Excerpt from book: Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting  by Joan Durrant Ph.D.

Dr. Joan Durrant was the principal researcher and co-author of the Canadian Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth; a member of the Research Advisory Committee of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children and a co-editor of Eliminating Corporal Punishment: The Way Forward to Constructive Discipline (UNESCO).

Her book  positive discipline

 

10 to 13 years

Your child is about to enter puberty. Many exciting changes are about to take place.

13 year old girl

 

Her body will change. She is no longer a little girl. Your child is preparing for adulthood. But she is still a child.

This situation can lead to family conflict.? Why is family conflict so common at this stage?

Reason 1

At this stage, children want more independence from their parents. But parents worry that their children do not yet have all of the knowledge and skills that they need to make decisions on their own.

Reason 2

The huge changes happening in your child’s body can lead to moodiness. A child who used to be cheerful might suddenly become sullen and easily angered.

Reason 3

Children are spending more time with their peers and less time with their parents. Sometimes, they want to do what their peers do, even if their parents disapprove.

Reason 4

Children realize at this stage that they might disagree with their parents. They are forming their own beliefs and figuring out who they are as individuals.

Reason 5

During this stage, parents can feel afraid for their children. They might worry about their safety or their health. They might worry that their children will get into trouble or do poorly in school. Sometimes, parents feel powerless.

Together, these reasons can lead to frequent family conflict.

Friendships become increasingly important in this stage.

Friends are very important to children’s emotional wellbeing. They can be a great source of support, comfort and enjoyment. They can teach your child skills and help your child to develop new interests. Children need social supports just like adults do.13 year old black bly

But children’s growing interest in making and keeping friends can also lead to parental concerns. Parents often worry about “peer pressure” at this stage. Sometimes children will do things that their parents disagree with just to feel accepted by their peers.

A major parenting challenge at this stage is to keep your child safe while respecting his growing need for independence.

Ways of Building a Safety Net for Your Child

  1. Spend time together 
  2. do things together as a family
  3. talk with him about his friends
  4. listen to his worries and concerns
  5. recognize his accomplishments
  6. tell him about the challenges he will face in the coming years and let him know you’ll be there to help
  7. be honest with him
  8. be affectionate with him
  9. try to understand the feelings behind his behaviors 
  10. build her self-esteem help her to discover – and to like – who she is
  11. encourage her to believe in her own abilities
  12. help her to see her strengths and her special characteristics 
  13. be involved with her school
  14. go to school events
  15. get to know her teachers
  16. talk with her about her homework and offer your support
  17. take an interest in what she is reading and discuss it with her 
  18. get to know his friends ?let them spend time at your home
  19. meet their families
  20. attend events that he and his friends are involved in 
  21. Stay close – but at a distance ?know where she is and who she is with, but respect her growing needs for independence and privacy
  22. show her that you trust her and believe in her 

Ways of Encouraging Your Child’s Independence

  1. Help him develop his own sense of right and wrong 
  2. talk with him about risky activities and explain why he should avoid them, like smoking, taking drugs and dangerous physical dares
  3. talk with him about your values and listen to his 
  4. talk with him about the physical and emotional changes he will experience at puberty
  5. talk with him about the pressures he will face to do things that he thinks are wrong or dangerous 
  6. help him to plan ahead so that he feels prepared to face peer pressure
  7. help him to find ways of resisting peer pressure that will work for him
  8. Help her develop a sense of responsibility and competence 
  9. keep her involved in household activities
  10. ?talk to her about money and how to use it wisely
  11. ?involve her in developing rules and expectations for the family 
  12. Help him develop empathy and respect for others 
  13. encourage him to help people in need
  14. ?talk with him about what to do when others are unkind 
  15. Help her to think about the future 
  16. help her set her own goals
  17. ?talk with her about the skills and knowledge she would like to have when she is older
  18. encourage her to have a dream, a vision of what she wants her life to be
  19. help her find ways to reach her goals 

All of the building blocks that parents put into place in earlier years become very important now.

Building blocks of earlier stages that strengthen family relationships in later stages

Adolescence
Pre-teen years
Identity
Confidence
Respect for feelings Seeking information
Non-violent conflict resolution Independence
Respectful communication skills
Attachment Trust

Children who learned early in life that their parents can be trusted are now more likely to listen to their advice.

Children whose parents nurtured their independence when they were young are now less likely to be negatively influenced by their peers.

Children who had their feelings respected when they were little are now more likely to express their fears and worries to their parents.

Children whose parents fostered their confidence early on are now more likely to believe in themselves.

Children who have received support and guidance from their parents are now more likely to go to them before trouble strikes.

