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Basics of the principle: Model the behavior that you want from your child.

Ok.  When the hell does that work? 

  • I cook; they eat
  • I clean; they dirty
  • I sleep; they stay up all night
  • I put the trash out on trash day; they leave the trash in their rooms
  • I smell the trash; I clean the trash can.  They smell the trash; they put the can outside
  • I put the food away after dinner; they leave everything out to spoil
  • I use my inside voice; they talk like I have a hearing aid (or need one)

Exactly when does it work?

I am in line at the grocery store: not jumping, bouncing, twisting, touching, sitting on the floor, or rolling around.  As a matter of fact, NO ONE is.  We are all at the end of our day or end of our rope. We are exhausted so we stand praying they will call another checker and let us get home.

The Boy is exhausted too. Only exhaustion with him means that there is an immediate need, albeit temporary, for relief from the instant-onset A.D.D. and something to settle my nerves. (if he fidgets one more time…)

The proponents of positive discipline say it works so, if it isn’t working for me, then I just need to try harder. I am standing stark still modeling the behavior that I want from my son.  Still, he is getting too close to the people in front of him, touching their food, picking up things, pushing my cart, touching my things.  Damnit….this does not work.

I call upon a higher power/my ancestors/the earth/the grocery store clerk to steady me as I reach into my bag of Positive Discipline tricks (that I just learned) and pull out the Whisper Principle (instead of yelling, SURPRISE, I catch him off guard with a whisper). That is not going to be enough for my monster boy so, I grab the Get on Child’s Eye Level Principle (self explanatory) for backup.  

I take him by the arm, get eye-to-eye, pursing my lips, I whisper:  If you don’t stop moving.  If you touch one more thing. I am going to BEAT you.