding it's Chapter 15 - Discipline is Loving Guidance. Worth a read through! Another great resource that I learned about at League is the book, "How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk" I still use some of the "tricks" I learned there.
All of this brings back memories of days here with KT and Jamie - 17 months apart. Now, though I know my "looking back" glasses are more than a little rose-coloured - I see it all as the best days of my life. (Good enough that we even managed to produce child #3 when Kate was 3 1/2!!)
Thinking of you....
XO Betsy (Kate McB./Mills's Mom

Betsy McB. said...

P.S. It's "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk" by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.
Plus remember that you are very tired right now. New babies and toddlers do that to you! Be very kind to yourself, rest as much as you can and know that by summer so much of this will have sorted itself out. Yea for summer!!
XO again, Betsy McB.

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