by Dana Thomas, Ed.S, CPDCE, CPDPE

Let’s face it, parenting is hard. Kids can be very challenging and we, as parents, don’t always make the best parenting choices.

Think, for a moment, about a regularly stressful time in your house. Is it bedtime? Trying to get out the door to school or work on time? Do meal times raise your stress level, or does sibling fighting really push your buttons? Do you have enough tools in your toolbox to address these challenging situations and to create solutions that work?

Positive Discipline provides parents with a solid foundation and a full toolbox to address challenging parenting situations. Positive Discipline helps parents to be kind AND firm at the same time, while inviting cooperation and treating mistakes as opportunities to learn. Positive Discipline focuses on solutions, not on punishment. It is not “What you did wrong,” but rather, “What can we do next time?” Positive Discipline provides tools for parents and children, taking time for teaching and training, encouraging independence and setting families up for success!

There are two strategies in Positive Discipline: “Take Time for Training” and “Ask, Don’t Tell.” The tools are quite simple, easy to use and can make a big difference.

Imagine you are trying to leave the house with your children, so they can get to school on time. Do you hear yourself saying, “Brush your teeth.” “Go get dressed.” “Put your shoes on.” “Brush your hair.” “Get your homework.” “Pack your backpack.” “Are you ready? We are going to be LATE!”

Now imagine you have taken some time for training and made a list of things that need to occur before your family can leave the house. Each person in the house knows what their responsibilities are and how to accomplish their tasks. As kids get distracted, as they sometimes do, reminders sound more like: “What comes next on your schedule?” “What do we do after we eat?” “What do you need to wear so you won’t be cold?”

Implement “Ask, don’t tell” today. The next time you are ready to give your child a command, turn it into a question, and watch their reaction. It is a simple change that makes a big difference.

To learn more about Positive Discipline, attend a Positive Discipline workshop on January 11, 2016 at Centered Therapy Chicago. For more information or to register, contact Dana Thomas at Dthomas.eds@gmail.com.​