This book by author Judy Arnall is fairly new, published in 2007, and is a great read for those of you new to guiding your child in a gentle way, and also for those of you who are experienced with gentle discipline techniques. I will be going through this book chapter by chapter on this blog, so I hope you get your own copy and follow along!
This book is based upon the following five cornerstones: (from the Preface)
1. Teach, not hurt.
2. Stay with your “no” and honor your word
3. Look for the feeling or need (NOF) behind the behavior.
4. Separate your anger from your discipline.
5. Be the person you want them to be.
Chapter One is entitled, “The Purpose of Discipline: Teach, not hurt.” The author outlines the way life has changed since we all grew up in the 60s, 70s and 80s and why some of the “old” discipline techniques do not have the same impact today. She talks about the importance about building connections with our children as children these days are often separate from the family and have ready access to technology and other things that can be difficult for parents to police. She also points out that in general spanking is a less-accepted tool socially and we need things to replace this! She talks about how children need parents who will help them solve their problems, not punish them.
(Carrie’s Note: As homeschoolers, we may feel this does not apply to us as much because we are generally with our children, but I feel these are still important concepts for all families today in an age where the extended family no longer seems to exist. You may also be wondering from a Waldorf perspective how “solving their problems” applies to Waldorf children under the age of 14 or so – when more logical reasoning comes in- and I say hang in there with me and I will show you how this can be a helpful framework for you, the parent to work from, even if you do not use all the words with your child! Read on!)
The author talks about the six things children needs for connected parenting:
Time (Quantity time, not necessarily quality time)
Guidance in a positive way
Kindness – I have a whole post on my blog about this important subject here:https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/03/kindness-in-your-home/
Self Care for Parents – which I have also talked about here: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/06/making-yourself-a-priority-in-the-parenting-equation/
The author talks extensively about why we should give up punishments, and how punishments do not work to deter “bad” behavior. I will not review all those points here, you will find this on pages 15-18.
She talks about the goals of discipline (remember my view of discipline as Authentic Leadership!https://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/10/16/gentle-discipline-as-authentic-leadership/ and also here https://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/10/20/getting-past-fear/ )- to teach the child to build life-long character building skills, such as responsibility, empathy , problem-solving and self-control; to protect the child; to instill our parental values (do you know what these are? If not, consider looking at this post here: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/08/creating-a-family-mission-statement/) and to teach the child how to become a healthy, productive adult in society.
She talks about the role of the parent – all you jellyfish out there, listen up!!- as being a protector, a source of knowledge and experience in a democratic parenting style, an influence, a detective, a structure provider (yes, my little jellyfish I know you are wincing now!), and a limit and rule making facilitator and negotiator. Parents are also the provider of needs – not just physical needs, but for the emotional needs of children for warmth, and security. Waldorf parents I feel really excel in this area! Parents are also nurturers.
More about Chapter One in a bit,