Parenting and Teaching
We are parents and teachers. We are far from perfect. However, because of what Christ has done for us, we seek to be joyful, peaceful, compassionate, and loving. We appropriately model showing our emotion. We seek to act rather than react. We love, care, and give with our whole hearts. It isn’t a job–it is our calling and our lifestyle to give our best to children from hard places.
- We give nurture
- We offer structure rather than control
- We listen before we talk
- We encourage our children to do the right things for the right reasons
- We offer boundaries and natural consequences, not punishment
- We don’t push. We patiently encourage children to trust.
- We meet the needs–and a few wants–of our children
- We live with transparency as a community. With connection, we help students feel safe enough to be transparent.
- We strive to understand the difference between defiant behavior and a child giving all they have
- We encourage compromise–not negotiation
- We avoid an “all-or-nothing” or “my way or the highway” approach
Strategies for Meeting needs
- Connection is the goal
- Soft voice and soft eyes to address both positive and negative behavior
- Even if we are acting with praise, voices must be kept soft. Loud has a tendency to amp-up the situation, potentially leading to acting-out due to overstimulation
- Nutritional food options available to regulate blood sugar every 3-4 hours throughout the day
- Our body’s nervous system sends signals to and from the brain. If our brain is not registering that is has enough protein or carbohydrates, it tells the body that it is not safe. Regular occasion to replenish helps to calm nerves, promote brain function, and let our students know we want to keep them safe.
- Drinking water
- Weighted blankets or similar activities to provide calming compression
- 4:1 praise to criticism ratio
- Constantly be looking for good behavior instead of bad. Whenever you discover positive behavior, praise it specifically. “Thank-you for erasing so nicely! Now it will be easier for me to read!” “Great work knocking before you enter the room!” “Wow! Thank-you for catching yourself interrupting and then waiting until I was finished!”
- So often a negative comment can spout thoughts of shame. “I am bad. I am worthless. I am stupid. I am unloveable.” Giving 4:1 specific praise can help to reinforce a child’s worth to us and to themselves.
- Praise sandwich: When behavior must be addressed, sandwich it between praise for positives. Sometimes this seem like a huge stretch, but it can be helpful to de-escalate the situation. “Thank-you for speaking so I can hear you! Inside, we need to use our soft or medium voices.
- Playful engagement to address behavior
- “Typically, the mildest challenge to parental authority is when a child is sassy, controlling, or uncooperative. In this case (assuming the child is not in any sort of physical distress, which you would have to address first), use a playful reminder to bring him or her back in line. Using a lighthearted tone of voice, ask a simple, good-natured question that reminds the child who is in charge. Then give the child a chance to self-correct.” See The Connected Child by Karen Purvis.
- Proprioceptive activities often during the day
- Space to write, draw, or color to process emotions
- Redo’s to practice proper behavior without shaming
- Freedom to speak and feel that they have been heard
- Often, our first impulse is to fix whatever we think the problem is. However, this may or may not be what is best for our child in this particular situation. Sitting, making eye-contact, keeping our thoughts to ourselves until the child has expressed themselves, and then offering feedback, “What I am hearing you say is . . . , it that right?” This gives them the assurance that you were listening and allows for more discussion if we have not understood what need they are asking to be met. Then, we can pursue a solution together.
- Thank-you for erasing so nicely! Now it will be easier for me to read!
- Great work knocking before you enter the room!
- Wow! Thank-you for catching yourself interrupting and then waiting until I was finished!
See the book The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis