Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

May 13, 2014

Discipline method can aid teachers and parents


According to her, “All behavior is communication.” When a child is naughty, “answer this question: What is this behavior telling me?”

She urged adults to develop skills to put a pause between stimulus and response. “Learn to respond to children acting out.”

“Everything in conscious discipline is based on four brain smart principles: The brain is pattern seeking; the best exercise for the brain is exercise; connections on the outside build connections on the inside; and the brain functions optimally when we feel safe.”

Some children come from homes “where the pattern is chaos.” There are no routines, they wonder where food is coming from, are there materials for homework? “And they bring chaos into the classroom.”

Spencer observed, “When children are moving, they’re learning. Instead of stopping the motion, … we want to organize the movement for them.”

“You are brain builders, especially those of you working with the 0-3 population.”

When an adult is “a calm model of self-discipline, you are able to help these children to do that for the rest of their lives.”

The presenter, who has a blog and is on Facebook, discussed brain states at different ages. Toddlers around 15-18 months could be “kicking, spitting, screaming, biting, running out of the door” as their brain stems form. That’s because they are in the survival state and have developed “the same skills we share with the animal kingdom. We have to help them understand they are safe.”

An old job description for parents and teachers was “My job is to make you behave and your job is to make my job hard.” The new job description: “My job is to keep you safe. Your job is to help keep it that way.” A baby absorbs the adult’s internal state, so parents and caregivers must realize, “I have to become the state I want the child to be.”

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