The relationship you have built with your child will be her anchor as she makes her journey through adolescence.

Problem Solving

10 to 13 years

young girl

 

In this stage, children’s social relationships become more and more important. They experience growing friendships, as well as conflict with their peers. They are learning about who they are, and who they want to become.

Imagine this...

Your child comes home from school in a very bad mood. She doesn’t want to talk to you and she sounds angry. You feel that she is being rude and are offended by her behavior. You want to teach her that she cannot speak to you that way.

Before you tell her off, think about your knowledge of her developmental stage. List as many reasons as you can for why she would act this way.         

Did you include reasons such as:?the stress of dealing with complex social relationships all day

anxiety about meeting teachers’ expectations for behavior and schoolwork all day

difficulty in learning certain subjects because of learning disabilities or ineffective teaching

worry about doing poorly on tests

fear that you will be angry about her school performance

being bullied by other children

being rejected by a friend or excluded by classmates

facing a difficult decision that will test her loyalty

difficulty in expressing her fears and worries

feeling pressured by peers to do things that you disapprove of

a desire to handle her problems on her own

feeling safe in letting out her frustrations on you

not getting enough sleep to handle all of the social and academic demands she faces

inadequate nutrition for her growing body hormonal changes that affect her mood?

If so, you have applied your knowledge of developmental level to figure out why your child would be upset or angry.

 

Summary of all that is going on in teenage brains. (13-20 years old)

from Charles Vella, Ph.D 

The implications are great concerning risk taking, ineffectiveness of punishment, reward seeking, and group influence. When we think of adolescence, we oftern concentrate on hormonal/social issues. We usually are not aware of how much organizing and growing and changing is going on in the brain. The kids have a lot going on in their brains all the time. Cut them some slack and also keep an eye on the influence of friends.  first Vella slide

second Vella slide

Third Vella slide

  

Responding with Positive Discipline

10 to 13 years

The situation

Your child comes home from school in a very bad mood. She doesn’t want to talk to you and she has an angry tone in her voice.

What should you do? Think about each of the following responses and decide which one is best – and why.

  1. Send her to her room without supper. ?
  2. Slap her for being rude. ?
  3. Tell her that you can see that something has upset her. Let her know that you will listen and try to help when she is ready to talk. If she talks to you, listen carefully and help her to find a solution to the problem. When she is feeling better, explain to her that it’s important for people to treat each other with respect, even when they are upset. Model this for her. ?

Step 1 – Remember your long-term goals

What are some of your long-term goals that are relevant to this situation?

Check off each response that would lead you toward your long-term goal.

  1. Sending her to her room without supper ?
  2. Slapping her face ?
  3. Recognizing and respecting her feelings, listening, supporting her, explaining?the importance of respectful communication ?

Step 2 – Focus on warmth and structure

Compare each response with what you know about providing warmth. For each response check off whether it would provide emotional security show unconditional love?show affection?respect her developmental level show sensitivity to her needs show empathy with her feelings

Now compare each response with what you know about providing structure. For each response check off whether it would

provide clear guidelines for behavior

give clear information about your expectations

provide a clear explanation?

support her learning?

encourage her independent thinking

teach conflict resolution skills

Step 3 – Consider how your child thinks and feels

Why do pre-teen children get moody?

    

Step 4 – Problem solving

Compare each response with what you know about developmental level. Check off each response that would respect your child’s developmental level.

  1. Sending her to her room without supper ?
  2. Slapping her face ?
  3. Recognizing and respecting her feelings, listening, supporting her, explaining? the importance of respectful communication ?

Step 5 – Responding with positive discipline

Now that you have thought about your long-term goal, ways of providing warmth and structure, and your child’s developmental level, which response would you choose?

If you chose #3, well done!

A note on children’s anger

One of the major tasks of childhood is learning how to manage and express emotions. This is a difficult task because emotions can sometimes keep us from thinking clearly. Emotions can lead us to act impulsively, saying things we wouldn’t otherwise say or doing things we wouldn’t otherwise do.

For a child to understand emotions and to be able to manage them and express them is a positive way is a huge task.

Sometimes children’s emotions overwhelm them. Just as they had tantrums in the early years, they might have angry outbursts in the middle years. Or they might simply be silent, unable, or afraid to express how they feel.

At these times, they need to know that they are safe and loved. It’s not really possible to have a calm conversation with your child when he is very angry. The best thing to do is to simply stay nearby, letting your child know through your actions that you are there if she needs you.

Once the storm has passed, you can talk about the issue and, by staying calm, you can show your child how to express feelings in a positive way. You also can show her ways of finding solutions to the problem that led to the outburst.

