Any child who is misbehaving is subconsciously saying, “I am a child, and I just want to belong, and I have some mistaken ideas about how to accomplish belonging.” Misbehaving children are discouraged children. Dreikurs said many times, “Children need encouragement, just as plants need water. They cannot survive without it.” The best way to help a misbehaving child is through encouragement. (adapted from Jane Nelsen, Positive Discipline)
But what does this mean? It is not easy to act encouraging toward a child who is misbehaving. What does encouragement look like? Remember that encouragement is the focus of positive discipline and every method discussed in the positive discipline approach is designed to help children (and adults) feel encouraged.
Last week, we looked at encouragement and other positive ways of communicating with our children. Just by changing our communication style, we can see positive results in our children’s behaviour. But what happens if the misbehaviour continues? What now? What have we overlooked? In our last class of this 4-week workshop, we will look at Driekurs concept of mistaken goals and learn how our own feeling are clues into our children’s mistaken beliefs. We’ll learn what to do about our children’s misbehavior, how to help them make amends, and truly turn difficult situations into wonderful learning opportunities.