Summer Time Fun

During the two hot months, Sunbird children and their friends came together for many hours of fun, playing with sand and water, having exciting craft activities that nurtured their extra curricular skills in science, geography and magical light tricks. Relive the moments with them here.

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Positive parenting : Megaskills 1

Dear parents

Sunbird is back with a new series of MEGASKILLS. We hope you were able to make good use of PRIME PARENTING.

We wanted to give you a little break before we launch the new series, so here is the new topic which will be self explainable. It also includes older children’s support, as we know many readers have now children that are anywhere from 6 to 12 years old.

 

MEGA SKILLS–By Dorothy Rich

 

What can parents do?: For years parents were told, “Hands off, you don’t know what you are doing, leave teaching to the schools.” Over twenty years ago, I decided I had to find a way to help parents know what they could do & what they should do to help children learn. The answer: Figure out what your family can do. Come up with a system that works. Don’t make it too hard or too big. Make it simple, easy & everyone can do it. Make it practical. Make it enjoyable.

Remember, it doesn’t take a lot of time to do a lot of good. Get people doing things together. You don’t need to be perfect to be good, & that goes for your children too. Convey to your children that learning matters, & that they matter. Encourage kids & feel encouraged yourselves.

Start now. Don’t worry about what you did or did not do before. The education in this book is serious, but it’s not grim. It’s play & pleasure & the delight in learning & in time spent together.

MegaSkills are the very basic values, attitudes & behaviours that determine a child’s achievement. MegaSkills are our children’s inner engines of learning. Though reinforced in the classroom, they get their power from the home:

 

  1. Confidence: Feeling able to do it
  2. Motivation: Wanting to do it
  3. Effort: Being willing to work hard
  4. Responsibility: Doing what’s right
  5. Initiative: Moving into action
  6. Perseverance: Completing what you start
  7. Caring: Showing concern for others
  8. Teamwork: Working with others
  9. Common Sense: Using good judgment
  10. Problem Solving: Putting what you know & what you can do into action.

 

 

MEGASKILLS & OUR CHILDREN

A MegaSkill, like confidence, is a long-lasting, achievement-enhancing skill. It’s what makes possible the use of the other skills that we learn. A MegaSkill is a catalyst. It’s like yeast making bread rise.

These aren’t only MegaSkills, but they play a strong role in determining success in school & beyond. They don’t drop from the sky & land on a lucky few. They can be taught at home by parents, even today. They are the values that undergird our work ethic, our character, & our personal behaviour.

I Care About You: Many children today feel they are not getting the time they need. I’ve heard the excuses, & there aren’t any good ones. “I’m just too busy” & “My kid doesn’t want to do anything with me, anyway,” are not acceptable, not now when our children need parents as much as they do.

What does this time together do? It says to a child, “I care about you. I want to spend special time with you. I want to hear what is on your mind & what you are feeling. You are important. You are needed.”

Children need time to relax & to think & to be on their own, & so do parents. It doesn’t take a lot of time to do a lot of good.

Our Children’s World: A Scary Place: The World is increasingly a frightening place. When I went to school, no one offered me drugs. AIDS was unheard of. The music I listened to had sweet lyrics & melodies compared to today’s torrid words & music. There seemed to be a communally shared sense of right & wrong & a greater sense of safety.

Looking around you now, it seems that children are being told & shown more than they want to know or need to know. It’s as if anything goes, & it is making real growing up harder. Parental guidance is more than suggested. It’s essential.

Today many children are full of stress. Time spent with children is the best possible vaccine that families can use.

Hope: A Vital Ingredient: There’s a well-known story of two children put in a room that contains a big pile of manure. One child looks at the pile & falls into despair. The other starts searching the room, saying, “With all this manure, there must be a pony somewhere.”

We can help children feel more hopeful & optimistic. Children need to be able to expect & to predict. They need a sense of schedule & of routine. Children need to be able to believe in themselves & in the people around them. Children need to feel that they matter.

 

 

THE MEGASKILLS PROGRAM & HOW IT WORKS

I said to myself, “There has got to be a better way,”  when for the tenth time that day my darling child said: “I forgot,” or “I can’t find them anywhere,” or “I want to watch more TV,” or “I need some money.”

We all want our children to remember, to be responsible, to be concerned. As a teacher I thought, “If I can figure out how to teach the parts of speech, I ought to be able to come up with some ways to help teach these important basics.”

