Friday, February 10, 2012

Still wondering about discipline


You will do this because I said so.
I am the adult.  You will NOT do that to an adult.
You will sit here until I tell you to move.
Why are you doing such bad stuff?

I wonder what the child heard?
I wonder what the child felt?

I wonder if we hear ourselves talking like this?

I wonder if there is a way to remind ourselves about the need for reflection?

I wonder how often parents and educators take time to revisit these moments, and consider more

I wonder what could be said that would help
build a child
to shine a light on the path he/she should go?

I wonder how many of us think about the way we speak to children?

I wonder what would happen if we spoke to children the same way we spoke to our best friend?

I wonder if children already and always know we are in charge?
Don't we tower over them?
Aren't they dependent on us for everything?

I wonder why we respond in a controlling, angry, reactive way?
Especially to behaviors that are developmentally in the norm?

I wonder what would happen,
when a preschooler

shouts at us
sticks a tongue out at us
refuses us
hits us
kicks us

if we held the thought..
just for a moment...

"this is developmentally in the norm"


I wonder what would happen if we whispered a response to their angry voices, daring to model a calmer presence


I wonder what would happen if we calmly repeated the larger message - "We do not hit.  We are safe here" or
scripted some better behaviors for them, such as,
"put your hands on your hips," "take a deep breath"


I wonder what would happen if we simply held the angry child, to keep him/her from hurting others, and retained our calm voice - "I see you are very upset.  I'll hold you until you are calm.  We'll talk then."


Or - if we are seething, unable to be calm,

I wonder what would happen if we simply told the child that
we need to take a break 
and then walked away, for a moment,
daring to model more appropriate ways to deal with frustration and anger?

I wonder if it is easier only in the short run
to bark at the child
and insist that we are in control?

I wonder why we call this discipline?
I wonder what we are teaching?

I wonder what would happen if we dared to apologize to the child for our angry voice?
I wonder what would happen if we asked for a "do over"?

I wonder if there's always going to be tension between
doing what is best for the child
and getting our own adult goals accomplished?

I wonder how to make peace with the tension...and reflect?

I wonder what would happen if parents and educators continually reflected on their discipline techniques and approaches?

I wonder if our children deserve no less?

1 comment:

  1. A beautiful reflection Maureen.
    Thank you.
    A little bit of serendipity, I just came across this link about Developmental Discipline
    In the end, I believe our work as teachers, parents, mentors and community members is based on our View of the Child/Children.
    This is such an important post.