As much as I was drawn to the Simplicity Parenting movement because it helps guide me toward family values I want to create, I am now equally compelled by Kim John Payne’s approach to discipline. Payne’s advice is incredibly simple, yet effective, if used calmly and consistently…although that’s not to say that kids won’t continue to push new buttons and stretch new limits.
What I like is that it focused on identifying the problem and working to develop a sustainable change. It’s not about dwelling on the past (or recent past) or developing complex consequences that need to be carried out. In fact, before the age of seven, Kim doesn’t believe that traditional discipline methods are effective in truly creating the type of behavior we want. Instead, he provides a simple method for problem solving, which can be more of a conversation as kids mature.
Here is the DDADD method that Simplicity Parenting encourages in the context of cleaning up our desks:
- Describe – I talked with them about why it’s important to keep your desk space clean, including the benefits of being able to find your scissors and get your homework done with time left to play. I explained why keeping our house tidy matters in our family, and how it’s one of our “Family Rules for Fun.”
- Disapprove – I explained how it made me feel to see the desks/drawers in chaos, and how it was clearly not working for us.
- Affirm – I encouraged them in the process of cleaning up. I assisted in providing better containers for the art supplies and helping find a better place to stack the books. I helped give them the skills and attitude to want to do it for themselves, “Wow, isn’t it nice now that you can find your scissors?!” Then the next day…”I’m glad to see you keeping your desk clear.”
- Do-over – Give them a chance to d0-over. Again using positive encouragement.
- Discover – Reflect to yourself why this situation or pattern may be happening. (However, it’s best not to speculate outloud or discuss with your child…a spouse or friend would be a better sounding board.)
There is obviously more to discipline that these simple steps, but this is a good start. For me, just being conscious of these steps as I’m talking with my kids helps keep me focus on the long-term goal rather than the short-term struggle.
Have you used the DDADD method successfully?