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DeLorenzo Presents to Full House

Chip DeLorenzo Presents to Full House
Nearly 150 parents, local educators, and community members attended last week’s Positive Discipline program at West Side Montessori. Thanks to everyone who invited friends and neighbors to the event. 

Chip DeLorenzo, the guest speaker for the program, polled the audience on parenting issues they were struggling with the most. He also asked the participants what characteristics they would most like to see in their children, in other words, what is the end result of parenting.

DeLorenzo discussed kindness and firmness techniques in Positive Discipline. While the goal of the method is high kindness and high firmness (a democratic, authoritative approach), most parents “dance” between high kindness with low firmness (a permissive approach) and low kindness with high firmness (an authoritarian approach). 

The techniques DeLorenzo outlined for setting kind and firm limits included:

  • Act without talking
  • Limited choices
  • Short reasonable request (10 words or less)
  • One word responses
  • Signal or note (non-verbal)
  • I statements (It bugged me or I wish)
  • Give information
  • Describe what you see
  • No

These techniques can reduce “nagging” as a parent and result in high firmness. 

Another technique DeLorenzo shared is to ask “What and How questions” instead of lecturing. For example:

  • What is your plan?
  • How can I help?
  • What caused that to happen?
  • I noticed you ______. How did that happen?

Finally, the speaker outlined how to establish a “Positive Time-out.” It starts by eliminating the negative or punitive time-out. As a family, brainstorm where a positive time-out spot to “cool down” will be in the house and what will be included in the space. For example, a quiet spot in the living room that has pillows, books, and other comforting items. Then, practice the technique just like you would practice a fire drill or emergency situation. When your child (or you) begin to get angry or frustrated, suggest using the quiet area to “cool down” by cuddling or reading a book alone or together. Later when the tension is lessened, discuss the situation in a calmer environment. This technique helps the child to develop emotional skills that avoid the “fight or flight” response and give the child a sense of belonging. 

If you are interested in learning more about Positive Discipline and using the method in different stages of parenting, check out Children: The Challenge by Rudolf Dreikurs or Positive Discipline A-Z by Jane Nelsen. Online resources also are available at or on Facebook.

Next week: Developing belonging and significance at home.