The Soul of Discipline Post 1 (by Elizabeth Wells)

Discipline. For many, it evokes negative feelings of an unspoken ensuing punishment. Isn’t discipline something that happens when your kids disobey?

Not exactly, according to Kim John Payne, M.Ed., author of The Soul of Discipline. It was recommended by another author, Dr. Brene Brown, as a means for parents to remain calm and authentic in the face of discipline challenges.

It sounded like a sound resource for parents.  As a grandparent, the ideal of being the loving second ring of family seemed in conflict with the reality of multigenerational discipline and boundary setting.

But in his first chapter, “Disobedient or Disoriented,” Payne tells readers that “the way we perceive and approach misbehavior is key to diffusing our children’s difficult and even explosive conduct.”

He makes a strong case for there being no disobedient children, only disoriented ones.

With so many forces pushing on today’s kids, it’s easy to see how quickly they can become overwhelmed and overstimulated. Excessive pressure on a child can lead to disorientation, he explains, and that often looks like misbehavior.

He coined the “Pinging Principle” (like a

submarine’s sonic pings for underwater navigation) for a child’s attempt to figure out where she stands through seeking reactions from those closest to them, again often in the form of challenging behavior.

Shifting to the Pinging Principle has been beneficial. When I see unwanted behavior, such as disrespectfulness, pushing buttons or failure to follow directions, I look for the source of their disorientation and ways to help them work through it.

Payne advocates establishing key family values and offers simple ways to define them.  His foundation is “parenting is all about calmly and firmly noticing and acting on the small stuff.” He advises “when a child steps over the line, departing from one of these key family values, it’s so important that we guide them back.” This provides immediate orientation and affirms family values.

Children, tweens and teens, who don’t have help navigating all the external forces, experience low self-esteem, he writes. Payne believes the ensuing sense of inadequacy leads to two distinct behavioral phases – fighting back at first and then falling back, if there’s no relief.

Payne offers many examples of and reasons for adopting this idea, but I was struck by its compassionate approach and how it resonated with our desire to offer loving guidance.

I was happy to see that guidance was the focus of the rest of the book. While touching on the critical developmental milestones, Payne detailed three phases of discipline. These are:

The Governor Phase: from birth to 9; The Gardner Phase: 9 to around 13; and The Guide Phase: 13 to Late Teens.

More about these in the next post!

He makes a strong case for there being no disobedient children, only disoriented ones.

With so many forces pushing on today’s kids, it’s easy to see how quickly they can become overwhelmed and overstimulated. Excessive pressure on a child can lead to disorientation, he explains, and that often looks like misbehavior.

He coined the “Pinging Principle” (like a submarine’s sonic pings for underwater navigation) for a child’s 

attempt to figure out where she stands through seeking reactions from those closest to them, again often in the form of challenging behavior.

Shifting to the Pinging Principle has been beneficial. When I see unwanted behavior, such as disrespectfulness, pushing buttons or failure to follow directions, I look for the source of their disorientation and ways to help them work through it.

Payne advocates establishing key family values and offers simple ways to define them.  His foundation is “parenting is all about calmly and firmly noticing and acting on the small stuff.” He advises “when a child steps over the line, departing from one of these key family values, it’s so important that we guide them back.” This provides immediate orientation and affirms family values.

Children, tweens and teens, who don’t have help navigating all the external forces, experience low self-esteem, he writes. Payne believes the ensuing sense of inadequacy leads to two distinct behavioral phases – fighting back at first and then falling back, if there’s no relief.

Payne offers many examples of and reasons for adopting this idea, but I was struck by its compassionate approach and how it resonated with our desire to offer loving guidance.

I was happy to see that guidance was the focus of the rest of the book. While touching on the critical developmental milestones, Payne detailed three phases of discipline. These are:

The Governor Phase: from birth to 9; The Gardner Phase: 9 to around 13; and The Guide Phase: 13 to Late Teens.

More about these in the next post!

He makes a strong case for there being no disobedient children, only disoriented ones.

With so many forces pushing on today’s kids, it’s easy to see how quickly they can become overwhelmed and overstimulated. Excessive pressure on a child can lead to disorientation, he explains, and that often looks like misbehavior.

He coined the “Pinging Principle” (like a submarine’s sonic pings for underwater navigation) for a child’s attempt to figure out where she stands through seeking reactions from those closest to them, again often in the form of challenging behavior.

Shifting to the Pinging Principle has been beneficial. When I see unwanted behavior, such as disrespectfulness, pushing buttons or failure to follow directions, I look for the source of their disorientation and ways to help them work through it.

Payne advocates establishing key family values and offers simple ways to define them.  His foundation is “parenting is all about calmly and firmly noticing and acting on the small stuff.” He advises “when a child steps over the line, departing from one of these key family values, it’s so important that we guide them back.” This provides immediate orientation and affirms family values.

Children, tweens and teens, who don’t have help navigating all the external forces, experience low self-esteem, he writes. Payne believes the ensuing sense of inadequacy leads to two distinct behavioral phases – fighting back at first and then falling back, if there’s no relief.

Payne offers many examples of and reasons for adopting this idea, but I was struck by its compassionate approach and how it resonated with our desire to offer loving guidance.

I was happy to see that guidance was the focus of the rest of the book. While touching on the critical developmental milestones, Payne detailed three phases of discipline. These are:

The Governor Phase: from birth to 9; The Gardner Phase: 9 to around 13; and The Guide Phase: 13 to Late Teens.

More about these in the next post!

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