Using what I knew from the classroom, I decided that my method would focus on what is to be taught & then break it into teachable bits–like the directions of a recipe.

That was the beginning of the home learning recipe. It is the heart of the program.

It Starts At Home: This program uses everyday things, like doing laundry or paying bills, & going places, like supermarkets or gas stations, for teaching. It is easy. It is fun. It takes little time. Everyone can do it. It costs no money. The idea is to enable children to apply what they learn.

Common Sense is Still in Fashion: In recent years education became the job for the school. Today there is research showing that families are important educators of their children, teaching even when they don’t know they are teaching. No matter how good they are, teachers cannot do the job alone. This book provides a way to think about & use everyday moments for teaching & learning. Children need physical activity & opportunity to ask questions, to explore, & to experiment without competitive pressures.

What’s in a Home Learning Recipe?–A home learning recipe has to:

  1. Tie to schoolwork but not be schoolwork: Children need ways to succeed at home that are different from school but at the same time help them succeed in school. Parents need ways to help their children learn other than by nagging, “Did you do your homework?”
  2. Be serious & be fun at the same time.
  3. Have a teachable focus: You don’t send a very young child upstairs to “clean a room.” You send a young child to do one thing: To make a bed or to vacuum the rug or to open the shades. It’s even helpful to resist sending an older youngster to “clean up that whole mess at once.” Good teaching is a step-by-step operation.
  4. Be easy to do, take little time, & cost little or no money: Parents can teach & learn with their children joyously, without worry, without hassle. I needed activities that could be done alongside my household routines, using whatever I had at home. Today’s busy parents need these easy-to-do “recipes” more than ever. Use these ideas to take off on your own, using your & your child’s creativity to come up with additional “recipes”.

A good home learning recipe gives everyone a chance to succeed. There is no one right way to do it. A recipe is a road map, not a set of rigid rules. The activity itself is designed to provide a feeling of accomplishment. It gives parents a chance to step back & children a chance to step forward. The idea is to help both parent & child feel good & get to know each other better in the bargain.

Different “Recipes” for Different Ages: What works for preschoolers won’t work for fifth graders. Parents have to be ready to change gears. Around ages four through six, many of the “recipes” have to do with getting ready for school & using primary school subjects like counting, sorting & early reading at home.

Around ages seven through nine, many of the “recipes” focus on helping children get organised, build study skills, & develop solid work habits.

Around ages 10 through 12, “recipes” work toward helping children understand themselves, their friends, & their family. Activities aim at developing greater self-reliance, building career awareness, & establishing healthy habits & self-esteem that can help prevent destructive habits, such as drug abuse.

These are not hard & fast age & grade distinctions. Use all & any of the activities that appeal to you & your child.

For children who do not yet read, I recommend that parents read all directions aloud, that children dictate their ideas for parents to write, & that symbols be used alongside words as needed. In labelling a dresser drawer, draw a sock next to the word “socks.”

We use a series of eight “recipes” over a period of eight weeks, one a week. This is designed to get parents & youngsters tuned in to the idea of using “recipes”. Read through the entire collection of “recipes” first, starring or checking the ones that appeal to you. Then ask your child to help you select the ones you both like. Work at your own schedule–but guard against overkill. Once a week is really fine. You can build a whole year of activities as you go along.

Staying with the Program: Use them on a regular basis. If you’ve used one part of an activity, go back to it to find the extra idea you haven’t tried. Think of ways you can build on what you have done. Improvise, be creative.

 

 

MEGASKILL ONE: CONFIDENCE

We know what we’re hearing when children say: “I just can’t do that.” “The other kids are better than I am.” “I’m scared.” “I won’t try it.” We’re hearing a child’s cry for more confidence. “I remember the potholder I made in third grade, made out of loops that were yellow, red, gold & orange. It was a present I made to give to my mother, & oh, was she proud. And did it make me feel good!”

Those are the words of a man in his late fifties. He has a doctorate & many scientific achievements on his resum. But when asked about his sense of confidence, he talks about the potholder.

I still remember the day I carried Rocky, the rooster, home in a crate bigger than I was. It was the last day of first grade. About fifteen of us lined up to draw slips for our chickens. I was a winner. I struggled with that big box over the six blocks to my home. My brother came by a couple of times to try to help me with it, but I refused. This was my chicken, my achievement, & I would bring him home alone.

