Handshakes As Positive Discipline

A father with two little girls approached me at a school picnic. He explained that his daughters were new students, and that the older one, Maria, was a bit worried about starting a new school.

“Say hello to Dr. Nollet,” he said to Maria.

Maria stepped forward and stuck out her hand.

“Hi, Dr. Nollet,” she said. “My name is Maria,” She made eye contact, her grasp was firm, she stood straight. A smile transformed her face.

The father said that teaching his children to look someone in the eye and shake hands properly was important to him. He’d been working on this discipline since they were preschoolers.

“I tell them anywhere they go in life, no matter what they become, it is important they greet people with a proper handshake and eye contact.”

When we discipline children, we’re instructing them. When we teach or discipline with respect, we teach respect for the other.

Positive discipline is effective discipline because it’s light-handed, substantive, and guides through practice. It lifts children up instead of putting them down while preparing them for life.

Here’s a wonderful video about mentors teaching children to handshake: