Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I know that I have explained the first part of the Nurtured Heart Approach but I thought I would write an explanation on how the discipline side of it works. It has helped me stay very consistent and I thought maybe it might help others especially those who are raising a "difficult" child. I say "difficult" because that is what the book calls them but "difficult" can look like a lot of different things. I even think it is good for your a typical child. This is how it works.

First, you set up your rules-very simple and clear ones always starting with"No" like no hitting, no arguing, no talking back, etc. Then you explain to your children that they are no longer going to get any warnings. They know the rules and if they are broken it becomes an immediate time-out. They are also not going to get lectures, speeches, asking them to say sorry, etc. It will just be a time-out and then right back into the "game". Now, you have to describe to them what a time-out looks like. A time-out is a time where the child is quiet-no talking-just sitting or standing still. No playing with anything including other siblings. It can happen anywhere-the car, the store, the living room, etc. It is immediate and only starts when they are quiet and disengaged. Now you may ask what happens when the child refuses to take the time out. You merely say "Time-out will start when you are quiet," every time they continue to talk, and you disengage from them. There is no designated amount of time. You get to decide depending on how quickly they stop and get quiet and how long you think they need to regroup. You, the parent are in control. It could only be a few minutes. In the book, they say sometimes it could only be a few seconds. I have not gotten there yet. But the idea is to teach to them that when they make a mistake, they need to stop and regroup and start again fresh and new. It also allows you to know what to say each and every time and to not give the behavior or the child any extra negative attention, the attention that they have gotten so use to getting when they misbehave. After the time-out is over you go right back to encouraging and praising the child with something like "I like that you took you time-out so quickly and quietly." or "Thank you for sitting still and quiet. I know that is hard for you," or if you want to get in a simple teaching principle you can say, "Thank you for no longer arguing with me and stopping and taking your time-out." The book explains it better. So if you are interested I would get the book and read it thoroughly. It gives lots of examples. So far it has worked very well for us. I have learned some things from doing this approach. First, if you give the time-out for too long it looses its effectiveness. Second, McKenzie almost always has a horrible come back when I say, "That is a time-out." I usually get "OMG" or a cuse word or my favorite, "for whaaaat??" I have realized this is to get me to engage with her and begin to give her my energy and attention. So I have learned to ignore those comments, say nothing except, "Time-out will start when you are quiet." And guess what, instead of her exploding more and more and getting argumentive she finally gets quiet. So last night I told her out of context when things were going good that if she responds to a time-out given with "Yes, mom." and nothing else that the time-out will be considerably shorter. So we shall see if she heard me. I will say that this with encouraging the positive behavior has decreased the amount of bad choices and the explosions. However, it has not changed her mood swings, her anxiety, or her impulsiveness. That I believe that is the mental illness part of it all. And that I believe will need to be helped with medication. Our therapist also has told us that she will help with the last part of the approach that is also in the book. It is the "credit system". When I read that part, I was very overwhelmed. She told me to hang on and we would get to that later. So I am sure I will have more to share about this amazing approach.

1 comment:

  1. We have been instructed in a very similar technique with our kids by our family psychologist. It is common sense really, but we need it spelled out for us sometimes to really follow it, at least I do! Thanks for the great explanation. This encourages me with our youngest who is our biggest problem right now. Thanks.