Steps of Positive Discipline : A Grocery Store Example

Mother and daughter shopping in supermarket

Before the discipline, here’s a link to a previous post about ways to enjoy grocery shopping with your kids by age: https://parentingbydrrene.com/2013/06/02/successful-grocery-shopping-with-children/.

Discipline Scenario: Your three year old wants to walk at the grocery store but repeatedly pulls things off the shelf onto the floor.

Proactive discipline techniques:

  • Positive directions –  This is a reminder to tell your children what you want them TO DO rather than telling them what you want them to stop doing.  In other wards, avoid giving directions that start with “No,” and “Don’t,” and “Stop.”  Instead of saying “Don’t take that off the shelf,” or “Stop taking food off the shelves,” you should say “Leave that on the shelf,” or “The food stays on the shelf.”  Even “Keep your hands down by your sides,” would work better than “Don’t do that.”
  • Descriptive praise -When the child follows your directions even down the length of one aisle, say something like “you left everything on the shelf, that was helpful,” or “you are really listening to directions, that can be tough to do.”

Steps of positive discipline

  • I messages – I messages are for sharing your emotions as needed and then lay blame on the situation or the behavior, not the child.  In this case it might sound like, “I am upset, this is a mess,” or “I am worried something, might break,” or “I am frustrated, this is taking too long.”
  • Empathy – Empathy is validating the child’s emotions in the moment, even if you disagree with the emotion itself.  This might sound like, “I know you’re bored being at the store,” or “I know you’re excited to be at the store!”
  • Positive Intent – Positive Intent is recognizing the good reason behind the behavior.  For the grocery store, this could be “I know you want to help with the shopping.”
  • Choices – Choices offer the child two positive ways to do the thing you want them to do.  If you want your child to leave things on the shelf at the grocery store, this might sound like “Do you want to ride on the cart or help push the cart?” or “Do you want to carry the cereal or the crackers while we walk?”  **Choices, challenges and contribution are interchangeable at this step of the discipline process.
  • Challenges – Challenges attempt to change behaviors by making it a game, a race or by making it fun.  On one aisle this might be “Can you walk heel-toe, heel-toe all the ways to the end?” and on the next aisle “Can you find three cereals that start with the letter C?”
  • Contribution – Contribution is giving children jobs to engage them in a positive way.  In the grocery store this might be “I need a cart pusher,” or “Would you be in charge of crossing things off the list?”
  • Natural Consequence – Natural consequences are what just might happen if the child continues the behavior.  In this case, “If you are pulling things off the shelf, something might break,” or “you might get hurt.”
  • Logical Positive Consequence –  Logical positive consequences are the good related outcome for finding the good behavior.  In the grocery store, “If you can leave things on the shelf while we walk, you can pick the cereal,” or “you can help with the scanner.”
  • Logical Negative Consequence –  Logical negative consequences are the bad related outcome if the child for continuing the bad behavior.  In the grocery store, “If you pull things off the shelf, you will have to hold my hand,” or “you will have to ride in the cart.”

For more examples of the steps of positive discipline, here’s a link to similar previous posts: https://parentingbydrrene.com/?s=steps.

 

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