Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gift of Discipline Workshop: Week 4

Today's topic was DEFIANCE (that feels like a word that should be in all caps doesn't it?). The talk was lead by the sibling rivalry expert from week 2 and involved lots of discussion, along with brainstorming on chart paper. Just like elementary school, I love it!

One of the things the expert drew on the chart paper was an iceberg. A child's behaviour is what's on the surface, and their feelings and reasons for that behaviour are all under the surface: they need attention, they're angry, they don't understand what they should do. If you only address the "tip of the ice berg" the you aren't dealing with all the underneath stuff. Okay, so it's an overused metaphor and the writer in me is screaming against clichés. The whole point is, I think, to understand why a kid is doing what they're doing, and to address that, rather than just the behaviour itself.

The expert also talked about "Time-In" which is supposedly the opposite of time out. The idea is that we tend to send our kids away to their rooms or whatever just when they need us the most: when they're out of control and need help dealing with strong emotions. With this "Time-In" you sit with them, cuddle them if they let you but give them space if they need it, and do whatever you can to help them deal with they feelings. I know, gag me, but a lot of parenting is about warm cuddlies and this is actually similar to what I do naturally. It's not the opposite of a time-out though, says the writer in me, it's a time-out where you hang out with them. Calling that the opposite of time-out, would be like saying that ice cream with chocolate sauce is the opposite of ice cream.

After the talk we received five hand-outs. Three of them were about the time-in thing (so I guess this is the hot new trend). One of them is about positive reinforcement and how to listen "reflectively" (yawn). The last lists strategies to change a childs behaviour, one of which is time-out, which the expert specifically frowned upon. Talk about mixed messages. I just don't think anybody expects me to actually read the hand-outs.

1 comment:

zydeco fish said...

I've always thought the time-out was to give the parent a break so they won't inflict physical injury on the child :-)

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