Cover image for Positive discipline for preschoolers : for their early years--raising children who are responsible, respectful, and resourceful
Positive discipline for preschoolers : for their early years--raising children who are responsible, respectful, and resourceful
Rev. 4th ed.
Physical Description:
x, 386 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
THE FOUNDATION. Why positive discipline? -- Enter the world of your preschooler -- Understanding developmental appropriateness -- The miraculous brain: learning and development -- SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING. Empathy, compassion, and the growth of social emotional learning -- Recognizing, naming, and managing emotions -- "You can't come to my birthday party": social skills for preschoolers -- "I can do it!": The joys (and challenges) of initiative -- UNDERSTANDING BEHAVIOR AND NEW TOOLS. Accepting the child you have: understanding temperament -- "Why does my child to that?": The messages of misbehavior -- Mistaken goals at home -- Mistaken goals in Preschool -- Ending bedtime battles: preschoolers and sleep -- "I don't like that!": Preschoolers and eating -- Preschoolers and potties: the ongoing saga of toilet training -- THE WORLD OUTSIDE YOUR HOME. Selecting (and living with) childcare -- Class meetings for preschoolers (and families) -- When your child needs special help -- Technology today and tomorrow -- Mother nature meets human nature -- Growing as a family: finding support, resources, and sanity.
Presents a commonsense approach to child-rearing that helps parents understand their preschooler and explains how to prevent misbehavior through non-punitive discipline, and reinforce useful social skills and positive behavior.


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Book 649.123 NEL 0 1

On Order



Caring for young children is one of the most challenging tasks an adult will ever face. No matter how much you love your child, there will be moments filled with frustration, anger, and even desperation. There will also be questions- Why does my four-year-old deliberately lie to me? Why is everything a struggle with my three-year-old? Should I ever spank my preschooler when she is disobedient? Over the years, millions of parents have come to trust the Positive Discipline series and its common-sense approach to child-rearing.

This revised and updated fourth edition includes a new chapter on the importance of play and outdoor experiences on child development, along with new information on school readiness, childhood brain growth, and social/emotional learning. You'll also find practical solutions for how to-

- Teach appropriate social skills at an early age

- Avoid the power struggles that often come with mastering sleeping, eating, and potty training

- See misbehavior as an opportunity to teach nonpunitive discipline--not punishment

Author Notes

Jane Nelsen, Ed.D., coauthor of the bestselling Positive Discipline series, is a licensed marriage, family, and child therapist and an internationally known speaker. Her books have sold more than two million copies.
Cheryl Erwin, M.A., has been a licensed marriage and family therapist and parenting coach in Reno, Nevada, for more than twenty-five years. She is the author or coauthor of several books and manuals on parenting and family life, and she is a popular international speaker and trainer.
Roslyn Ann Duffy founded and codirected Learning Tree Montessori Childcare, and she has written adult and children's texts, including The Top Ten Preschool Parenting Problems as well as the internationally circulated column "From a Parent's Perspective."



Chapter 1 Why Positive Discipline? Parenting classes, preschool websites, and chat groups often echo with similar questions: "Why does my three-year-old bite?" or "How do I get my five-year-old to stay in bed at night?" Child development experts, preschool directors, and therapists' offices overflow with parents whose offspring have reached the ages of three, four, or five and who are wondering what on earth has happened. Listen for a moment to these parents: "Our little boy was such a delight. We expected trouble when he turned two--after all, everyone had warned us about the 'terrible twos'--but nothing happened. Until he turned three, that is. Now we don't know what to do with him. If we say 'black,' he says 'white.' If we say it's bedtime, he's not tired. And trying to brush his teeth turns into a battle. We must be doing something wrong!" "Sometimes I wonder if any sound comes out when I open my mouth. My five-year-old doesn't seem to hear anything I say to her. She won't listen to me at all. Is she always going to act like this?" "We couldn't wait for our son to begin talking, but now we can't get him to stop. He has figured out that he can prolong any conversation by saying, 'Guess what?' He is our delight and despair, in almost equal measure." "I thought it was cute when my three-year-old could use her little fingers to find all kinds of things on my cellphone. Now that she is five, she wants to play with the phone all the time and has terrible tantrums when I take it away from her. What can we do?" As you will discover in the pages that follow (or as you may already realize), ages three to six are busy, hectic years for young children--and for their parents and caregivers. Researchers tell us that human beings have more physical energy at the age of three than at any other time in their life span--certainly more than their weary parents. An inborn drive for emotional, cognitive, and physical development is urging them to explore the world around them; they're acquiring and practicing social skills and entering the world outside the protected haven of the family. And preschoolers have ideas--lots of them--about how that world should operate. Their ideas, along with their urges to experiment and explore, often do not mesh with their parents' and caregivers' expectations. What you will discover in the chapters ahead may be a bit different from what you grew up with. It may help to know that Positive Discipline is evidence-based, fits with what we know about children's growth and development and the latest brain research, and is designed to provide practical, effective tools for understanding and nurturing your child. Adler and Dreikurs: Pioneers in Parenting Positive Discipline is based on the work of Alfred Adler and his colleague Rudolf Dreikurs. Adler was a Viennese psychiatrist and a contemporary of Sigmund Freud--but he and Freud disagreed about almost everything. Adler believed that human behavior is motivated by a desire for belonging, significance, connection, and worth, which are influenced by our early decisions about ourselves, others, and the world around us. Recent research validates Adler's theories and tells us that children are hardwired from birth to seek connection with others, and that children who feel a sense of connection to their families, schools, and communities are less likely to misbehave (other than the age-appropriate power struggles as children seek to discover who they are separate from their parents and caregivers). Adler believed that everyone has equal rights to dignity and respect (including children), ideas that found a warm reception in America, a land he adopted as his own after immigrating here. Rudolf Dreikurs, a Viennese psychiatrist and student of Adler's who came to the United States in 1937, was a passionate advocate of the need for dignity and mutual respect in all relationships--including the family. He wrote books about teaching and parenting that are still widely read, including the classic Children: The Challenge. As you will learn, what many people mislabel as "misbehavior" in preschoolers has more to do with emotional, physical, and cognitive development and age-appropriate behavior. Through Positive Discipline, parents and caregivers can respond to this misbehavior with loving guidance that helps children develop the characteristics and life skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. What Is Positive Discipline? Positive Discipline is effective with preschoolers because it is different from conventional discipline. It has nothing to do with punishment (which many people think is synonymous with discipline) and everything to do with teaching--which begins with modeling the skills and values you hope your children will develop. This raises a question: "Is Positive Discipline for me or for my children?" The answer is both--but you first. To be effective, you must model what you want to teach. It does not make sense to expect a child to be respectful if you are not respectful. Punishment is not respectful. You cannot expect a child to control his or her behavior when you don't control your own. Does this mean you have to be perfect? No. A foundational principle of Positive Discipline, as Dreikurs taught over and over, is to have the courage to be imperfect and to see mistakes as opportunities to learn. It's a gift to your children (and to yourself) when you can say, "You made a mistake. Fantastic. Let's explore what you can learn from this and how you can find solutions to fix the mistake." As your child matures and becomes more skilled, you will be able to involve him in the process of finding solutions and setting limits. He can practice critical-thinking skills, feel more capable, and learn to use his power and autonomy in useful ways--to say nothing of feeling more motivated to follow solutions and limits he has helped create. The principles of Positive Discipline will help you build a relationship of love and respect with your child and will help you live and solve problems together for many years to come. The building blocks of Positive Discipline include: * Mutual respect. Parents and caregivers model firmness by respecting themselves and the needs of the situation; they model kindness by respecting the needs and humanity of the child. * Understanding the belief behind behavior. All human behavior has a purpose. You will be far more effective at changing your child's behavior when you understand why it is happening. (Children start creating the beliefs that form their personality from the day they are born.) Dealing with the belief is as important (if not more so) than dealing with the behavior. * Effective communication. Parents and children (even young ones) can learn to listen well and use respectful words to ask for what they need. Parents will learn that children "hear" better when they are invited to think and participate instead of being told what to think and do. And parents will learn how to model the listening they expect from their children. * Understanding a child's world. Children go through different stages of development. By learning about the developmental tasks your child faces and taking into account other variables such as birth order, temperament, and the presence (or absence) of social and emotional skills, your child's behavior becomes easier to understand. When you understand your child's world, you can choose better responses to her behavior. * Discipline that teaches rather than punishes. Effective discipline teaches valuable social and life skills, and is neither permissive nor punitive. * Focusing on solutions instead of punishment. Blame never solves problems. At first you, as the parent, will decide how to approach challenges and problems. But as your child grows and develops, you will learn to work together to find respectful, helpful solutions to the challenges you face, from spilled juice to bedtime woes. * Encouragement. Encouragement celebrates effort and improvement, not just success, and helps children develop confidence in their own abilities. Encouragement is also the foundation for creating a sense of belonging--the primary need of all children (and adults). * Children do better when they feel better. Where did parents get the crazy idea that in order to "make" children do better, parents should make them feel shame, humiliation, or even pain? Children are more motivated to cooperate, learn new skills, and offer affection and respect when they feel encouraged, connected, and loved. * Connection before correction. It is always the relationship that matters most. When your child feels a sense of belonging and significance and your connection to each other is strong, it becomes much easier to understand feelings and behavior, and to find solutions together. * Contribution. If a child only feels connection without a sense of contribution, that child may develop an entitled or "Me first!" attitude. Your child is more likely to learn the skills and character qualities you desire when you find ways for her to help you and others, and to contribute to her home, classroom, and community. Excerpted from Positive Discipline for Preschoolers: For Their Early Years - Raising Children Who Are Responsible, Respectful, and Resourceful by Jane Nelsen, Cheryl Erwin, Roslyn Ann Duffy All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Preface (By the Children)p. ix
Introductionp. 1
Part 1 The Foundation
1 Why Positive Discipline?p. 9
2 Enter the World of Your Preschoolerp. 25
3 Understanding Developmental Appropriatenessp. 37
4 The Miraculous Brain: Learning and Developmentp. 59
Part 2 Social Emotional Learning
5 Empathy, Compassion, and the Growth of Social Emotional Learningp. 79
6 Recognizing, Naming, and Managing Emotionsp. 94
7 "You Can't Come to My Birthday Party": Social Skills for Preschoolersp. 109
8 "I Can Do It!": The Joys (and Challenges) of Initiativep. 132
Part 3 Understanding Behavior and New Tools
9 Accepting the Child You Have: Understanding Temperamentp. 153
10 "Why Does My Child Do That?": The Messages of Misbehaviorp. 173
11 Mistaken Goals at Homep. 187
12 Mistaken Goals in the Preschoolp. 209
13 Ending Bedtime Battles: Preschoolers and Sleepp. 226
14 "I Don't Like That!": Preschoolers and Eatingp. 241
15 Preschoolers and Potties: The Ongoing Saga of Toilet Trainingp. 255
Part 4 The World Outside Your Home
16 Selecting (and Living with) Childcarep. 271
17 Class Meetings for Preschoolers (and Families)p. 292
18 When Your Child Needs Special Helpp. 308
19 Technology Today and Tomorrowp. 324
20 Mother Nature Meets Human Naturep. 336
21 Growing as a Family: Finding Support, Resources, and Sanityp. 348
Conclusionp. 365
Acknowledgmentsp. 368
Notesp. 370
Indexp. 375