In August, Principal Susan Follmer invited twenty teachers from WMS to attend two days of a Sound Discipline training. Positive Discipline’s underlying premise for this work is that all people seek a sense of connection and significance in a social context. The facilitators worked with the teachers to understand what the belief is behind the behavior, what may be going on with the student when their behavior seems otherwise. The teachers came away with a greater understanding of both kids and themselves. The Sound Discipline belief is that all kids want to belong and feel connected. We as the adults in their lives can often create a disconnect with them by the choice of language that we use with them.
At the PTSA General Meeting on September 10th, attending PTSA members were lead through one of the exercises that the teachers experienced during their training. The exercise emphasized the impact of “Empowering” dialogue versus “Enabling” dialogue. Attached are some examples of each. The empowering dialogue continues to be supportive, while putting the ownership of solving the problem with the child. The enabling dialogue often lets kids off the hook for thinking through and solving their own problem, by either getting frustrated and angry at them, or by trying to overcompensate and let them off the hook.
The presentation went on to acknowledge that we often have the right words to say when we are in a calm and thoughtful place ourselves. But… when we are triggered by our kid’s behavior, then those perfect words fly out of our head, and instead frustration can take the lead, creating a disconnect. The second attached document suggests some ways to create calm in yourself, so that instead of reacting to a situation, you create a pause. In creating the “pause”, you prevent a regrettable reaction and can instead have a thoughtful response.