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It has always been a concern of mine since my daughter was born that she would end up suffering from mental health issues like me. So, I made the decision to be proactive and implement a positive discipline alternative. I am trying to raise positive, compassionate, and kind children who are aware of their emotions and have the strategies in place to help them deal with their emotions, whether good or bad.
I started doing some research on toddler tantrums and how to manage them and it kept coming back to time-outs. I also read that tantrums can be big emotions that kids do not know how to regulate. So, I thought that if a tantrum is an emotion and we place our children in a time out that it is basically saying that experiencing that emotion is not ok, that they are in trouble for an emotion that they don’t know how to express or regulate. Children need to be taught the different emotions and how to regulate them, not placed in a corner and be made to feel like their emotions are unwarranted or not being validated.
I have spent a lot of my life not knowing my own emotions; how to express them and how to deal with them. Even to this day I struggle when my psychologist asks me to explain the emotion I am feeling – I cannot. I was not taught how to be aware of the emotions in my body. And when I have had these emotions, they have gone unvalidated, leaving me to feel like my emotions were not important. I would get told to get over it, or stop crying you are being silly, etc. I did not want that for my kids. I do not want them to feel how I have felt.
We want our kids to know that they have every right to feel the way they feel; that they can cry, they are allowed to be angry, allowed to be frustrated. But I want them to have the emotional intelligence to be able to clearly identify what emotions they are experiencing and use coping strategies to work through them in a positive caring manner.
Generation Mindful – A Positive Discipline Alternative
So, I went back to doing some research, trying to find a positive discipline alternative to dealing with toddler tantrums. Funnily enough, an ad popped up on my Facebook feed for a company called Generation Mindful. The title of the ad was swapping time outs for time ins; raising emotionally intelligent children. I thought to myself how perfect is that? I jumped on their website and had a look around.
It spoke about teaching kids to regulate their emotions in a playful, positive way. I especially liked how they said to change your mind frame from thinking your kids are ‘attention seeking’ to ‘connection seeking’. This was the same information my psychologist was giving me and the same information I was learning watching the ‘Circle of Security’ DVDs.
We ended up purchasing the ‘Time In’ toolkit. It came with 6 posters, peacemaker mindfulness cards, feelings cards, calming strategies, and a manual to help me teach my kids effectively.
The thing I liked the most is that it said for the parent to complete the tasks first. I struggle to identify and regulate my emotions and being able to work with the tools together with my daughter has helped me tremendously.
My daughter and I set up her calming corner together and have started working on the strategies outlined in the manual.
There has been a massive change in my daughter and when she is having a big emotion she loves going to her calming corner, utilising the items in the tool kit, or using her MeditateMate Meditation Monkey. She is also better able to identify her feelings and we can talk through her big emotions together.
A lot has changed over the years with how we parent our kids. Research has been done and they are finding that certain strategies our parents used do not work. Our parents did the best they could with the information they had at the time. Like everything else, things change as we gather more information on topics.
As a 21st century parent, I am lucky to be a part of the movement to raise emotionally intelligent children by using this positive discipline alternative to time outs. And with this, I am hoping to break the cycle of depression and anxiety that is prevalent within my family’s history.
I am very picky with who I recommend but Generation Mindful is the best company I have come across. Check them out, have a look at their free resources. It certainly changed my family dynamics and, as a bonus, has helped me too.
Time outs vs time ins, positive discipline vs negative discipline – Have your say in the comments below.