In the thick of daily parenting, making the shift from traditional or punitive parenting to gentle discipline means stocking your parental tool kit with some new tools. Learning how to parent with gentle discipline is sort of like traveling to a new country; it can be helpful to have a phrasebook handy to refer to in new situations. Here are a few useful phrases that can be used in gentle discipline with kids of varying ages.
- “How did you feel about that?”
- “Your face/body looks like _____.”
- “It looks like you’re feeling _____.”
- “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that. Can I try again?”
- “You really want to _____, but you can’t do that right now. I can see how upset you are about that.”
- “I can see there’s a disagreement about ____.”
- “I want ____, and you want ____. Can you think of a way we can work this out?”
- “What did you want to happen there?”
- “If you could go back and do that again, what would you do differently?”
- “This girl is playing with the toy right now, but I’ll sit with you and keep you company while you wait for your turn.”
- “You really like it when ____.”
- “You want to play house, and he wants to play racing cars. Can you find a way to play both things together?
- “Let’s take ten deep breaths together before we talk about this.”
- “Let’s play outside instead.”
It’s important to remember that the emotional attachment and connection between parent or caregiver and child is the catalyst that makes these phrases and gentle discipline techniques work. Simply saying the words without the emotional intent behind them will be ineffective in achieving your goals as a parent, and confusing for your child. But if you genuinely look for a child’s input, validate his experience, apologize for your mistakes and give children plenty of opportunities to burn off energy in appropriate ways, these phrases will be useful in many, many different situations.
Looking for more info on gentle discipline? Check out these posts:
- Gentle Discipline for Toddlers: Biting, Hitting and Impulse Control
- Power, Parenting and Gentle Discipline
- Gentle Discipline 101
- Resource Review Thursday: Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves
- How to Deal With a Tantrum Without Having One Yourself
What are some of your favourite phrases and techniques to use in gentle discipline?