A note from Gordon on the new edition of the Discipline course...
Back in the days when I taught courses on parent-child relations in university, I would start off each course by asking my students what traits they admired most in others. The following attributes were typical: courageous, adventurous, honest, resilient, compassionate, articulate. I asked them to keep their lists for future reference. Then a week or two later, I had them write a list of what traits parents most value in their children. Besides intelligence, the traits most frequently mentioned included civilized and considerate, appropriate and well-mannered, responsible and well-behaved. My first agenda in this exercise was to get my students to realize the discrepancy between what we value in adults and what we value in children. My second agenda was to have my students realize that we tend to view children through the lenses of our own needs and responsibilities as adults. Certainly one of the most important responsibilities of the adults in charge of children is to impose some order on their behaviour so that they can be shoehorned, so-to-speak, into the complex society in which we now live. Contemporary society seems to be getting more complicated every day and so correspondingly are the demands on our children's behaviour, and hence on us as adults to orchestrate their behaviour. No wonder many parents feel as if they are between a rock and a hard place.
It is for this reason I believe that the quest for good behaviour has become the holy grail of parenting. It was certainly at the top of the list of requested topics when I used to speak at parent groups. The lack of good behaviour was also the most common presenting problem during my 45 years of parent consulting. It is fast-becoming a major concern of classroom teachers as well.
In this course, I want to discuss how to manage a child's behaviour so we don't put in jeopardy the very traits we would want to see in them as adults. I want most to give away the MAP that I myself consulted when trying to help parents and teachers manage the behaviour of the children in their care. I want parents and teachers to be confidently be in the lead with their charges, not trying to follow someone else's directions. I want to give away my secrets, so to speak.
I hope students of this course will become as full of awe as I have been, and still am, when I reflect upon the picture that emerges when all the puzzle pieces come together. It has taken me 45 years to find just the right place for every puzzle piece. At least I think I have. I am eager to share the completed puzzle with you now.