Thursday, June 21, 2012

Parenting Place and the Classroom Corner--Proactive vs Reactive

Did you grow up hearing sayings like I did such as "Get ahead of the curve!" or "Cut 'em off at the pass!"  With a dad who was part suburbanite/part racecar driver extraordinaire, these were words and phrases we heard often around our house.  As a parent, teacher, and preschool minister, those same words of wisdom ring true today, even though I am no longer referring to hitting a pitch, riding a barrel horse, or racing on a drag strip.  Today's tip deals with proactive rather than reactive discipline.

I often hear friends say, "My child is unruly in Kroger!" or "I am too embarrassed to even go shoe shopping with Taylor.  She screams and cries until we leave."  Trust me--as a mom of 3 and teacher of 103, I have also dealt with my share of irate toddlers and adolescents! In fact, these very same thoughts I have had myself.  Maybe I'll just wait until they are 18 to ever venture to Wal-mart again.  ;-)

But be encouraged!  I want to share a proactive strategy that has worked really well for me in these cases! 

When I roll my super-fly minivan up into a parking place, I turn down the radio and summon the kiddoes surrounding me to attention.  ;-)  I clear my throat and say, "Guys, when we are in Store X we are not going to run up and down the aisles.  Sister, you are going to ride in the front of the buggy and not get out until we get to the milk aisle.  Kevin, you are not going to pitch a fit while we are in this store either (hee, hee, hee--Kevin is my husband LOL).  Guys, we want to have a great afternoon, right?  No consequences, right?"  After a not so very thrilled chorus of "yes ma'ams," it is then time for the Bryant bunch to enter the shopping abyss. 

This same proactive principle applies to my classroom.  "Girls and boys, today we are going to have a great day!  We are not going to argue over whose turn it is at the computer center" or "We are going to have a ball in the library, but remember, we are going to walk and whisper if we want our full break time!"

I wish I could tell you that this system came with a 100% guarantee, but unfortunately I cannot.  What a can say is that this approach has drastically reduced the amount of crying (by my kids and me) whenever I head out to shop, church, browse, etc.  Call it proactive discipline, call it the power of positive thinking..either way try it and see if you find a little more success with this approach to correction and redirection.  Today is a gift--that's why they call it the present...Blessings, Shannon 

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