I have never forgotten Rocky & the day I carried him home alone. It is a memory of struggle & success that gives me confidence & motivation to this very day. When I have to do something hard & when I get scared, I think back to Rocky & that crate, & even though it has nothing to do with the current situation, I breathe deeper & think to myself, “I can do it.”

Confidence Practice: Confidence ebbs & flows like a river. It does not run at high tide all the time. Coming up with confidence-building experiences for children can be a challenge. These experiences need to be small enough for children to deal with, large enough to encourage growth, & easy enough for parents to work with. You can start at home with household objects, such as a telephone.

Here are a few activities, all using the phone:

 

Telephone Time–ages 4-6

For this early reading activity, you need a telephone, seven small squares of paper, crayon or pencil. Tell or show your child your home telephone number. Say each separate number aloud as you point to it.

On separate pieces of paper, write down each number. Now show your child how to put the pieces in the same order (left to right) as your phone number. Let your child read this telephone number aloud from the assembled pieces of paper. Provide help as needed.

As a game, mix up the pieces of paper & let your child put your telephone number together. At first let your child match the papers to the number listed on the phone. Then try this without looking at the phone. Now ask your child to write down the phone number, left to right, on a larger piece of paper. You might want to post this for all to see & admire.

When you are both out together, let your child dial home. Do this when someone is at home to give your child the satisfaction of making contact.

 

Calling For Help–ages 7-9

This activity helps your child learn to use the telephone to report emergencies. Ask your child to find in the telephone book the numbers for Fire/Rescue & Police, usually listed at the front of the telephone book.

If you don’t already have one, make a list of important telephone numbers to call in an emergency, similar to the one that follows. With your child, fill this in & put it near the phone.

 

Emergency:

Fire ____________________

Dad’s Work_______________

Police___________________

Mom’s Work_______________

Friend or Neighbour______

 

Take turns explaining what to say on the phone when you report emergencies. Examples: Someone at home is hurt; you smell smoke or see fire. When you use the phone in this practice, be sure to keep the contact button pushed down.

 

From Things to People: In the journey of growing up, children must learn to manage objects & work with people. Confidence comes from both. In the activities that follow, children find out more about their families & themselves, & they get a chance to learn to like each other more. I believe that if children knew more about their parents, especially about their early lives, it would help.

I’m Okay, & So is My Family: Children love knowing more about themselves. Parents like this activity because it not only helps children think seriously about themselves but provides lots of laughs, too. It helps families remember the funny times that sometimes seem funny only in retrospect–the time the big fish got away, along with the fishing rod, or the time friends were invited for a birthday party on the wrong day.

 

The Importance of Me–ages 4-9

The task is to make a “me” poster. You need markers, poster cardboard or large paper, scissors, paste, old magazines for pictures, & snapshots, if possible.

Together look through magazines. Find pictures of what your child likes–pets, foods, clothes. Cut them out & with paste arrange them on a large sheet of paper. Magazine pictures are fine. If you have extra snapshots, use them.

An activity like this one says to your child, “You are special, & your family knows it.”

 

Now & Then–ages 10-12

This activity helps to get generations talking together, especially about those early years. Everyone was a child once. Here’s a way to share some of those memories.

In this activity, the child & a parent or grandparent make a Time Line. It’s a way to recapture memories of people at certain times in their lives.

You need a roll of shelf paper or large brown wrapping paper, pencils & crayons, & a ruler.

Decide together with your child when to begin the Time Line. This may be at birth or when school started or some other special time. Decide how much space will be allowed for each year. One inch per year or one foot per year? Draw a line for each one of you.

Talk about the memories. Compare similar experiences. Talk about differences. For example, at no time in my life have I experienced such a momentous decision as my parents did when they decided to immigrate to a new, unknown country.

Another way to harvest memories without using a Time Line is to have children interview grandparents & relatives who lived through different periods of American (or family) history.

Young people may want to start their own family archives by putting all these family memories in a book to share with their own children.

 

What Do I Do Right?–ages 10-12

Many of us spend a lot of time telling each other what we do wrong. Here’s an activity to help us focus on what we’re doing right. You need paper & pencil.

Together think of & write down at least two things you like about yourselves. Example: “I have a good sense of humour. I like to share with others.” Talk about what others say they like about you.

Figure out together jobs & activities at home that both you & your child will feel proud of accomplishing. Examples: Fixing something around the house, cooking a special dish for the family, teaching the family a new game.

Try to set a time every day, if only for a few minutes, to talk about the events of the day. If you’re available to listen to your children when they are young, chances are they’ll continue to communicate with you as they grow older.

 

It Takes Courage: “It takes courage to make courage.” We want children to be careful but not fearful. Work towards a gradual building of the abilities it takes to be courageous & careful at the same time.

I have a problem with heights. When my young children went to the top of the big slide in the playground, my immediate reaction was to shout, “Stop! Come down! You’ll hurt yourself!” They were perfectly happy up there high in the sky. I was the one who was petrified. It took some time for me to pull my own courage together, to let them be courageous & free from the seeds of my fear.

Confidence & Expectations: In California a few years ago, a study showed that “ordinary” students could exceed themselves when expectations for them were high.

Researchers went into a school & tested the students for academic potential. Ignoring the score, they told teachers that one group was made up of “late bloomers” whose academic “promise” would be realised that year. At the end of the year the “promise” was realised. This group was comparable with their classmates as far as could be established, but their teachers had expected them to succeed & they had.

Children learn–by trying. When they try, they build confidence. When children see themselves as doers, they develop the ability to do more.

 

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OF SUMMER, FUN AND SKITS

Dear parents and friends

We wanted to take you on a little tour of our recent events. We had a great summer camp with lots of participants, held many birthday parties and enjoyed great outdoor antics.

We hope you like the fun pictures.

Wishing you a Happy Independence Day ahead. Jay Hind

 

 

 

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Sunbird Quote

When I was young I observed that nine out of ten things i did were failures, so I did ten times more work.                                                                                George Bernard Shaw

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Sunbird Quote

What you leave in your children, is more important than what you leave to them.                                                                                                                                          Denis Waitley 

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Sunbird Quote

A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us places, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.                                                        Author unknown

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Sunbird Quote

Age considers; youth ventures.     Rabindranath Tagore

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Graduation in Motion 2

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Graduation in Motion

Hi parents, we are publishing the little clips taken on youtube. We will keep  publishing them over the next few days. Enjoyy

P2 and KG dance

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Prime – Time Parenting Part 8

MAKING YOUR FAMILY A WINNING TEAM

A successful family team works together to achieve goals. Every member has a unique role to play. Each contributes his share. Each is essential to the final outcome. But the whole–the concerted team effort–is stronger than the sum of its parts. And as a result, each family member shares in the gratifying joy of meaningful relationships, a growing sense of self-worth, & the satisfaction of fulfilled ambitions.

A good coach is the key to building a winning team. It is your spirit, your drive, your enthusiasm, & your expertise that will ultimately make the difference between success or failure.

A Team Purpose

Every team needs a purpose to keep it going. Every family needs a goal that is worth striving for. One of the Kuzma family goals is excellence; we all strive to reach the highest level that each of us is capable of attaining.

Kim wants to be the best flute player she can become. Knowing this, it is much easier for the rest of us to remain quiet & stay out of her way while she is practicing. At times, Kari has even offered to make Kim’s bed or fix her sack lunch when time is running short & Kim is preparing for a lesson.

In order to have a successful team, children must feel that they are ultimately contributing to family goals. One of our short-term family goals has been to help Mommy finish her book. The children have curtailed boisterous play outside the study door & have taken on a number of Mom’s home responsibilities. Each finished chapter is cause for a family celebration. And now the watchword is “only one chapter to go!” Just this morning as I was taking the children to school, I asked if one of them had a good thought to guide us through the day. Kim quoted something that she was learning at school, “Remember that you will never reach a higher standard than you yourself set. Then set your mark high, & step by step, even though it be by painful effort, by self-denial & sacrifice, ascend the whole length of the ladder of progress.”

The passage continues, “Let nothing hinder you. Fate has not woven its meshes about any human being so firmly that he need remain helpless & in uncertainty. Opposing circumstances should create a firm determination to overcome them. The breaking down of one barrier will give greater ability & courage to go forward. Press with determination in the right direction, & circumstances will be your helpers, not your hindrances.”–A terrific motto for us all!

A common purpose binds the family together in a cooperative working relationship that encourages them to overcome obstacles & progress toward the standard–their team goal.

A Code of Behaviour

Every successful coach establishes behavior standards for team members. A successful family must do the same. Your challenge is to help each member of the team see the relationship between his behavior & the success of the team.

