Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Positive Discipline - Jane Nelsen

Title: Positive Discipline: The First Three Years

Author: Jane Nelsen
Year: 2007
Country: US
Pages: 304
Rating: 5 out of 5

This is by far one of the best parenting books I have read so far. Jane Nelsen presents a non-corporal punishment approach to child-rearing that crosses virtually all parenting philosophies. This book helps the reader understand what behaviours are age-appropriate, and how to respond to these behaviours in a way that is kind but firm, and encourages children to explore the world and their newly found independence (ie...my legs can now carry me away from mom and towards that shiny vase!).

The author presents a balance between the parent who is always scolding and reprimanding their child, and the parent who lets their child get away with everything. Positive discipline is not about being permissive, it is using discipline that is age-appropriate. A toddler's brain is not yet equipped to fully understand concepts adults take for granted, and the techniques in this book are geared towards the developmental level of the littlest kids.

For the 0-3 category, this is largely distraction and re-direction. One of the things I really loved about this book was the abundance of practical advice, and specific examples and anecdotes about how other parent's respond to certain behaviours--pulling a cat's tail, or throwing a tantrum in a grocery store--using positive discipline techniques.

We're just now entering the time when Maya is beginning to understand language. I have been finding myself saying "No!" quite a lot...especially when the cat is around...accompanied by distraction. My kind words, "touch nicely" seem to have gotten lost with the move. It is hard to repeat the same thing over and over again ("touch nicely", along with physically showing her how to do it) knowing she doesn't understand what I mean yet. Although this book doesn't present an easy answer--in fact, it reminds the reader that raising confident, capable, children is HARD work--it does provide the encouragement for me to continue with the repetitive demonstrations and encouraging, explanatory phrases, followed by re-direction. Someday, she will understand. There are also lots of great examples of ways to prevent and/or avoid power struggles.

Positive discipline helps parents create an environment for their children to learn through play, exploration and discovery, while setting the foundations of morals and values. I will definitely be reading more of the author's books in the future.

If you have reviewed this book and would like your review listed here, just let me know!


momofonefornow said...

Hi, found you on the ICLW list.

What a great review. I wish this book had been in my arsenal when my kiddo was just starting.

Nerida said...

You've ranked this book very highly. It must have made a great impression on you. I must read it.

I find the positive parenting approach is one that you either 'get' and get great results with, or the change in mind-set is too hard and it seems like namby pamby nonsense.

Personally, I feel very strongly that a positive approach is the best one.

It can be hard to reprogram our minds to discipline our children with positive words, and I do struggle at times to find a better way to say "Get your muddy boots of the lounge NOW!!".

A reminder of "We take our shoes off at the door" accompanied by taking their hand and leading them to the door does adhere more to the philosophy of teaching children rather that constantly punishing them. (An older child can help clean up any mess too)

It's easier to scream and threaten, but the long term results just don't compete with a positive approach.

Joy said...

I believe I have two of Nelsen's books and agree with your review whole-heartedly.