Positive Discipline for Today’s Busy (and Overwhelmed) Modern Parent by Jane Nelson, EDD, Kristina Bill, and Joy Marchese, MA, CPDT
- Jane Nelsen, EDD, founder of Positive Discipline and coauthor of the bestselling Positive Discipline series, is a licensed marriage, family, and child therapist and an internationally known speaker. Her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide.
- Kristina Bill is active across the fields of business, arts, and personal development. She holds a business degree and is a certified Life Coach and Positive Discipline Parent Educator. She is a highly sought-after corporate coach specializing in leadership and personal impact.
- Joy Marchese, MA, CPDT, has worked as a trainer, teacher, and parent educator in various schools and corporate settings for over twenty years. In 2015, she launched Positive Discipline UK, spreading Positive Discipline across Europe and the Middle East.
Interview Q&A with Jennifer Lambert
What are the origins of the Positive Discipline methodology and how you became involved with it?
- PD is based on the grounded philosophy of Alfred Adler, the grandfather of Individual Psychology. In a nutshell Adler taught that all human beings (including children) deserve to be treated with human dignity and respect. He taught about the importance of social interest and the need for all human beings to feel belonging (connection) and significance (contribution/purpose).
- Joy: I was introduced to PD 13 years ago (8 years into my teaching career). At the time, I was teaching in Rikers Island (a Jail just off Manhattan in NYC). When I say that PD saved my life I mean it. I was teaching felony criminals and I was the only teacher that didn’t have armed guards in her classroom. This was a risk but it was the only way I could establish an environment of mutual respect (connecting before correcting). I was also one of the only teachers that never had a fight break out in her classroom.
- Kristina: I was hoping to become a mother and wanted to be the most effective parent I could be. Joy was a long-standing friend and colleague who introduced me to PD. I was already a coach and found that the PD philosophy not only prepared me for motherhood, but also served as a brilliant personal and professional development methodology. When Joy asked me to come onboard to write this book I jumped at the chance, as I believe my organizational training experience gave a valuable perspective to how to apply PD universally for a working parent.
What are the long-term consequences of our parenting choices?
- Children are always making decisions about themselves (am I capable or not capable), about others (can I trust them or can I not trust them), about the world (is it safe or is it not safe), and about what they need to do (Can I thrive or just merely survive). From the moment they are born children are forming belief systems and it is these belief systems that they will base their decisions on as an adult. When we are able to use kind AND firm parenting skills, connect with our children to form secure attachments, and use encouragement and problem-solving methods instead of punishment and rewards, we will help them develop the life skills they need to flourish and thrive in the world.
Is Positive Discipline about the parent or the child?
- Positive Discipline begins with “you” the parent. Too many parents think PD tools are meant to change the behavior of children–and they can. However, the “tools” are not effective unless parents model what they are trying to teach. For example, too many parents want their children to control their behavior when the parent doesn’t control his or her behavior. They want their children to be perfect, when they are not. And, they want their children to be kind and respectful when they are not.
Is there one overarching thing you would suggest parent’s focus on?
- My favorite of all is connection BEFORE correction. If there is one “tool” that would help parents in every situation it’s to connect first. This can be done through validating the child’s feelings, getting down to their level and making eye contact, or even a hug. Then avoid all blame and shame and get your child involved in focusing on solutions
The book includes 5 parts, 17 chapters, a troubleshooting guide, and mistaken goal chart. All these tools to help parents positively discipline children. An index offers oodles of opportunities to look up issues you may be dealing with in your home, work, or school environment.
It is overwhelming how much parenting advice is out there. And most of it is so very wrong. I’ve overheard well-meaning people at church coach young moms to spank or smack their toddlers. I’ve heard them offer time-outs or “just you wait until we get home.”
Frazzled parents are desperate for answers and solutions for discipline that heals wounds – both theirs and the kids.
The choices we make with our kids matter. The way we speak and deal with difficulties in our families will stay with our kids as their inner voices.
What are the long-term consequences of our parenting choices?
I was raised harshly. I am still overcoming the consequences of my parents’ choices.
I wasn’t a proactive parent in the beginning. I was dealing with my own issues and baggage and that traveled over into my parenting. I did a lot of things wrong, said a lot of mean things, used nasty tones and facial expressions, and even spanked my two oldest daughters.
Thankfully, I found better methods for parenting and apologized to my girls. I did things differently with my third daughter and son.
Emotional intelligence is very important as parents so we can raise our children wisely, to make better choices, to break the cycles of poor parenting or even abuse.
I am healing and choosing gratitude and peace and it shows in all our relationships.
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