14 strategies parents need to know
Making a connection means creating a feeling of closeness and trust before using any of the many respectful and encouraging corrective methods suggested in the Positive Discipline books. Whenever possible, correction includes involving children in focusing on solutions instead of punishing them for mistakes. Effective connections are made when both child and adult feel belonging and significance–even though it is the adult who takes the first steps. Some of these steps to connection are: 1) Listen. Really listen. Stop doing whatever you are doing and give your child your full attention. 2) Validate your child's feelings. Don't we all feel connected when we feel understood? 3) Share your feelings when appropriate. Remember that children will listen to you AFTER they feel listened to. Children feel special when you respectfully share something about yourself. (Respectfully means no stories about "walking miles in the snow.")
It is important to understand that correction the Positive Discipline way is different from conventional correction. Positive Discipline correction respectfully involves children—whenever possible, doing things with them.
A Story from Kavita: Davishan, age 16, was a natural athlete. His parents enjoyed his enthusiasm and encouraged him to channel his energies into sports. The only problem was the level of competition. Davishan was starting to lose the enjoyment of striving by channeling all of his thoughts toward winning. He became distraught for days on end if he did not win.
Calling for a quiet time one afternoon, the father looked his son straight in the eyes with such love and respect that Davishan turned away. After some time, he asked the boy questions about competing and listened to every word the boy had to say. Davishan was afraid his father would stop him from competing. So, he was taken completely by surprise when he asked what Davishan thought they should do to improve his frame of the mind when he lost a game. Davishan offered that he could work more on excelling and helping his teammates than on winning. Dad liked that, and added that they could work through it together. Only if that did not resolve the behavior problems would they need to consider alternatives.
Kavita has a correction to make, but is wise enough to first give Dipanjali her full love and attention, and to listen to her daughter's side before warning her about the dangers of being alone. Dipanjali, feeling very grown up at age 10, had walked back from her girlfriend's house unaccompanied in the dark.