Monday, March 19, 2012


I've been blessed lately to find lots of local moms who are pursuing positive discipline!  One of them started a monthly book club so we could discuss Jane Nelsen's Positive Discipline with other moms and learn together.

At the first meeting last week we talked through the foreword, preface and first two chapters of the book.  I was excited by the discussion and wanted to go ahead and get started on the next few assigned chapters.  Today I read through Chapter 3, about birth order and its effect on parents' behavior, and therefore on children's behavior.

Jane Nelsen talks quite about in this chapter about the idea of pampering, which she seems to define as doing something for a child that they can do themselves.  For example, she states that a child is capable of dressing themselves by age two, if the clothes are suitable.  Therefore, dressing a child after that age is pampering.

And here is where I realize once again that perhaps I do pamper C in the name of expediency.

See, she doesn't get completely dressed independently.  Here's where I'd put her skills in several key areas:
  • She can put on her panties and a pull-on style of pants by herself (not always the right direction)
  • She can put on her shoes by herself but asks for help with her socks which I always give
  • She can put on a shirt or pull-on dress IF I hold it up for her and talk her through it
A good friend of mine has a daughter who is six months younger than C.  Her daughter loves to try on clothes and play dress-up.  She's in and out of several outfits a day, so she gets lots of practice putting on clothes independently.  While C seems to enjoy playing dress-up, it's not to the level of her little friend.  In fact, I think C would be content to be naked all day!

Another factor in this is probably our morning routine.  C's habit lately is to get up shortly before we do, and fire up a movie on Netflix online until we get up.  Then we tend to eat breakfast in our jammies and put off getting dressed until the last minute.  So, when it is time to go somewhere, I'm in a rush and don't feel like I can take the time to let C figure things out herself and just end up doing much of it for her.  

So, thinking out loud here, what if I made eating breakfast contingent on getting dressed?  What if I locked the computer so she couldn't start her morning with screen time?

I think it's time to revisit our morning routine chart, take time for training and then give C back the responsibility that is rightfully hers.


  1. Good plan! That reminds me... I need to renew my hunt for softer/stretchier socks - I'm still helping with that part as well. Girls' socks are torture devices.

  2. I love encouraging children to do whatever they can for themselves. But often when they don't, it's because they're expressing the need for connection. Sometimes we can "talk" them through the task, meaning we stay connected while they dress themselves. But sometimes, they really need us to show we care tangibly. So while I like much of Positive Discipline, I find it lacking in understanding of emotional development. That said, I think your plan to put dressing earlier in the routine where she can really master it is wonderful. Please let us know how it goes!

  3. Thanks for responding! Carissa, looking for easier on socks is a good idea. Dr. Laura, I appreciate what you have to say about considering the connection factor. :)


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