Discipline as Teaching and Learning/Using the Four Questions: Discussion
In the Make Parenting A Pleasure curriculum, we help parents understand that discipline is about teaching children. To help parents understand this concept, discuss the qualities of a helpful teacher.
Time: 40 minutes
Material: Markers and The Four Question cards provided in the Make Parenting A Pleasure Ready Kit
Qualities of a Helpful Teacher
- Ask parents to think about a time when they didn’t know something, at school or at a new job, and they needed someone to teach them.
- Ask parents to share the qualities of an unhelpful teacher. Record parents’ responses on board.
- Use the qualities from the parents’ list to discuss why this kind of teaching was not effective.
- Ask parents to share the qualities of a helpful teacher. Record parents’ responses on board.
- Use the qualities of a helpful teacher from parents’ list to help parents recognize effective ways of teaching.
- Discuss ways parents can use these helpful qualities when they are teaching their children new skills and behaviors.
Using The Four Questions
In the Make Parenting A Pleasure curriculum, we define discipline as teaching. Using The Four Questions can help parents think about how to teach their children the skills and behaviors they want them to learn. When using The Four Questions, help parents consider the following:
- Developmental Age—what are reasonable expectations?
- Temperamental Tendencies—be aware of individual differences
- Parents’ Values—identified in the suitcase exercise
The Four Questions:
1. What do I want my child to learn?
2. Is what I’m doing teaching that?
3. Are there any negative results from it?
4. If so, what can I do differently?
As a group, practice applying The Four Questions to the following parenting scenarios:
A 2 ½ year old hits the dog with a toy sword.
A 7 year old does not clear his dishes when he leaves the table.
Make sure that parents identify what they want the child to learn TO DO rather than identify what they do not want the child to do. Help parents identify a specific skill or behavior the child can learn rather than a general one. At the end of the discussion, give each parent The Four Questions card to take home. Parents can practice using The Four Questions at home to help them think about how to teach their children what they want them to learn.