A good question,
A question posed by Myriam a while ago in response to my mention of the naughty chair in this post.
I have spent quite some time chewing it over and wondering how best to answer. The more I ruminate the more I realise I can't answer breifly. It's a complicated subject. I will try to give a worthy answer. I'll also try to be concise!
We have found discipline one of the most challenging parts of parenting. It has been a difficult experience to see the object of my love and affection, a little person I can't help but consider perfect in every way, choose to disobey. At times I see characteristics in him that are so unattractive - selfishness, laziness, greed, cruelty. I know these same characteristics exist in me. It is upsetting. It's sad and disappointing. I want to correct his character and fix him and make him sweet and kind and loving all the time. (I want that for myself too!)
We are Christians. Our approach to discipline is primarily shaped `by our understanding of God's instructions to parents in the bible and not by Montessori. We don't believe that any method of discipline or training of a child can repair their imperfect character. Only God can do that through Jesus Christ.
Thus our methods of discipline have followed our biblical framework. We have used all sorts of resources to come up with ideas. We watch families with obedient children and ask for advice. I have read lots of books. I have read lots of websites and blogs. We try out ideas that have been tested, seem wise, make sense and fit our framework. Some succeed and we keep using them. Some fail. We still struggle and constantly re-evaluate our methods.
The basic principles of our biblical framework are:
- human beings are not capable of perfect behaviour
- God's standard of perfection is uncompromising, ours should be too
- disobedience and rebellion need to have real consequences
- forgiveness is free through Jesus
- mercy and grace are unlimited
- love is unconditional
On a practical level we try to:
- give lots of meaningful work, independence and choice
- reinforce positive behaviour sincerely and straight away
- freely express love, affection and approval verbally and physically
- have developmentally appropriate expectations of behaviour
- have consistent expectations of behaviour
- give reasons for our expectations and rules
- give enough time for him to understand and obey
- look for a cause for disobedience and fix it
(e.g. hunger, full bladder, tiredness, sickness, boredom, lack of attention)
- administer punishments/consequences calmly and gently
The naughty chair is one of many tools we use.
Unfortunately Bear has inherited an unusual obstinance from his parents which at times requires particularly firm approaches. Very often he chooses to disobey clear and reasonable instructions and accept a punishment. When he is wilfully disobedient he spends 2 minutes on the naughty chair. We ask for an apology and a hug. Then all is forgiven. This process usually happens once per day. Sometimes more. Sometimes less.
Occasionally we give one smack on the hand or leg if disobedience is repeated or particularly offensive.
Occasionally we put him in his bedroom for longer than 2 minutes to cool down if things get very heated. This isn't supposed to be a punishment but it gives him a chance to reset and keeps everyone safe during his anger! There's usually a cause (like hunger, tiredness or sickness) when this happens.
I am not an expert!! I have been a parent for almost 3 years. I have been responsible for the discipline of 1 child. I have been a disobedient child myself. It is an intimidating task to mould another persons character. Especially since I am fully aware of the imperfection of my own character. I try not to do them harm. I will ask my children to forgive me for the mistakes I make and the harm I will inevitably do. Praise God that we don't do it alone!
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20
My name is Vicky I am wife to Ranger and mum to two boys - Bear (2) and Fox (8 months). Somehow I stumbled across Montessori and now my goal is to raise and educate my children with a Montessori philosophy in country NSW Australia.