Will provide support to projects and programs utilizing Jane Nelsen's Positive Discipline material or material of a similar nature.
Kauai, Hawaii, USA
Mother of Three Creates Fund For Positive Discipline
When Vinaya Alahan joined Gurudeva on pilgrimage in the Caribbean in 2001, she asked for his blessings to start a fund at the Hindu Heritage Endowment supporting the distribution of educational materials produced by Positive Discipline, a kind-but-firm approach to child-rearing that he hoped would give Hindu parents a practical alternative to both physical punishment and indulgent permissiveness.
"He had heard through his website about the harsh physical treatment some children received at home," the mother-of-three said. He started searching for a way of raising children consistent with the Hindu commitment to nonviolence." His child-rearing concerns surfaced publicly in the July 1998 issue of Hinduism Today which carried the feature story Sparing the Child, Should Corporal Punishment End?" by Julie Rajan. About the same time, Gurudeva discovered the writings of Jane Nelson, PhD, author of the Positive Discipline books and educational tapes. The more Alahan, a resident of Des Moines, Iowa, learned about Positive Discipline, the more she wished she had known about it during hard-scrabble times when she was raising her three boys as a single parent.
"I tried to raise my kids as positively as possible," she said. But I feel Positive Discipline goes a step beyond the tools I had." To make sure other parents have those tools, she has created the Positive Discipline Fund at the Hindu Heritage Endowment to make Nelson's materials easily available. Positive Discipline offers parents general guidance and specific step-by-step instructions that avoid violence of any kind without surrendering to the demands of tantrum-throwing kids. Positive Discipline is not just tradition based," she explained. It uses reason and sound psychology." And, she adds, it works far better than the short-term behavior control and emotional release a parent gets from smacking a kid's bottom or meekly capitulating to a child's clamorous wishes. Gurudeva introduced me to Jane Nelson's writings," she said. They seemed very organized, and very consistent with his philosophy and with Hindu spirituality of the best sort."
The January/February/March 2009 issue of Hinduism Today summarized the philosophy and techniques of Positive Discipline. At its core is the ability to connect emotionally with children, treat them with respect, listen to them, provide them with social skills, work with them on solutions to problems, and increase their capabilities. Many Hindu parents, especially those who remember the response to their own childhood misdeeds as swift and painful, may find it odd to engage a five-year-old who demands dessert before dinner in an exploration of his feelings. But the outcome is long-term and worth the effort, according to Dr. Nelson.
Though the approach is gentle, the message remains fair, clear and firm. Children need to learn that they can't always have what they want," Nelson writes. What do they learn from this? That they are capable, that they can be resilient, that they can survive delayed gratification." Vinaya Alahan discovered Hinduism in much the same way she learned about Positive Discipline, through her interest in finding a better way. Raised in Clarksville , Iowa, she was curious about other religions while a teenager. Her town library had nothing on Hinduism, and it wasn't until she was in her twenties that she learned about Gurudeva through a Yoga teacher in Minneapolis in 1974. Of her creating the Positive Discipline Fund (fund #32) at HHE, she says. It's a small thing I'm able to do. I see it as enlightened self interest. Everyone gets better if the world gets better.
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