Rhythm and Discipline

Transforming No into Yes! by Faith Collins

If I had to choose one point—and only one point—to share with people about my keynote address at the conference, it would be the idea that many times when children say “No” to us, what they’re really trying to say is, “I don’t feel as connected to you right now as I wish I did.” 

When we can hear a request for connection, we can respond much differently than we would if we were translating that “No” as, “I’m separate from you and don’t want to do what you want,” or, “I’m testing your boundaries and resolve and seeing if you really mean what you say.”  What a profound difference, and what a profoundly different response we can give.

Connecting with Young Children by Stephen Spitalny

During the first seven years or so of life the child's main tasks are to come to terms with physical reality, to develop the organs of his or her physical body, and to learn to relate socially. The main learning paradigm for young children is imitation, so how the adults around them manage conflict is particularly influential - the work of developing communication skills and resolving conflicts in a healthy way is a life-long learning. Because young children are so imitative, it is so important for them to experience our working on ourselves in these areas and how we guide the children toward resolving their own conflicts. Here is an example from life:

Summer Rhythm or Lack Thereof, by Mara Spiropoulos

Summer has officially arrived here in Wisconsin and along with hot sun, cool pools, and longer days, a new rhythm has evolved. This rhythm has us savoring moments and desiring more outward activities. It seems our rhythm has slowed and elongated. Instead of trying to think of activities to busy ourselves as we check the clock on cold, wintry days, we are glancing at the clock wondering how it is so late and worrying that the kids will get to bed late yet again.

Wind or Weather: An Elemental Experience, by Jaimmie Stugard

Written by Jaimmie Stugard: After nearly half a year of frigid Wisconsin winter, gradually the snow and the half-foot of ice buried beneath it began to melt away.  Here and there we caught a few glimpses of sunshine with a warmish 50 degree breeze, only to have the temperature plummet again the next day.  The last week has brought us constant rain, wind and thunder along with frigid temperatures.  And yet, at LifeWays we go outside nearly every single day.

Some Ideas About High Expectations

Get practical ideas for interacting with children when Faith speaks about 5 Ways to Transform No into Yes at the National LifeWays Conference on May 18th, 2013.  She will also offer an afternoon workshop on Allowing Children to Help, looking at fostering competence in children.

High Expectations vs. Unrealistic Expectations

I was talking with a friend who doesn’t spend regular time with children the other day, and he said, “Isn’t the key to having children behave just to have high expectations?” I laughed, and said,

“Well, having high expectations is important, as long as they’re not unrealistic.”

“Oh,” he replied. “Well, how can you tell the difference?”

My Fairy Godmother, by Jaimmie Stugard

By Jaimmie Stugard

I believe in fairy godmothers because I have had the good fortune to meet one.  He wasn't a sparkling lady with a giant grin and a magic wand. He was exactly the opposite.

Laughter and Versatility, by Mara Spiropoulos

[Editor's Note: This article explores personal experiences with two of the attributes of "The L.O.V.E. Approach to Discipline" developed by LifeWays founder, Cynthia Aldinger.  To learn more or to share your own experiences, see information at the end of this article.

L - laughter and listening
O- order and objectivity
V - versatility and vulnerability
E - enthusiasm and energy]

Today as I lie next to my sleeping eldest child, watching her breathing calm and her sweet hands twitch from dreamy wonder, I whispered an apology. I had grown impatient with her just before she fell asleep. Ellia, four-and-a-quarter years old, is my deeply sensitive thinker of a child with a stubborn streak. More often than not, she resists napping.

Rhythm and the "Time Organism", by Rahima Baldwin Dancy

For me, providing a rhythmical day for the children at Rainbow Bridge (ages 1-5) felt like one of the most important and life-giving things I was doing with and for them. The Veiled Pulse of Time, a book on biographical cycles by William Bryant, increased that conviction through his consideration of the nature of time. It also provided interesting insights into various cycles of adult life. (He discusses the 7,12 and 30-year cycles in some detail.)

Rhythm and Repetition in the Child's Environment, by Lisa Boisvert Mackenzie

We tend to think of rhythm as a schedule or a sequence of activities that flows with the energy of the day, the energy of the week and the energy of the seasons. Yet there is another type of rhythm that surrounds us all the time, the rhythm of the familiar, the predictable, and the reliable. The rhythm and repetition in the spaces we inhabit.

Creating Rhythm at Home and Work, by Jaimmie Stugard

One of the tasks of the growing child and one of the functions of parenting is to bring the child into rhythm.  It may seem as if the life of a newborn completely lacks rhythm. Feeding and sleeping occur at irregular intervals and the baby's breathing is erratic.  The first hours, days, and weeks of my son's life seemed timeless and otherworldly to me.  Like most new parents, I was enamored, emotional and exhausted. Gradually a rhythm began to develop and it brought peace and purpose, calm and contentment. 

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