It is important that you, the coach, set an example by meeting your own standards. If you want others to be self-disciplined, loyal, & cooperative, you must be this way first. You must inspire your family with the fact that winning or losing is really dependent upon each one’s willingness to reach for the goals together. Finally, it is your responsibility to discipline those who do not uphold the ideals.

The Game Plan

Planning is an essential part of a winning formula. In addition to a general plan that includes the family purpose & a code of behaviour, the family must have a game plan for each new day. A successful game plan should provide a step-by-step scheme that will help you achieve your goals without being sidetracked. Game plans should consist of bite-sized objectives–what you want to accomplish on a weekly or daily basis–& have a balance in a variety of activities, as well as an appropriate sense of timing. To be a winning team, the family must also consider what problems they are likely to encounter & provide an adequate plan of defense. For example, if Mom is late getting home from work, someone should start dinner. Or if Dad gets out early, he should phone Mom & see if there is anything she needs to have him pick up on his way home.

Communicating the Game Plan

Effective communication is an essential quality for a successful coach. You must know what to say & when to say it. Your goals for the team, your winning strategies, your standards, even your expertise & enthusiasm, won’t make a winning team if you fail to communicate these things.

Coaches plan a variety of team meetings to get their message across to their players & listen to the players’ feedback. They hold weekly rallies to encourage the team, they give pep talks, they ask the players to evaluate the team’s progress & make suggestions, & they develop long-range plans. Then, before the team hits the field, they hold chalk talks to plan strategies for specific games or solve specific problems. Once the play begins, the communication does not cease; rather, it increases in the form of a huddle. Huddles are called whenever necessary in order to make immediate plans or give the necessary encouragement that may ultimately make the difference between winning or losing.

Winning family teams need this same form of communication. You will be a more successful family leader if you plan (or encourage your family to help plan) a weekly family rally, a daily chalk talk, & family huddles whenever needed.

Here are some ideas for making team meetings more attractive to your family.

  1. Make the meetings so interesting, informative, warm, & enjoyable that everyone will want to join the fun.
  2. Ask each person to put suggestions for a rally or chalk talk in a suggestion box, and use them.
  3. Make sure each person feels that his contributions are important to the family.
  4. Plan something special that everyone enjoys.
  5. Serve a special treat at a family rally.
  6. Vote on decisions.
  7. Make sure that everyone has a chance to express himself.
  8. When the children are old enough, have them take turns leading a session.

Establish and Maintain Team Spirit

Everyone is important, but the team comes first. Superstars seldom make it to the top by themselves. In team sports, the outstanding player owes much of his success to the support of his teammates, just as every individual owes much of his success to his family.

The superstar of a family might be a parent who is a famous scientist, or an outstanding musician, or president of a company. It may be a child who is a born athlete or intellectually gifted. If these individuals overshadow other family members or receive attention & recognition at the others’ expense, there will be a breakdown in family morale. Each superstar must learn to accept recognition & praise graciously, & honestly credit the family when credit is due.

Children who are not superstars sometimes feel neglected, worthless, & unloved because they do not receive the attention that another is receiving. The family cannot always prevent this if the attention comes from outsiders. But within the family they can make sure that all of their children receive recognition for their skills & abilities, even if the outside World has not crowned that child with superstar status. Each team member should be challenged to do his best.

Everyone is needed. It is not much fun to play on a team when you don’t feel needed. Parents sometimes err when they try to be so self-sufficient that their children come to believe that their contributions to the family are really not worth very much. So make sure each of your children feels really needed & useful to the family & to you!

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And the Winners Are….

In Sunbird, everyone’s a winner, because every child has a special characteristic, that is worth noting. All are worth a time of appreciation, and they love it…. So Congratulations to all  our little ones for outstanding performances during their year in Sunbird.

 

 

 

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Annual and Graduation Day

Welcome dear parents to a picture parade of your little ones performing on our Annual Day on the 19th of March 3016. As you may have noticed, none of the children felt, they ‘had to perform’ but were delighted to go on stage and come alive to rhythms, singing songs, playing out a drama, telling stories, piano recitals and their gymnastic routines. Thank you teachers, parents for making this another very memorable event!! See you in the new academic year!!

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Sunbird Quote

Children seldom turn out the way we expect. Then again, we didn’t either.

