I was fortunately never bullied at school but being the only Asian girl in Geneva in a new school, a new class where I didn’t speak the language, I remember the fear and the shame of not blending in, of not being good enough. At one time, I avoided doing my homework when I didn’t believe it was going to be perfect or worthy enough and felt ashamed for it.
Encouragement is a solution to misbehaviour
In Positive Discipline for Teachers and Parents, encouragement is one of the fundamentals of developing a child. In the word ‘encourage’, there is the word ‘courage’. Encouragement gives the energy to continue, to go forward and to face adversities. It empowers, it gives motivation, the grit and resilience. As Jane Nelsen wrote, ‘Children DO better when they FEEL better.
When I shunned doing my homework, I misbehaved by hiding and lying (yup, I told my teacher I lost my homework). As Dr Rudolf Dreikurs wrote, ‘a misbehaving child is a discouraged child’. Therefore a little bit of encouragement and understanding or help (instead of punishment for instance) could be a solution in dealing with a child’s misbehaviour or discouragement.
The Power of Encouragement
‘A child needs encouragement like a plant needs water’ (Dreikurs)
In Positive Discipline, we focus a great deal on the topic of encouragement. It has the power to make children feel capable in moments of discouragement, especially when dealing with fear and insecurity. When children feel they are making mistakes or when it’s just too hard, it’s a real challenge to continue. Children need encouragement or they give up and/or misbehave.
To help adults understand what is happening and what can help the child, these are the first 3 steps to start with:
- The first important step is to investigate how the child is FEELING when misbehaving or discouraged from doing a task and validate this feeling. (‘I can see you are discouraged or angry…’)
- The second step is to ask how an adult can help. (‘Is there anything I can do to help? or can I suggest something?’)
- The third important step is to take the necessary time WITH the child (this is so clearly stated in the video).
When an adult takes the time to help the child, this is an important message of love and of trust.
Positive Discipline tools such as the following are designed to be encouraging to children as an on-going process:
- Family Meetings and Class Meetings where children learn to give and receive compliments and learn to brainstorm solutions to problems.
- Curiosity Questions to invite children how to think instead of what to think—and to give them a sense of choice to use their personal power for social responsibility.
- Letting Go so children have opportunities to learn and grow—mistakes and all.
- Show Faith in children so they can develop faith in themselves.
- Spending Special Time to make sure the message of love gets through.
There are many more—all designed to be empowering instead of discouraging.
Next time you see your child in distress, misbehaving or discouraged, how about some extra encouragement? If you want to practice and know more about how to encourage, come and join the next Positive Discipline workshops.
Thank you for visiting and reading. I hope I have inspired you to give me a call to try on a Positive Discipline sample session if this is new to you!