discipline doesn’t have to be a dirty word

Two weeks ago, I attended a course on early childhood development at The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (which is kind of an intense name of an organization, don’t you think?)

The thing is … the folks at the IAHP spend most of their year working with brain-injured children and have incredible success rates in changing the course of the lives of littles who suffered seizures as infants, who live with autism, who are born with cerebral palsy, who suffer brain injury from accidents, who have behavioral problems due to undiagnosed ailments and injuries, and the list goes on.

They are an incredible group of individuals.

And a few times a year, they open their doors to the parents of “well-children” in the hopes of giving us a better understanding of how the human brain develops, how we learn, and how we can create an environment for our children to embrace their innate love of learning.  And since I’m in the midst of exploring a lot of different homeschooling curriculum, it just seemed like a good idea for me to attend this course.

Actually, this is the second course I’ve taken at the Institutes.  I took the first one a few years ago, when our oldest was just 2 years old.

Now, at 4, she’s reading a little, and writing more, and starting simple math, but I felt like I needed a boost … like I needed to be reminded of everything I learned the first time.  This “graduate” course seemed like exactly the right thing.

And now that I’m home, I’m only a little overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed with how much I can still be doing.

How much I haven’t done exactly right (although exactly doesn’t matter much … it’s just about the doing.)

It’s an incredible program … and if I can share one tidbit from this week that has already had a transforming effect on our home:  One whole day of the program was about Social Growth, the Law and the Policies that govern one’s home and how they impact childhood development.  Incredible.  So simple.  Basic.  Obvious.  And a common sense approach to creating a “sane” environment at home.

Have you ever read Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham from ahaparenting.com?

Or ever seen those “rule boards” on Pinterest?

the rules

They all teach the same thing … discipline (or setting boundaries, or establishing the law, or defining the parameters we live by … depends on who is sharing the information about how it’s worded) is good for kids.  Not: “hitting is good for kids.”  “DISCIPLINE” is good for kids.  But discipline doesn’t work if we don’t let our kids know the rules.  (How can we expect them to know the rules if we don’t tell them what they are?)

So we took the advice from all these places pretty literally.

We had a family meeting.

Announced “The Law.”

Posted it on our front door.

the law

Designated our time-out spot.

time out

And here we are.

yes, they’re posing … but it’s not something they don’t do several times a day now so I didn’t feel so bad asking them to show a little love 🙂

One week and one law down … next … “pinching” … good thing we have the rest of their lives to get it right 🙂

NOTE: it doesn’t work if we’re not consistent … which is the most challenging part of this whole endeavor.  But in just one week our house has become a much more sane environment.  It’s not perfect.  But we’re moving in the right direction and that feels good.

How do you deal with discipline in your house?





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