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MEET THE PROS

So many parents are eager to know very early about their children’s talents and professional inclinations. At Sunbird, all of the students get to try many ‘professions’ via play. We have captured a few ‘at work’ and hope you can come to your own conclusions. Here are a few suggestions:

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Horticulturist

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Master Chefs

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Guitar Player

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Scientist

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Mechanical Engineer

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Professional Plummer

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Builder

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Opera Singer

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Sound Engineer

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Car Designer

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Professional Model

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Architects

 

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Prime – Time Parenting Part 7

PRIME-TIME DISCIPLINE: THE PREVENTIVE APPROACH

The goal of effective prime-time discipline is self-discipline. That’s the preventive approach. Working parents can’t oversee & police all their children’s activities. Therefore, they must teach their children how to make good decisions about their own behaviour. When children are self-controlled rather than parent-controlled, it frees time for more creative, enjoyable, & happy family interactions–more quality time together.

Children’s inappropriate behaviour ranges from childish irresponsibility (such as forgetting to feed the dog & accidentally spilling the milk) to wilful defiance of parental authority. In between these two extremes there is a wide range of “normal” misbehavior by children who persistently challenge the limitations imposed by adults.

In order to avoid unnecessary conflict, a parent must understand the difference between discipline & punishment. Punishment is a penalty imposed upon a child for a wrong-doing. Discipline, on the other hand, is a teaching process. It helps him learn lessons that will make him a better person.

Punishment is arbitrarily imposed; discipline relates directly to a child’s inappropriate behaviour. For example, Tim was late getting home from school & had not notified his mother. If she chose to punish him, she might take his bicycle away for two weeks & spank him for his irresponsibility. If, on the other hand, she chose a disciplinary action, she might not allow Tim to watch his favourite TV show that evening so that he could have the time to finish the homework & chores he’d neglected by arriving home late. She might also set up some careful limitations for future behaviour. “Unless you call home & receive permission for a variance, you must be home thirty minutes after school each day or no TV that night.” When discipline is effective it avoids needless conflict & enhances the possibilities for more quality family time.

Remember to keep the request simple. When you make a request, you must always be aware of your child’s ability to understand & remember that request.

Most parents make far too many requests of their children. “Kevin, brush your teeth & wash your face. Be sure to go to the bathroom before we leave. You forgot to clear your plate from the table. And have Kim run a comb through your hair.” My 7-year-old can’t even follow this string of requests. I know because we have tried it & it has never worked! Very few children will speak up & say, “Hold it. I can’t remember everything you’re telling me to do.” Instead, they signal us silently by failing to follow all our instructions. And we respond by accusing them of disobedience! So, when you are trying to teach your child that you are an authority, remember this little jingle:

Just ask the child one thing to do

And then make sure you follow through.

The Qualities of an Effective Disciplinarian

Keep Open.

Being open means that parents are approachable; that they will listen. It means that they will seriously consider another person’s (even a little person’s) suggestions, criticism, needs, concerns, demands, & wishes before making a decision, rather than jealously guarding this function as their own parental right.

Be consistent.

Let’s pretend that you think it’s very important for your child to make his bed each morning. Your child knows exactly how you feel–it is a rule that he should obey. But you are very busy during those morning hours & often forget to check his room. When you do check & find an unmade bed, you sometimes feel that it’s easier to ignore the infraction than to exert the extra effort needed to get him to make his bed before the school bus arrives. So you decide to wait until after school. Then, by the time you both get home, the bed is forgotten.

Now, you still feel very strongly about the bed, & you have communicated this to your child in no uncertain terms. Shouldn’t this be enough to get the job done? He clearly knows what he should do. Why doesn’t he do it? The reason is that this requirement has not been consistently enforced.

Children will abide by reasonable requirements & limitations, but their tendency is to do as little as possible. Even a two-year-old will try to get away with as much as he can. He’ll quickly learn that even though his parents say “no” frequently, the limits will come tumbling down if he kicks hard enough. When his persistent challenging meets with parental inconsistency, he’ll be encouraged to kick at every limit he would just as soon do without.

Balance tenderness & firmness.

A good disciplinarian constantly walks the tightrope between firmness & tenderness. Sometimes he may tip in one direction but he corrects the error with a little tip in the opposite direction. He is not afraid to be firm, but he is equally unafraid to be tender.

Provide encouragement.

Inspire your child with a sense of hope; assure him of your support & your trust in his capabilities.

Between the plunking of the typewriter keys, I thought I heard a whimper. I left the study to investigate. Kari was sitting on the piano bench, her eyes brimming with tears. “What’s wrong, Kari?” I asked.

“I can’t do it. It’s too hard. I’ll never get a gold star at my next lesson,” she cried.

