The Soul of Discipline Post 2 (by Elizabeth Wells)

The full title of this book by Kim John Payne, M. Ed. is The Soul of Discipline: The Simplicity Parenting Approach to Warm, Firm, and Calm Guidance – From Toddlers to Teens. It absolutely resonates with every parent’s desire for warmth, firmness and calm regarding discipline.

Payne’s premise is “the right support at the right time.” First, he details the three phases of discipline:

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

Using metaphors (Governor, Gardener and Guide), he provides insights into what each growth phase needs in the way of support.

The full title of this book by Kim John Payne, M. Ed. is The Soul of Discipline: The Simplicity Parenting Approach to Warm, Firm, and Calm Guidance – From Toddlers to Teens. It absolutely resonates with every parent’s desire for warmth, firmness and calm regarding discipline.

Payne’s premise is “the right support at the right time.” First, he details the three phases of discipline:

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

Using metaphors (Governor, Gardener and Guide), he provides insights into what each growth phase needs in the way of support.

The full title of this book by Kim John Payne, M. Ed. is The Soul of Discipline: The Simplicity Parenting Approach to Warm, Firm, and Calm Guidance – From Toddlers to Teens. It absolutely resonates with every parent’s desire for warmth, firmness and calm regarding discipline.

Payne’s premise is “the right support at the right time.” First, he details the three phases of discipline:

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

In the first phase, The Governor, the emphasis in parent child interaction is on the parent deciding. This is when a child is between the ages of 0 and 8 or 9 years old.  He acknowledges the philosophies of giving children choices at an early age, but Payne says, “Even if a parent wants to allow limited choices, it is still the ‘I will decide to give my child limited choices’ mode.”

Payne uses an entire chapter for offering suggestions for establishing healthy boundaries and compliance, and another chapter on strategies for creating healthy compliance. In the latter, I loved the section on teaching children that “NOW” demands always have the “W” drop and result in “NO”.

Suggestions and practical applications also included, ways to teach the difference between instruction and requests, practicing respectful behavior in daily small ways, and what to do when negative behavior shows up.

Using the acronym DADD, Payne shares a tool for calm parenting in the heat of a situation. Disapprove, Affirm, Discover and Do Over.  Listing them gives you the idea, but over-simplified.  It’s a great reason to get the book yourself and read the rest of the details.

In the second phase, The Gardner, when children are between 8 or 9 to around 13 years old, parent-child interactions need to reflect a cultivating of making good choices. This occurs he says when parents live out the mantra of “tell me/us your plans and then I/we will decide.”

Like other developmental milestones for our children, the phases are not seen as stepping over some threshold on a specific day. Payne says however that it is critically important for parents to discipline within the developmental framework. Anyone, who has had a tween or teenager and has reacted like the Governor, knows tweens shut down and anger often results.

So, from this phase on, listening skills are critical. Being a good listener communicates on so many levels. Being a distracted listener does the same and is incredibly destructive to the relationship. It can also result in worsening behavior.

Payne begins by setting the stage for tweens – who and what are influencing them. As the world continues to move at such a quick clip, so to do the forces that press on our children.

He quickly moves to how a parent, using the Gardener metaphor, needs to be an active, engaged participant in the tween’s daily journey. Through listening and watching, a gardener gages the garden’s needs. Through perspective, Payne says parents offer alternatives and options. They also may need to do weeding.

Payne’s suggestions in this phase are equally simple for creating calm and teaching important life skills.

I found Payne’s section called, “Plan Sandwich: An Everyday Way to Improve Communication and Build Your Tween’s Social Capacities,” simple and easy to use. (Again, it will be over simplified here, so check out the book.)

Top Layer: “What’s your plan?”

Middle Layer: “I’ll think about it.”

Bottom Layer: “Here’s my decision.”

It’s such a great takeaway! And this is something most parents/grandparents could do, even in a charged situation.

And along the subject of charged situations, Payne’s final phase, The Guide, the teenage years. Look for more in the next and final post. It will also touch on his “Rescue Package.”

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