Welcome, Judeth! Take it away.....
Conscious discipline. I have heard it a couple of times before, but I never really thought much about it. The main principle of Conscious Discipline is when a child is acting out, or misbehaving, it is a call for help, not a sign of disrespect. Embracing conscious discipline, the adults create a “safe place” for the child to go; The safe place is not to be confused with a time out where most children are left alone or left in isolation. The safe place in Conscious Discipline is used to promote self-regulation and create a judgment-free space for the child to work through their emotion.
To create a safe place: It can be a small section of a classroom or a small area in a home. The set-up of the safe place should be comfortable – offering a place to sit, the ability to engage with hands-on manipulatives, and offer a couple of different options for the child to express their anger, sadness, or whatever emotion they are feeling.
The standard process in Conscious Discipline (CD) is:
- Have the child sit down.
- Pick a breathing icon to help calm down (show in the picture below).
- Pick which emotion the child is feeling (shown in the chart above).
- Pick an activity that will calm the child down. That's why you want to have interesting hands-on manipulatives available in the safe place.
- Once the child calms down, the teacher or parent is to sit and talk with them, ask curious questions about the child’s behavior, and explore what a better option might be in the future when the child has an emotional urge again.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why Conscious Discipline? There have been many other successful discipline tools for years.” Exploring the research and many videos at Conscious Discipline, you can see there are quite a few things that current discipline tools are not teaching, or actually making worse. To quote one of the handouts on the CD website, “Conscious discipline teaches everyone how to respond wisely to life events rather than unconsciously react from a set of pre-programmed skills that may or may be effective or wise.”
If you are interested in this style of discipline or just want to try something new, say good by to stop lights in classrooms (which teach humiliation, now how to behave appropriately) and rewards & punishment (which teach manipulation) and try Conscious Discipline.
Thank you, Judeth! I hadn't heard of Conscious Discipline until your blog post.
What do you think, blog readers? Might you give CD a go? Their website is packed full of helpful materials.
All the best,