Connection with kids can certainly be one of the most powerful positive parenting tools. This article talks about connection before correction.
An inquisitive 5 year old girl has an idea. “What would happen if I add water to our freshly mixed batch of homemade play dough?” she wonders.
Her mom is busy folding clothes while she crafts play dough flowers.
After some time, her wondering thoughts turn into experimentation. Before she knows it, she realizes she has turned the batch of play dough into a slimy sludge that is covering the kitchen table and floor.
Her mom peeks in on her daughter to comment on her sculpting and sees a sea of blue sludge all over her daughter and the recently mopped floor.
She has a choice, to connect first or to jump to correction.
Positive discipline seeks to empower children and strengthen the parent/child bond.
By making your child feel better, they will want to do better. While punishment leads to a battle for control, positive discipline helps the parent and child work together. This article about 10 positive discipline tactics to rely on mentions this as one of them.
Connect before correcting.
Connection Can Be One of Your Most Powerful Positive Parenting Tools
If you can put this into practice, any correcting that you do will be much more effective, and you will have given yourself another chance to deepen your connection with your child.
What does this look like?
There are two parts to this, the connection and the correction.
Connecting. There are many ways you can connect first. Validate feelings, offer a hug, listen, these are all ways we can connect first. This tells our children that we care, that we understand and that they are safe.
Correcting. This does not mean punishment or a lecture, but rather finding a solution in a respectful manner, or simply having a discussion.
Continuing the story from the top, the mom is left with a choice. Connect or correct.
She took a breath.
Then, quietly asked her 5 year old, “tell me about what you are making?”
She looked at her mom, then the floor, then her mom again, and wide-eyed asked, “are you mad?”
The mom had a choice. She could yell, roll her eyes, ask her to leave the room, and crush her. Or, she could use this as a chance to connect, to better understand, and even to teach.
She chose to connect.
She responsed, “no I’m not mad. It looks like you are working really hard. There is quite a mess though – we can clean it up together.”
The little girl looked down again, “I was playing with the play dough, and I wondered if I could turn it into slime so I kept adding water. It kind of worked but it’s not stretchy at all….it does feel really cool though.”
“Wow! Do you know what that means?? You’re a scientist!”
“Yes! And when something doesn’t turn out the way you expected in science, that doesn’t mean it failed, it means you learned something! Now, you know that adding water to play dough doesn’t make it stretchy, but it does make it really slimy and fun to squish.”
“I love being a scientist. But, this is kind of a big mess, can you help me clean it up?”
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