Remember that emotional storms do pass. And each one provides an opportunity to be a role model for your child.

The situation

Your child is spending a lot of time playing video games. Every day, you have to fight with him to get him to turn off the games and get his homework done. You worry that he is getting “hooked” on games and that he will lose interest in everything else.

What should you do? Think about each of the following responses and decide which one is best – and why.

  1. Unplug the video equipment and tell him that he won’t be able to play ever again unless he gets top marks in school. ?
  2. Show him how concerned you are by getting angry with him and threatening to throw away his books if he isn’t interested in them any more. ?
  3. Choose a quiet time to talk with him. Recognize that he enjoys the games. Explain why you are concerned about how much time he spends on them. Invite him to work out some rules with you regarding what games he can play and how much time he can spend playing each day. Reach an agreement that you both think is fair and post it beside the video equipment. Recognize his efforts to stick to the rules. ?

Step 1 – Remember your long-term goals

What are some of your long-term goals that are relevant to this situation?     

Check off each response that would lead you toward your long-term goal.

  1. Unplugging the equipment and requiring him to get top marks in order to play ?
  2. Getting angry and threatening him ?
  3. Recognizing his interest, explaining your concerns, developing rules together, recognizing his efforts ?

Compare each response with what you know about providing warmth. For each response check off whether it would

provide emotional security

show unconditional love

?show affection

?respect his developmental level

show sensitivity to his needs

show empathy with his feelings

Now compare each response with what you know about providing structure. For each response check off whether it would

provide clear guidelines for behavior

give clear information about your expectations

provide a clear explanation

?support his learning?

encourage his independent thinking

teach conflict resolution skills

Step 3 – Consider how your child thinks and feels

Why do pre-teen children like to play video games?

Step 4 – Problem solving

Compare each response with what you know about developmental level. Check off each response that would respect your child’s developmental level.

  1. Unplugging the equipment and requiring him to get top marks in order to play ?
  2. Getting angry and threatening him ?
  3. Recognizing his interest, explaining your concerns, developing rules together, recognizing his efforts ?

Step 5 – Responding with positive discipline

Now that you have thought about your long-term goal, ways of providing warmth and structure, and your child’s developmental level, which response would you choose?

If you chose #3, well done!

The situation

Your child has become friends with a child who knows many “bad words”. You have heard this child using language that you don't want your child to use. One day, you hear your child using this language. You feel very upset. You’re afraid that your child is going to ignore all you have tried to teach him.

What should you do? Think about each of the following responses and decide which one is best – and why.

  1. Take this opportunity to talk with him calmly about peer pressure, the effects of his behavior on other people and the importance of making his own decisions. ?
  2. Wash his mouth out with soap to teach him to never use those words again and to show respect for you. ?
  3. Make him stay in the house everyday after school for a month and tell him that he can never play with that friend again. ?

Step 1 – Remember your long-term goals

What are some of your long-term goals that are relevant to this situation?

    

Check off each response that would lead you toward your long-term goal.

  1. Talking with him about peer pressure and decision-making ?
  2. Washing his mouth out with soap ?
  3. Making him stay in the house and forbidding him to see his friend ?

Step 2 – Focus on warmth and structure

Compare each response with what you know about providing warmth. For each response check off whether it would

provide emotional security

show unconditional love?

show affection

?respect his developmental level

show sensitivity to his needs

show empathy with his feelings

Now compare each response with what you know about providing structure. For each response check off whether it would

provide clear guidelines for behaviour

give clear information about your expectations

provide a clear explanation?

support his learning?

encourage his independent thinking

teach conflict resolution skills

Step 3 – Consider how your child thinks and feels

Why do pre-teen children swear?

Step 4 – Problem solving

Compare each response with what you know about developmental level. Check off each response that would respect your child’s developmental level.

  1. Talking with him about peer pressure and decision-making ?
  2. Washing his mouth out with soap ?
  3. Making him stay in the house and forbidding him to see his friend ?

 

Step 5 – Responding with positive discipline

Now that you have thought about your long-term goal, ways of providing warmth and structure, and your child’s developmental level, which response would you choose?

If you chose #1, well done! 

Our Mission

The MISSION of the Action Team to End Hitting Children is to gather many people to do small jobs for the purpose of diminishing and finally ending the hitting of children. By "htiting" we mean to include beating, spanking, slapping, shaking, popping, and any other form of physical or emotional punishment that demeans the child and creates emotional, mental, and physical harm. Our strategy is to use many people to do small amounts of work that create momentum to make a difference. 

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