Parents and grandparents need guidance

Sometimes advice is so good it’s meant to be posted at eye level on refrigerator. “The 101 Principles of Discipline” by Dr. Katharine Kersey is one of those. Three columns will be devoted to the list. Get your scissors and tape out. The list is printed with Dr. Kersey’s permission.


that works

Dr. Kersey quotes J. L. Hymes, “Discipline is a slow, bit by bit, time-consuming task of helping children to see the sense in acting a certain way.”

Here are


– Demonstrate Respect Principle – Treat the child the same way you treat other important people in your life – the way you want him to treat you – and others. (How would I want them to say that to me?)

– Make a Big Deal Principle – Make a big deal over responsible, considerate, appropriate behavior – with attention (your eyeballs), thanks, praise, thumbs-up, recognition, hugs, special privileges, incentives (not food).

– Incompatible Alternative Principle – Give the child something to do that is incompatible with the inappropriate behavior. “Help me pick out six oranges” (instead of running around the grocery store).

– Choice Principle – Give the child two choices, both of which are positive and acceptable to you. “Would you rather tiptoe or hop upstairs to bed?” (“You choose or I’ll choose.”)

– Timer Says it’s Time Principle – Set a timer to help children make transitions. “When the timer goes off, you will need to put away your books.” It is also a good idea to give the child a chance to choose how long he needs to pull himself together. “It’s OK to be upset, how long do you need?” Then allow him to remove himself from the group and set the timer. You may offer the child a choice (and set the timer) when it’s necessary for him to do something he doesn’t want to do. “Do you want to pick up your toys/let Susan have the toy/take your bath in one minute or two?”

– Allow Imperfection Principle – Don’t demand perfection. Remember no one likes the “perfect” child, parent or teacher. With perfection as the goal, we are all losers.

– Anticipation Principle – Think ahead about whether or not the child is capable of handling the situation. If not, don’t take him (an expensive restaurant, long church services with out a special room, shopping, or movies).

– Apology Principle – Apologize easily when you goof or “lose it.” (“I wish I could erase what I just said.” “You must have been scared by my reaction.” “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” “I was wrong.” “I’m sorry.”) Apologize for your child (“I’m sorry he knocked you down”), but don’t make your child apologize. (You might be making him lie or think that wrong-doings can be rectified with an apology.)

Babysitter Principle – Get one.

Editor’s note: Grandparents Teach ,Too is a non profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. Writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers.Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan (PAM), Upper Peninsula Association for the Education of Young Children (UPAEYC), Northern Michigan School of Education, U.P. Children’s Museum, and NMU Center for Economic Education.