I've recently enjoyed reading a few posts and resulting comment conversation on parenting methods using positive discipline techniques. [Discipline Update](http://principledparent.blogspot.com/2009/01/discipline-update.html), [On Positive Discipline](http://rationaljenn.blogspot.com/2009/01/on-positive-discipline.html), and [Positive Discipline and Rational Self Interest](http://rationaljenn.blogspot.com/2009/01/positive-discipline-and-rational-self.html). One of the most useful thoughts in there is the recommendation to, "assume positive intent." Meaning that the child is not being difficult as an act of malice, they are trying to fulfill some need of their own.

The other idea I really clung to is, "obedience is not a virtue." I like to look at parenting as training my replacement. They start out small and helpless, and parents need to do everything for them. But the goal from the outset is for them to grow into full independent people capable of selecting and achieving their own values. This is part of the reason I am a maniac on the answering of "Why?"

The other new tool I have been experimenting with for months now is "Thinking on Paper" as presented by [Jean Moroney](http://thinkingdirections.com/). I'd recommend it to anyone who needs to accomplish vague goals in any aspect of their life, or in David Allen's words, people who need to "make it up and make it happen." The benefits explained here:

"Thinking on Paper" is a general purpose thinking tactic you can use to help you:

  • concentrate
  • hold in mind the wider context
  • guide thinking purposefully toward the goal
  • quickly return to a train of thought after an interruption
  • stay calm and in control, even when the subject seems overwhelming

I've found it particularly useful as a quick tool to deal with interruptions. When working and a co-worker comes in, with full marching band in tow, to trample your thought process. I ask them to wait one minute, I dump my state to paper or an [editor](http://aquamacs.org/). Typically this is writing 2 or 3 **full** sentences about what I am thinking or what **exactly** I was planning to do next.

Now I can give my full attention to the new problem of herding everyone out of my office as quickly and efficiently as possible. When I return to my work, I can regain my prior mental state by simply reading the sentences I had written. It beats groping blindly, for all the scattered threads of thought, by a mile.

AuthorKevin McAllister