The Art of Positive Discipline

I had a whiny little girl in my office the other day. It was clear to me the mother had gotten used to all that irritating behavior. Not that she liked it. Just put up with it. You could see she was unhappy and stressed. I stopped my conversation with her and turned to her daughter. “Laura,” I said, “You’re going to have to stop whining because I can’t hear your mommy.” That only worked for about three minutes. So [drumroll, please] in came the consequence. Use Natural Consequences I told her, “I know you really want to leave. However, I need to speak to mommy. And I will speak to mommy. But if I can’t hear her or she can’t hear me, I’ll have to stop and wait for you to quiet down before we can continue. So your noise will make the whole visit take that much longer.” Well, folks, you could hear a pin drop. That child just turned into an angel in front of my eyes! Her mom beamed, I’ll tell you. And by the way, she was only four. She understood. Clear as a bell. Clever Way To Explain Time Out Some time later, she–quietly–started kicking the chair. I chose not to address her again because that would have paid entirely too much attention to her misbehavior. As she was sitting right next to her mom, I said to the mother: “Now that is a good illustration of when to use time out. You put her in that corner right there for four minutes. Get a big portable kitchen timer and set it.” The...
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