I attended a parenting workshop at work, topic of the day was ‘Disciplining your child’.
I could see that all parents were very excited to learn the secret mantra. All their enthusiasm was deflated when the first thing the host said was ‘If you think, I’m some kind of a magician and am gonna share with you some tricks to discipline your child, then I am really sorry’
Instead of walking us through the presentation, he chose to ask us few questions. First one was ‘Suppose you are a caretaker in a play school. There is a boy A who beats other kids and troubles everyone around. How will you tackle him?’
There were mixed answers – ‘To give him a time-out’, ‘To talk to him and try to make him understand’, ‘To promise him to give him a chocolate if he behaves well’. Each of the answers was countered by the host saying ‘He continues to do the same even then’. After all the answers exhausted, the host himself answered how he actually tackled the situation. He said ‘I just went inside the room and called out to A. “Hey kid, would you mind to switch on the fan for me. I’m feeling too hot.” A was stunned to see someone who thought he would be of help, in contrast to all others who thought of him to be a menace. Even though he couldn’t reach the switch, he piled a few things on top of each other and did me the favour. I gave him a high-five and we hit it off from there’
Next question was “Suppose you always forget to turn the tap off while coming out of the bathroom. How would you like your family members to talk to you about this?”
Answers comprised – “I would like them to tell me politely that I have forgotten to switch the tap off”. The host told us “You are repeatedly forgetting on a daily basis” Next few answers were – “I would like them to understand that I am not doing it on purpose”, “They must close the tap on their own and not confront me”.
Now, the host said “Imagine your child is repeating the same mistake, would you treat him/her the same way as you would like yourself to be treated?” – And it did hit hard on us (Me atleast)
One of the parents argued – “But my child does a mistake on purpose, even when he knows it very well that he is not supposed to do it.”
The host said – “Lemme ask you all a question. How many of you have jumped signals?” Many hands shot up in the air. He continued “So, whoever has jumped signals here, were you not aware that you are not supposed to jump signals? Would beating or given a timeout by the traffic cop ensure that you will not jump signals ever again?”
“We try to discipline our children to make them behave like adults. When adults behave silly, we admonish them not to behave like kids. Why don’t we then let kids be themselves and grow at their own pace?” Isn’t it so true??
Few other things that I learnt from the workshop –
- Most parents tend to think of themselves as authority and kids will be a level lower obeying their orders because they think parents always know what is best for their child. But when parents will treat their kids as an individual just like themselves and respect their feelings, there will establish a strong camaraderie among them.
- If you lead through fear you will have little respect;
but if you lead through respect, you will have little to fear.
This group is named amable and they conduct parenting workshops in Bangalore. For outsiders, they even conduct online workshops. You can also go through this link where they have several resources on parenting. I would call it a treasure trove containing eye openers for parents. Do take some time to go through the articles, they are worth spending your time on.