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Gentle Discipline Alternatives to Traditional Discipline

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Old 06-30-2007, 11:39 AM
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Post 25 Ways to Talk so Children will Listen

25 WAYS TO TALK SO CHILDREN WILL LISTEN

A major part of discipline is learning how to talk with children. The way you talk to your child teaches him how to talk to others. Here are some talking tips we have learned with our children:

1. Connect before you direct. Before giving your child directions, squat to your child's eye level and engage your child in eye-to-eye contact to get his attention. Teach him how to focus: "Mary, I need your eyes." "Billy, I need your ears." Offer the same body language when listening to the child. Be sure not to make your eye contact so intense that your child perceives it as controlling rather than connecting.

2. Address the child. Open your request with the child's name, "Lauren, will you please..."

3. Stay brief. We use the one-sentence rule: Put the main directive in the opening sentence. The longer you ramble, the more likely your child is to become parent-deaf. Too much talking is a very common mistake when dialoging about an issue. It gives the child the feeling that you're not quite sure what it is you want to say. If she can keep you talking she can get you sidetracked.

4. Stay simple. Use short sentences with one-syllable words. Listen to how kids communicate with each other and take note. When your child shows that glazed, disinterested look, you are no longer being understood.

5. Ask your child to repeat the request back to you. If he can't, it's too long or too complicated.

6. Make an offer the child can't refuse. You can reason with a two or three-year-old, especially to avoid power struggles. "Get dressed so you can go outside and play." Offer a reason for your request that is to the child's advantage, and one that is difficult to refuse. This gives her a reason to move out of her power position and do what you want her to do.

7. Be positive. Instead of "no running," try: "Inside we walk, outside you may run."

8. Begin your directives with "I want." Instead of "Get down," say "I want you to get down." Instead of "Let Becky have a turn," say "I want you to let Becky have a turn now." This works well with children who want to please but don't like being ordered. By saying "I want," you give a reason for compliance rather than just an order.

9. "When...then." "When you get your teeth brushed, then we'll begin the story." "When your work is finished, then you can watch TV." "When," which implies that you expect obedience, works better than "if," which suggests that the child has a choice when you don't mean to give him one.

10. Legs first, mouth second. Instead of hollering, "Turn off the TV, it's time for dinner!" walk into the room where your child is watching TV, join in with your child's interests for a few minutes, and then, during a commercial break, have your child turn off the TV. Going to your child conveys you're serious about your request; otherwise children interpret this as a mere preference.

11. Give choices. "Do you want to put your pajamas on or brush your teeth first?" "Red shirt or blue one?"

12. Speak developmentally correctly. The younger the child, the shorter and simpler your directives should be. Consider your child's level of understanding. For example, a common error parents make is asking a three-year- old, "Why did you do that?" Most adults can't always answer that question about their behavior. Try instead, "Let's talk about what you did."

13. Speak socially correctly. Even a two-year-old can learn "please." Expect your child to be polite. Children shouldn't feel manners are optional. Speak to your children the way you want them to speak to you.

14. Speak psychologically correctly. Threats and judgmental openers are likely to put the child on the defensive. "You" messages make a child clam up. "I" messages are non-accusing. Instead of "You'd better do this..." or "You must...," try "I would like...." or "I am so pleased when you..." Instead of "You need to clear the table," say "I need you to clear the table." Don't ask a leading question when a negative answer is not an option. "Will you please pick up your coat?" Just say, "Pick up your coat, please."

15. Write it. Reminders can evolve into nagging so easily, especially for preteens who feel being told things puts them in the slave category. Without saying a word you can communicate anything you need said. Talk with a pad and pencil. Leave humorous notes for your child. Then sit back and watch it happen.

16. Talk the child down. The louder your child yells, the softer you respond. Let your child ventilate while you interject timely comments: "I understand" or "Can I help?" Sometimes just having a caring listener available will wind down the tantrum. If you come in at his level, you have two tantrums to deal with. Be the adult for him.

17. Settle the listener. Before giving your directive, restore emotional equilibrium, otherwise you are wasting your time. Nothing sinks in when a child is an emotional wreck.

18. Replay your message. Toddlers need to be told a thousand times. Children under two have difficulty internalizing your directives. Most three- year-olds begin to internalize directives so that what you ask begins to sink in. Do less and less repeating as your child gets older. Preteens regard repetition as nagging.

19. Let your child complete the thought. Instead of "Don't leave your mess piled up," try: "Matthew, think of where you want to store your soccer stuff." Letting the child fill in the blanks is more likely to create a lasting lesson.

20. Use rhyme rules. "If you hit, you must sit." Get your child to repeat them.

21. Give likable alternatives. You can't go by yourself to the park; but you can play in the neighbor's yard.

22. Give advance notice. "We are leaving soon. Say bye-bye to the toys, bye-bye to the girls…"

23. Open up a closed child. Carefully chosen phrases open up closed little minds and mouths. Stick to topics that you know your child gets excited about. Ask questions that require more than a yes or no. Stick to specifics. Instead of "Did you have a good day at school today?" try "What is the most fun thing you did today?"

