Economic Multipliers (122)

Do you know what these are?

They help CREATE wealth in systems.

‘Cool’ parents who raise ‘cool’ kids are economic multipliers for any family, community and nation.


Lists can be an economic multiplier if they inspire behaviors that help kids have good futures (No.2).


Raising children is not an easy task. It is even more difficult if you grew up in or live in an environment with behaviors which are not worth modeling.

A professor of early childhood education (Katharine Kersey, see P.S.’s) took the time to compile a list that is a worthy read for every individual (male or female, young or old) who will ever have contact with a child (or even any adult). If every prospective parent read this list every day for 9 months prior to any child being born, I expect that we’d all live in a much happier, much healthier, much more supportive, much more peaceful and much more productive world.

If you ever read this list, imagine being a ‘cool’ parent (or supportive other) who just wants to help raise ‘cool’ kids who turn into ‘cool’ adults.

When you end up with a lot of ‘cool’ kids and ‘cool’ adults, you also usually end up with ‘cool’ communities.

And, recognize as you read any list that you can’t do everything (and rarely need to), every child and adult can respond differently to different things and the community you live in helps define what makes the most sense.

¤¤¤ ¤ ¤¤¤


The 101 Positive Principles of Discipline


Discipline means to teach and train. Punishment (inflicting pain / purposeful injury) is unnecessary and counter-productive.


Discipline is a slow, bit by bit, time-consuming task of helping children to see the sense in acting a certain way.” J. Hyme

The Top Ten Principles

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

2=> 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).

3=> Incompatible Alternative Principle – Give the child something to do that is incompatible with the inappropriate behavior: “Help me pick out 6 oranges” (instead of running around the grocery store). If your husband or wife is annoying you by playing a computer game, instead of berating them, simply ask them to help you by drying the dishes.

4=> 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.” This can be used with spouses: “The garage needs to be cleaned out. Would you rather do it tonight or Saturday?”

5=> When/Then – Abuse It/Lose It Principle – “When you have finished your homework, then you may watch TV.” (i.e. No homework – no TV.)

6=> Connect Before You Correct Principle – Be sure to ‘connect’ with a child – get to know them and show them that you care about them – before you begin to try to correct their behavior. This works well when relating to parents too. Share positive thoughts about their child before you attack any problems!

7=> Validation Principle – Acknowledge (validate) a child’s wants and feelings: “I know you feel angry with your teacher and want to stay home from school. I don't blame you. The bus will be here in 45 minutes.”

8=> Good Head on Your Shoulders Principle – Tell your child – frequently – especially as s/he reaches their teen years – “You have a good head on your shoulders. You decide. I trust your judgment.” This brings out the best in the child and shows him/her that eventually they will be in charge of their own life and responsible for their own decisions.

9=> Belonging and Significance Principle – Remember that everyone needs to feel that s/he belongs and is significant. Help your child to feel important by giving them important jobs to do and reminding them that if they don't do them, the jobs don't get done! Help them feel important because they are responsible.

10=> 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.” “In five minutes, we will need to line up for lunch.” It is also a good idea to give the child a chance to choose how long they need to pull themselves together: “It’s okay to be upset: How long do you need?” Then allow them to remove themselves from the group and set the timer. You may offer the child a choice (and set the timer) when it's necessary for them to do something they don't want to do: “Do you want to [pick up your toys / let your friend have the wagon / take your bath] in one minute or two?”

The Principles in Alphabetical Order

11=> ABC Principle – Learn to think in terms of ABC (Antecedent, Behavior and Consequences). What was going on before the behavior occurred and what happened afterwards – as a result of the behavior? Many times you can find patterns in behavior – and alter your behavior or the circumstances that may have led up to the inappropriate behavior. Also, you might need to look at what is gained by the behavior – what the child is getting as a result. A child who is overly tired may throw a temper tantrum. In order to get them to stop, they may be given a toy. (In the future, they may throw a temper tantrum just to get a toy.) By changing the antecedent and/or the consequences, a temper tantrum may be avoided in the future.

12=> 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.

13=> Anticipation Principle – Think ahead about whether or not the child is capable of handling the situation. If not, don't take them [to expensive restaurants / churches with no child support / beauty parlors / adult movies].

14=> 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 they knocked you down”), but DON'T make your child apologize. (You might be making them lie OR think that wrong-doings can be rectified with an apology.)

15=> Ask the Child Principle – Ask the child for input. “Do you think this was a good choice?” “What were you trying to accomplish or tell us with your behavior?” “What do you think could help you in the future to remember to make a better choice?” “How would you like for things to be different?” “How about drawing a picture of how you feel right now.” Children have wonderful insight into their own behavior and great suggestions for ways to make things better.

16=> Availability Principle – Make sure that your child always knows where they can turn for help. If you aren’t available, be sure someone is. SET ASIDE 15 MINUTES A DAY to spend together. Let them plan how the time is spent.

17=> Babysitter Principle – Get one.

18=> Bake a Cake Principle – When all else fails, bake or cook something together (and eat some after it cools). It is a great way to stay connected and build happy memories.

19=> Best Friend Principle – Elicit help from the child's best friend. Ask the best friend to see if they can encourage the child to ‘do the right thing.’

20=> Bite Your Lip, Take Leave and Stay Home Principle – There is no place like home. Children might be picking up on our high level of stress. The best part of wisdom might be to scuttle our plans and go/stay HOME! Sometimes we need to take a reality check on our priorities.

21=> Blame It on the Rules Principle – “Our school / family rule is to wash your hands before eating.”

22=> Brainstorming Principle – Brainstorm with the child possible solutions to the dilemma, problem or predicament.

23=> Bunny Planet Principle – (adapted from Rosemary Wells) – Close your eyes and tell the children that you are going to the bunny planet (or another imaginary place). Ask them to tell you when they are ready for you to come back (when things are quiet and they are ready to make good choices). If you are at home, you might go to the bathroom and wait for behavior to improve. Take your telephone, radio and books. Do not come out until the behavior has changed.

24=> Change of Environment Principle – If the child’s misbehavior cannot be stopped, move to another room or location. (Go outside.)

25=> Chill Out Principle – It’s no big deal! Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. This too, will pass.

26=> Class / Family Meeting Principle – Class and family meetings give children an opportunity to reflect, listen, empathize and problem-solve. Focus on two-way communication rather than preaching to children. Listen more than you talk. Parents and children continue to learn from each other.

27=> Collect Data Principle – Keep a written record of the frequency of inappropriate behaviors. Record the antecedents as well as the consequences. Look for patterns that may give clues as to possible reasons, situations and/or solutions.

28=> Common Sense Principle – Use your common sense. Is this reasonable?

29=> Cueing Principle – Give the child a cue such as a hand gesture to remind them – ahead of time – of the behavior you want them to exhibit. For example, teach the child that instead of interrupting when you are talking with somebody else, they are to squeeze your hand. This will let you know that they want to talk to you (as you return the squeeze) and as soon as you can, you will stop the conversation and find out what they want.

30=> Divide and Conquer Principle – Separate children who are reinforcing each other’s misbehavior: Put an adult between two children in a restaurant.

31=> Don't Put the Cat with the Pigeons Principle – Don't place temptation in front of the child. (i.e. Don't leave the candy dish on the table if you don't want the child to have any candy.)

32=> Do the Unexpected Principle – React in a surprising way. Start doing jumping jacks! Clap a familiar rhythm (‘Jingle Bells’) – to relieve the tension and get some perspective. It is amazing how, when your head is cleared, you can think better and decide on a more rational way to handle a situation.

33=> Empowerment Principle – Develop a child's competency, skills, mastery and independence. Encourage them to solve their own problems. Let them know that their choices will determine their future.

34=> Encouragement Principle – Give encouragement as often as possible. Help the child see the progress they have made. (“You got three spelling words correct. That is better than last week!” “Doesn’t it feel good to be able to [zip your own zipper / make your own bed / clean up your own spills]?”

35=> Establish Routines and Traditions Principle – Children behave better when they know what they can count on. Establish traditions which they can anticipate and which provide them with fond memories and feelings of belonging and security.

36=> Extinction Principle – Ignore minor misbehavior that is not dangerous, destructive, embarrassing or an impediment to learning. (Look the other way. Play deaf.)

37=> Follow Through / Consistency Principle – Don't let the child manipulate you out of using your better judgment. Be firm (but kind)!

38=> Frog Suit Principle – Teach the child to ‘put his/her frog suit on.’ A frog suit protects the child from being hurt by other children's careless or cruel comments.

39=> Get on the Child’s Eye Level Principle – When talking with the child, get down on their eye level and look them in the eye while talking softly to them.

40=> Get Support of Another Person Principle – Ask someone else to help you reinforce the positive behavior.

41=> Give Life to an Inanimate Object Principle – Tell the child that “the toothbrush is calling” or “the trash is calling that it wants to be taken out to the curb.” Give your voice a believable ‘squeaky’ tone to make it more dramatic (and fun).

42=> The Golden Rule Principle – Do unto your children what you would have them do unto you! Our children will (eventually) treat us the way we treat them. It pays to take a deep breath and think twice, so that we will tread gently.

43=> Hand Gestures Principle – Develop hand gestures which signify “Please,” “Thank you,” “More,” “Stop,” “Be Careful,” “Use your words” and “No.”

44=> Have Fun Together Principle – Children love to know that they bring us joy and pleasure. Lighten up and have fun.

45=> Help Me Out Principle – Elicit the child’s support. Ask them to help you out.

46=> Human Principle – Remember children have feelings too – just like we do. It is in everyone’s best interest to treat them as well or better than we treat other people for whom we are not responsible.

47=> Humor Principle – Make a game out of it. Have fun. Laugh together a lot. (“How would a rabbit brush his teeth?”)

48=> I Message Principle – Own your own feelings. “When you leave wet towels on the bed, the bed gets wet and I feel angry. I would like for you to hang them on the hook behind the door.”

49=> Institute Mailboxes Principle – Put mailboxes outside each child’s room or attach one to each child’s desk. Write personal notes – suggestions, thanks, etc. to put inside the child’s mailbox. Be sure to have one on your desk or outside your room – for their messages back to you.

50=> Jump Start a Belly Laugh Principle – Surprise your child by teaching how to jump start a belly laugh. Grab someone’s hands and jump up and down together, saying “ho, ho” real fast, until you both are genuinely laughing. You’ll be surprised how good it feels to laugh. Your body and your brain both get a chance to ‘take a break’ and, when you ‘come back’ to where you were, you are both more relaxed and have better perspective.

51=> Keep It Simple Principle – “Friends are not for hitting.” “Time for bed.” “Remember the rules.” “Gentle hands.” “Walking feet.” Give the child time to obey.

52=> Kiss Your Brain Principle – When the child is exhibiting behavior that makes you proud and is making great choices, be sure to praise, thank and draw attention to their great contributions. Tell them to “kiss your brain!”

53=> Let the Child Be the Teacher Principle – Let the child assume the role of teacher (or parent). Ask them to teach you a skill.

54=> Logical Consequences Principle – Teach the child that behavior has consequences. If they forget their sweater, they get cold. If they don't do their homework, they face the teacher's consequences. If their allowance is all gone, they can’t buy some self-selected ‘treat.’

55=> Love Principle – When in doubt, hold the child, hug them and tell them how much you love them.

56=> Make a Sacrifice Principle – Sometimes you have to forget your personal desires (i.e. talking on the telephone, watching TV, reading or doing your own homework) and give full attention to the child.

57=> Make It Fun Principle – See if you can turn a chore into a challenge – a job into a game – a ‘must’ into a ‘want to.’ (“I have hidden a surprise in your room. When it is cleaned up, you will find it.”)

58=> Make Up a Story Principle – Make up a story to tell the child – using another child’s name – but giving an account of an incident that occurred in which the child was at fault. Ask the child what the child in the story did that was wrong – and what he should do differently the next time.

59=> Modeling Principle – Model the behavior you want. Show the child, by example, how to behave. Children are watching us – all the time – and they will grow up to be like us – whether we want them to or not.

60=> Nap Principle – Take a break. A nap usually puts everything in better perspective.

61=> Nip It in the Bud Principle – When you see a child doing something that is dangerous, destructive or embarrassing (to you), take immediate action. Don't let the behavior continue – hoping that it will go away. It usually gets worse if the child knows you are watching and you are doing nothing about it. It might be that a hand signal is enough – or a ‘look’ that means “Stop.” It might be that you have a code word (i.e. “red light”) that always means “Stop – right now!” You might have to move toward the child, take their hand and move them to another place in the least reinforcing way possible. Refrain from scolding, preaching, threatening, fussing – or any other negative behavior. Let the child have your eyeballs and your attention.

62=> Other Shoe Principle – Look at the situation from the child’s perspective. How would you feel if the ‘shoe was on the other foot?’ What if the child was you and you were the child?

63=> Owning the Problem Principle – Decide who owns the problem by asking yourself, “Who is it bugging?” If it is bugging you, then you own the problem and need to take responsibility for solving it – OR – you can opt to not let it bug you (and let it go), such as in sibling quibbling!

64=> Partner / Co-worker Principle – Support your partner / co-worker’s handling of the situation. If you disagree, move away and let him/her follow through. Leave the room if you are having trouble not interfering. Do not negate or undermine his/her method of discipline in front of the child. If you do, the child will lose respect for both of you. Later, talk it over with your partner / co-worker and let him/her know why you do not agree with his/her way of handling the situation.

65=> Pay Attention Principle – Keep your eyes and mind on what is happening. Don’t wait until the child is out of control to step in.

66=> Preparation Principle – Let the child know ahead of time what they can expect. (You will be able to spend ‘x’ amount of money on shoes and may have one ‘treat’ at the mall.)

67=> Prompt and Praise Principle – Explain the expected behavior in a non-critical way and praise the child as soon as the behavior occurs.

68=> Positive Closure Principle – At the end of the day, remind your child that they are special and loved. Help them to look for something good – about the day that is finished and the day that lies ahead.

69=> Privacy Principle – NEVER embarrass a child in front of others. ALWAYS move to a private place to talk when there is a problem (especially in a restaurant, grocery store, classroom or shopping mall). Create such a place in your home. Sometimes sitting in the car to talk things over is a good idea.

70=> Punt the Plan Principle – In the middle of something that is not working – move on to something else. De-stress yourself.

71=> Put It in Writing Principle – If a child can read, write a note to them, stating your concerns. Ask for an RSVP. Leave “I love you” notes in surprising places.

72=> Read a Book (or Read the Paper) Principle – Sit down and read. Take your attention away from the child who is behaving inappropriately. Read until you have both cooled off and can deal with the situation in a productive manner.

73=> Remember Who Are the Grown-ups Principle – Always remember that you are the grown-up and that you are ultimately responsible for the way things turn out. The child does not have your judgment or history of experiences and can't possibly be held responsible for the ultimate outcome.

74=> Role-Playing Principle – Ask the child to exchange roles with you. Let them tell you what they would do if they were in your place. (Let them sit in your chair at the dinner table – and show you how they perceive you to be and to act.)

75=> Satiation Principle – Allow the behavior to continue (if it is not dangerous, destructive, embarrassing or an impediment to learning) until the child is tired of doing it.

76=> Self-correction Principle – Give the child a chance to self-correct. Stop talking, preaching and lecturing and give them space and time. Tell them you will check back with them later.

77=> Shrug Principle – Learn to shrug instead of arguing. The shrug means: “I'm sorry, but that's the way it is – end of discussion.”

78=> Sing Principle – Surprise the child by singing what you want them to do. Get in the habit of making up songs with familiar tunes (i.e. ‘The Farmer in the Dell,’ ‘Jingle Bells’) and using words to describe what you would like the children to do.

79=> Staying Detached Emotionally Principle – Try to remain objective – with your eye on the goal (self-discipline) and don’t let the child ‘hook’ you emotionally. In other words, don’t take his/her behavior personally.

80=> Stay Healthy Principle – Remember the importance of taking good care of yourself – physically as well as emotionally. Eat well, sleep well and get plenty of exercise. You will not only be able to cope better: You will also become a good role model for the children you love.

81=> Successive Approximations Principle – Don't expect perfection. Acknowledge small steps in the right direction.

82=> Switch Gears Principle – When the unexpected occurs, look for a way to make the most of the situation. For example, if you have a long wait, suggest that each of you close your eyes and listen for what you can hear or look around and find something you have never noticed before.

83=> Take a Break Principle – Tell the child to ‘take a break’ and think about what they could do differently that would work better or be more constructive. Give them a place to go until they are ready to come back and behave more productively. (This could be a place that you have created in your home or classroom that is comfortable and quiet. A timer is sometimes helpful. The child can determine how long they might need to reflect, refocus and calm down.) The child is in control here. They can decide when they are ready to rejoin the group or try again.

84=> Take Time to Teach Principle – Often we expect children to read our minds to know how to do things they have never been taught. Although our expectations may be clear to us, our children may not have a clue.

85=> Talk About Them Positively to Others Principle – Let them overhear you speaking positively about them – bragging about their good qualities and actions – to others.

86=> Teach – Don't Reteach Principle – Teach your child the correct procedures and behaviors as soon as you have an opportunity. It is much harder to go back and undo a learned behavior. (A TV remote is not a toy – don't let a toddler play with it. Children need to know the expectations for entering a classroom and taking their seats – on the first day of school. Your child should not drive a car until they are legally old enough to do so. Laws are to be obeyed.)

87=> Teach Your Child to Speak Up to Bullies Principle – Empower your child by role-playing and letting them practice speaking up (loudly, if necessary) to bullies. Bullies like cowards.