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” I said. “What is the first note of your piece?” Step by step I began encouraging her to pick her way through the difficult music. I sat beside her as she played it over & over again until it was mastered.

That night Kari hugged & kissed me with extra feeling & bounced off to her bed joyfully. The next day the joy of encouragement buoyed her again when her teacher rewarded her with a gold star.

Encouragement. What a tranquilizer! What a stimulant! What an antidepressant! What a tonic for whatever ails a child! I don’t think there is ever a time when encouragement & hope are inappropriate. A disobedient child is often a discouraged child. He reasons, “When I don’t feel good about myself & nothing I do seems to work out, it really doesn’t matter how I act. Why even try to be good?” Discouragement can lead to despair, moodiness, even apathy. All these emotions severely restrict a child’s ability to cope & to make wise decisions.

Don’t risk discouragement; give your child an injection of “hypodermic affection” every three hours, or as often as needed. This quick injection of love can be a hug, a wink, a smile, or a playful nibble on a baby’s tummy. These little attentions can give a child a new outlook on life.

Common Mistakes of Parents

The following list of common parental mistakes offers some guidelines to help you err less frequently.

  1. Living too close to the problem to view it objectively. One day a frustrated mother lamented to her child’s teacher, “I have no idea what I am going to do with my boy. I can’t cope with his behavior. He is constantly on my nerves & in my hair & under foot. He is always doing things that annoy me.”

“Well,” replied the teacher, “have you ever thought of getting him a bicycle?”

“A bicycle!” the parent exclaimed. “Now, how is that going to change his behaviour?”

“Well, it may not change his behaviour,” replied the teacher, “but it would spread it over a wider area.”

Sometimes problems are magnified because we view them at such close range. Gain a new perspective by stepping away from the situation occasionally. Learn to view your child from the perspective of others. Remember, a child’s behaviour is not nearly so irritating if it is spread over a wider area & viewed from a healthy perspective!

  1. Being too restrictive or too permissive. Parents who feel insecure about their children’s behaviour tend to restrict that behaviour to such an extent that the child has little room to think creatively & misbehave. When a child’s behaviour is severely restricted, he cannot learn to make decisions & experience the consequences of those decisions. Overly restricted children are followers; they are overly compliant, shy, & hesitant to reach out to others. These children can surprise parents by suddenly going to the opposite extreme during the teenage years & rebelling against parental values & standards.

The opposite extreme, being too permissive, is equally detrimental to a child’s development. If you allow your child to do whatever he pleases, you are heading for conflict throughout the child-rearing years. Overpermissiveness may seem like a good way to avoid conflict, but without parental guidance, children tend to pack together & run wild until their aggressive, noncompliant behaviour gets them into trouble.

  1. Expecting misbehavior. When asked the question, “How is your child’s behaviour?” one father quipped, “I don’t know. He has never behaved!” Children tend to fulfil the expectations of others. If you expect them to be bad, they will usually reward you with this very behaviour. In fact, they may even outdo your expectations. On the other hand, if they know that you trust them to make good decisions (unless they are rebelling against you in some way), they will usually do everything in their power to fulfil those expectations.
  2. Being too busy to discipline. The first time a child misbehaves, he must be corrected & taught a more acceptable mode of behavior. If he does it again, he must be corrected again. Surprisingly, however, parents are often too busy to follow through on their instructions to a child. Your arms may be elbow deep in the dishwater; you may be talking on the phone to a business associate; you may be entertaining the boss & his wife. Too often, parents allow the dishes, a caller, or a guest to absorb their full attention, so they ignore misbehavior & neglect to discipline. Disciplining a child after the company has departed is not as effective as immediate disciplinary action. Imagine the impact on your child if you excuse yourself from your company for a few minutes to talk privately with your child about the inappropriateness of his behaviour. Your child will never forget that Mom and Dad will leave whatever they are doing in order to teach their children appropriate behaviour, even though they may be very busy at that time.
  3. Not trusting the child’s capability for self-discipline. If you have established a good rapport with your child during the early years, & have taught him that you are a wise decision-maker, then you can trust him to make more & more of his own decisions as he grows older & more independent.

Individuals who know they are trusted are able to exert a great deal of self-control & willpower. In college, I had a dormitory dean who trusted each one of her girls implicitly. Even though I had many opportunities to break dormitory rules, or sneak in late, I never did because I did not want to lose that trust.

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