24. Use "When you…I feel…because…" When you run away from mommy in the store I feel worried because you might get lost.

25. Close the discussion. If a matter is really closed to discussion, say so. "I'm not changing my mind about this. Sorry." You'll save wear and tear on both you and your child. Reserve your "I mean business" tone of voice for when you do.


*** I can't remember where I copied this from. It has been in my files for at least a year? I think it is from Dr. Sears. I hope you can benefit from it.***
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Old 07-25-2007, 03:45 PM
Mishka Mishka is offline
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Thank you RVM!!!!
I so completely enjoyed this post!!!!
I believe I'll print it, fabulous advice
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Old 07-26-2007, 12:07 AM
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Hypnotista Hypnotista is offline
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Also, a quick note. In later life, when people have unresolved inssues with their past, SO SO SO much of it can be attributed, at least in part, to feelng as though they were not heard, understood, or that their good intentions and intelligence were misinterpreted.
Often, during regressions, this is the stuff that needs clearing...often more so than the dramatic traumas we adults mistakenly assume must be at the heart of unhappiness. A child who feels valued and understood is amazingly (and much more) resiliant of heart and mind.


Taking the time to make sure your child knows s/he is understood thoroughly can do much to alleviate tantrums, and irritability...

It is such a great investment in your child's future happiness and stability.

Yay for moms-n-dads like you guys. SO inspiring.
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Old 07-26-2007, 04:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypnotista View Post
Also, a quick note. In later life, when people have unresolved inssues with their past, SO SO SO much of it can be attributed, at least in part, to feelng as though they were not heard, understood, or that their good intentions and intelligence were misinterpreted.
Often, during regressions, this is the stuff that needs clearing...often more so than the dramatic traumas we adults mistakenly assume must be at the heart of unhappiness. A child who feels valued and understood is amazingly (and much more) resiliant of heart and mind.


Taking the time to make sure your child knows s/he is understood thoroughly can do much to alleviate tantrums, and irritability...

It is such a great investment in your child's future happiness and stability.

Yay for moms-n-dads like you guys. SO inspiring.

I find that very true. Let's just say I used to tell my mom and still do occassionally "you may hear me, but you aren't listening!" after she told me "I hear you" when she wasn't responding to anything I was saying. My mom is not a bad person, but I wish she used those techniques above when I was younger. Heck, even some of those NOW would work
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Old 07-26-2007, 04:59 AM
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Raw Vegan Mama Raw Vegan Mama is offline
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Talking Glad :)

I am so glad you all find this info useful. I have never really run into anyone in real life (when I emailed it to them) who thought it was worth much. To me, it is priceless!

Dream -- Maybe you could pass this on to yor mom, saying that you found it and thought it was great for when you have kids. (The thought of her being a grandma might just get her to read it! heehee!)

Hypno -- Thank you so much for that insight. I always wonder how much damage parents can do, and think, with your profession, you are one of the people who know first hand what it can do.

Mishka -- What a fantastic reminder: I should print this myself.
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:30 AM
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Hypnotista Hypnotista is offline
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In humble truth...the thanks should go to people like you, who in spite of its challenges, actively pursue conscious parenting. It doesn't have to be perfect...cause the simple fact is...it's big time better!

Although I am not a parent myself, I am an active aunt, and my sis and her SO are not very considerate of their kids. BY listening to you GOOD, attentive moms and dads, I learn how to become a better aunt, so that I might mitigate some of the harm being done by their mom & Dad. So THANK YOU.

More importantly, hopefully when professionals in areas like mine work with good parents, we can create future communities that are joy filled and compassionate- emotionally sustainable if you will.

Ultimately, my goal is to see a day when kids are so caringly parented that jobs like mine are almost obselete! LOL.
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Old 07-26-2007, 06:26 PM
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dreamrawalwz dreamrawalwz is offline
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Originally Posted by Raw Vegan Mama View Post
Dream -- Maybe you could pass this on to yor mom, saying that you found it and thought it was great for when you have kids. (The thought of her being a grandma might just get her to read it! heehee!)
Hehe, she IS a grandmother of 3 already. I have a MUCH older sister. My mom isn't getting any more grandchildren lol, but I guess I could pretend and use that as an excuse for her to read it...
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Old 07-27-2007, 07:04 AM
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I'm not even a mom (yet ) and this was great. Thanks!
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Old 09-26-2007, 05:54 PM
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This is so helpful! I'm printing it out for reference with my stepmunchkins right now.
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Old 09-27-2007, 12:00 AM
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Danny_banany Danny_banany is offline
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Thank you RVM,
I REALLY needed this, read it before but lost it!! Was just thinking lately I needed a refresher
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