Positive Discipline Workshop
A couple of months ago I was approached by local mother and blogger Rachel Manktelow; asking if I wanted to have a chat about her Parenting Success workshops.
We had a lovely chat and she invited me to attend one of her workshops on Positive Discipline.
I knew I would benefit from the workshop, as although Maia is generally well behaved, she is a three year old; confident and at times very stubborn; there are always areas to improve, and things to learn.
A fast-paced three hour workshop, we covered many ways of encouraging positive behaviour, and I can honestly say it was one of the best things I’ve ever done with regard to my parenting.
It was clear Rachel wanted each of us to get as much as we could out of the morning. – She was warm and friendly; welcoming our questions and comments.
I met five other mothers at the workshop, with children of different ages and with various concerns. We went round the room introducing ourselves and telling each other what our current challenges were. Sat on comfy sofas, with coffee and biscuits; it was a space to be open, honest and vulnerable.
I felt very comfortable sharing my struggles; telling these women that my daughter would sometimes refuse to let me use tooth-paste, that I often felt guilty for losing my temper and that I’d use phrases like “just focus on what you’re doing!” – When my child is only three years old. I didn’t feel I was being judged or looked down on and I knew that the other mothers were sharing their absolute truth, their anxieties and pain.
During the three hours –which went very quickly- we were given structured, clear tips and tools geared towards laying the foundations for positive behaviour; through strengthening our connection with our children and improving communication within the family. We had workbooks to read through and note down ideas and specific things we wanted to work on.
The main areas were:
1. Family meetings and rules for kids.
2. Special time with children individually.
3. Role modelling.
4. Effective praise.
5. Effective commands.
We learnt the importance of minimising negative attention – the focus on their bad behaviour – and instead feeding their need for positive attention, for love, praise and encouragement. Words like communication, mindfulness and awareness came up often; and although it seems obvious “be aware of how you speak to your kids”, “be mindful of the example you’re setting them”, we sometimes need to stop to think of the effects of our actions and words.
A mother of two – aged two and six- Rachel made me feel.. human. She emphasised that she was not the perfect mother:
“I’m an average Mum! You can relate to me, I make all the mistakes. …We all shout…that’s what happens!…”
Then gave us all the hope and encouragement that whatever situation we had, it could always be improved.
She is a parent who wants to empower and help other parents to achieve a happier, calmer home with the use of simple but effective methods. She gave examples of her own struggles and how using the tools mentioned helped her.
We discussed the areas we knew we needed to improve on, and at the end wrote down three things we’d taken from the session and how we would apply them to our situations.
One of the main messages I took from the morning was the power of positivity.
“Focus on what’s going right”.
– Rachel Manktelow
Rachel gave the example of her six year old son getting himself dressed for school, coming down the stairs, dressed but with his shirt hanging out, a few buttons undone. In similar situations we have a choice; we can either focus on the scruffy shirt, or the effort our child’s made to dress her/himself.
We can choose to be critical, to put our children down, or be encouraging, and praise them for what they did well.
“Feed her attention and she’s less likely to misbehave.”
Our children misbehave for a reason, they are not inherently bad, and it’s almost always a cry for positive attention, for our time, our love.
I left feeling empowered and inspired, by both Rachel – who was fantastic – and by the other mothers – each remarkable in their own way- who had gone to the effort of seeking help and advice for possibly the most challenging, selfless and sacred things you will ever do; raise a child.
For more information visit: www.facebook.com/rachelparentingsuccess