88=> Thank You Principle – Thank the child for doing the right thing – before they do it.

89=> Think of the Outcome Principle – What is your intention? What outcome are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to help the child – or live through the child? If your intention is to teach a child something they can later use to help themselves, then don't let your emotions or personal agenda get in the way. For example, just because you wish you had learned to play the piano and had never had the opportunity to take lessons, don't force piano lessons on your child.

90=> Third Party Principle – Tell a story about a particular situation which you are trying to resolve and elicit suggestions. For example: “There is a mom who would like her child to take out the trash. Should she (a) ask them to do it? (b) tell them to do it? (c) let them know the trash is full and needs to be taken out? (d) tell them the 'trash is calling'? (e) ask them to help her with the trash? or (f) other? What should the mom do?”

91=> Thinking Principle – Take time to think about your options. Consider the outcome. Will it be positive? How do you want this to turn out?

92=> Time-In Principle – Every time you are near your child, give them a loving stroke or hug. This touching can be non-verbal. Think about it. Words never quite covey the message you want to give someone. However, touching is perfect. Children are less likely to seriously misbehave when they sense a deep love and respect on the part of the one who matters to them. What you do is much more important than what you say. Have you ever noticed the way that parents kiss the heads of their babies – and the contented look on the faces of both? We need to seize every opportunity to express our love and caring in nonverbal ways as well as verbally! (|Note: Some cultures emphasize touch much more than others, there are many ways to ‘touch’ a child positively indirectly and any actions shouldn’t make you or any child feel uncomfortable.|)

93=> Trust Principle – Let the child know – in many ways and often – that you trust their judgment and their ability to make good choices. (|Note: You should display behaviors that also allow any child (or adult) to trust you.|)

94=> Turtle Time Principle – Encourage a child to withdraw into their ‘turtle shell’ to calm themselves down, to think more clearly and/or to keep from reacting in a negative way.

95=> Use Actions Instead of Words Principle – Don't say anything. When a child says something inappropriate or hurtful, instead of responding, let the words ‘hang in the air.’ Walk away or take their hand and move to another place. Give them a chance to ‘hear’ what they just said. Very often, they will make an effort to ‘self-correct’ or apologize.

96=> Values Are Caught and Not Taught Principle – Expose your child to role models who are passionate about their work. Take piano lessons yourself and watch your child absorb your love for music. Eat well and exercise: Watch your child imitate your example. Don’t talk about it. Do it!

97=> Wait Until Later Principle – “We’ll discuss this at 5:00. We both need time to cool off and think.”

98=> Wants and Feelings Principle – Allow the child to want what they want and feel what they feel. Don’t try to talk them out of or feel guilty for their wants and feelings.

99=> Whisper Principle – Instead of yelling, screaming or talking in a loud voice, surprise the child by lowering your voice to a whisper. This surprise often evokes immediate attention. It also helps you to stay in control and think more clearly.

100=> Who Cares? Principle – Is it really that important? If not, let it go.

101=> Write a Contract Principle – Sit with the child (after any emotion subsides) and together write a contract for future behavior. Be sure to let them have input. Then both parties sign the contract.


¤¤¤ ¤ ¤¤¤

P.S. The author of The 101 Positive Principles of Discipline: Katharine Kersey (Ed.D, a professor of early childhood education and author of numerous books on developing good and supportive relationships with children): I asked for permission to reprint this list and it was graciously given. Links can change: Search for: Katharine Kersey 101s web site. I also thank Iris Katers of (a non-profit idea site for anyone who has contact with young children) for pointing this out.

P.S.(2) [\] denotes the beginning of Katharine Kersey’s text and [\\] denotes the end. Some non-content minor editorial changes were made in case you pull the original list. The three content related changes: 1) I took out a subtitle: ‘It’s Never OK to Hit a Child.’ The list is extraordinarily useful for any supportive person, very few people consider it appropriate to hit children (consider size and their ability to defend themselves) and I hope that the list gets read by everyone. 2) Touch is emphasized: I noted in parentheses (|No. 92|) that this is a cultural issue. Children and adults normally shouldn’t be placed in a position where they are purposely made to feel uncomfortable: Sometimes that is a form of abuse. Likewise, many adults are much better at ‘touching’ kids indirectly as they share their joy of work while teaching them skills. 3) Children need to know that you trust them. I added in parentheses (|No. 93|) that they also need to know that they can trust you.

P.S.(3) Recognize that your community IS the people in it and their relationships.