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Message from the board of directors

It’s been a busy Fall! Here are the highlights:

  • The Northeast Conference, held in Stamford, CT October 24, was a huge success! There were 83 attendees, and the Positive Discipline momentum was more than evident!
  • The PDA is continuing to focus on research, with the goal of having publishable results from a parenting study.
  • The Board is actively interviewing to hire a Professional Development Coordinator.
  • New mobile-friendly website design.

  • Save the dates for Conference and Think Tank 2016…August 5-8 in San Diego! The Think Tank planning team is in place, with Nadine Gaudin, Casey O’Roarty and Kelly Pfieffer.
  • We are now accepting 2016 Conference presentation proposals. Click Here to submit a proposal. The deadline for submissions is January 5, 2016! 
  • The PDA is working toward continued improvements for the core workshop process and expanding services available to Trainers. 

Atlanta, GA, USA Advanced Candidate Training

An Advanced Candidate Training (ACT) was held October 8-12, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. The group, now nicknamed the “Atlanta Braves” included:

  • Yogi Patel, San Diego, CA

  • Solenne Roland-Riche, Le-Vesinet, France
  • Joy Sacco, Vista, CA
  • Marcilie Smith Boyle, Oakland, CA
  • Angela Zhang, Shenzen, China
  • Sabrina Zhang, Beijing, China
  • Kristine Averilla, San Mateo, CA
  • Carol Dores, Brookfield, CT
  • Shawn Edwards, Georgetown, TX
  • Lora Ferguson, Austin, TX
  • Kelly Gfroerer, Atlanta, GA
  • Bénédicte Péribère, Nice, France

The group was facilitated by Lead Trainers Penny Davis and Lori Onderwyzer, and Assisted by Lois Ingber and Ari Hurtado de Molina. Congratulations to all for their hard work!


Dr. Eva Dreikurs Fergusons Partners with Positive Discipline Association

Eva Dreikurs Ferguson
Professor, Psychology SIUE 

I am happy to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Positive Discipline Association in doing research on the Adler and Dreikurs parenting model, and specifically to study the effectiveness of Positive Discipline Parent Education. I hope to communicate how urgent it is to show the program's effectiveness. Without evidence-based results the impact of Adler-Dreikurs parent training is limited, which makes your participation as a Positive Discipline Parent Educator's, and your encouragement for parents to participate, truly important.

Please help the families involved to understand that their time and contribution will benefit other families. My father, Rudolf Dreikurs, worked tirelessly to bring his principles and methods to the community. If he were alive today, he'd be both happy and proud to know this work is being done. Please share this sense of appreciation with families in your work.

Please contact Kelly Gfroerer, Positive Discipline Association Board Co-Chair, if you have questions throughout the research process. She will reach out to us at the University whenever needed to assure your questions get answered. Again, thank you for collaborating with us on this important work.

About the researchers

Dr. Eva Dreikurs Ferguson 

"As professor of psychology and as the daughter of Rudolf Dreikurs, I want to assure high quality for the research of our project, so that we can demonstrate parent education is effective when based on the work of Dreikurs and Adler. From practical experience we know it is effective, but now I appreciate the opportunity to give scientific evidence to show the value of Adler-Dreikurs parent education and specifically the value of Positive Discipline."

Lainie Barron

Hi, my name is Lainie Barron and I am currently a graduate research assistant in the Ferguson Lab, and a second year masters candidate in the Clinical Psychology program at SIUE. In addition to the Positive Discipline research, I am also working on projects focusing on anxiety disorders, worry, and personality traits. Throughout my undergraduate career at the University of Missouri, I was also a research assistant in multiple research labs. I look forward to seeing our project come to fruition and am excited to see the results!

Positive Discipline East Coast Conference

The Positive Discipline Association hosted the first ever Positive Discipline East Coast Conference in Stamford, Connecticut on October 24th. The goal of having an East Coast Conference was to help increase awareness of Positive Discipline in this part of the United States. It was a huge success, with over 80 in attendance, and people traveling from as far away as China, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Bermuda. There was great connection and feelings of community. Participants included Social Workers, Teachers, School Administrators, Psychologists, Parent Educators, College Faculty/Staff members, and students. Positive Discipline of Connecticut, also a non-profit, helped support the event.

Participants attended their choice of four morning breakout sessions, including:

  • Vicki Dolan, Positive Discipline and Ongoing Community Based Parent Education: Keep it Going!
  • Dori Keiper, Who as Alfred Adler?
  • Barbara Kinney, Empowering Teens and Yourself
  • Teresa LaSala, Creating a School Culture and Climate That Fosters Engagement: Putting the Pieces Together From the Top Down and the Bottom Up!

Dr. Jane Nelsen gave the keynote presentation on “Developing Capable People through Positive Discipline”. Her interactive presentation included personal stories that were appreciated by all! 

Participants who volunteered for role playing, benefited from the experiential learning and gained a deep understanding of the Positive Discipline philosophy. The keynote was followed by a networking lunch.

Participants then attended their choice of five afternoon breakout sessions, including:

  • Charles Manos, Integrating Positive Discipline and Other Relationally Based Therapeutic Approaches
  • Dori Keiper, How Did Parenting/Leadership Styles Affect My Thoughts, Emotions, and Decisions Growing Up? And How is My Parenting/Leadership Style Impacting the Lives of Children and Youth?
  • Jane Nelsen and Kelly Gfroerer, Positive Discipline Tools for the Classroom and Democratic Leadership
  • Anne-Marie Fenn, Positive Discipline and Montessori: Complementary Practices of Human Construction: How relevant and valid are the perspectives of Alfred Adler and Maria Montessori today?
  • William Nicoll, Raising Resilient Youth via Home-School Collaboration
Thank you to all the presenters and volunteers who helped make this a successful event.

Positive Discipline expansion committee
We are the Encouragement & Empowerment Group

This committee is about encouragement and empowerment worldwide. The even better news is, this committee is "not extra work".  A quick recap from our last meeting will show you what we mean: 

  • Cathy Kawakami shared about her travels to EGYPT to teach Positive Discipline, and specifically about the good and the challenging parts of a trip of that magnitude.  
  • Chantal Bourges shared about her transition and challenges with sharing Positive Discipline in a new area (and country!) and shared ideas to best reestablish herself.
  • Carol Dores' various initiatives include how to enter into more middle and high schools, and how to take on “becoming a Positive Discipline town.” 
  • Paige Michaelis shared about successes and challenges with bringing Positive Discipline into the workplace. 

At the end of the meeting each of us shared a short term and long term goal to help us develop some accountability. We also shared some of the personal challenges we had with our Superiority-ness. (All of us in the meeting were Superiority top cards), and some of our goals centered around those challenges. 

At the end, each of us felt empowered and encouraged and we wanted you to have the opportunity to feel the same!  So join us at one of our next bi-monthly calls:

December 8th,  February 9th, April 12th, June 14th, August 9th, October 11th.

All are held at 12pm EST and the dial in numbers will be sent prior.

Contact Paige Michaelis for more information: info@1minutemommy.com

Member profile

Jane weed-pomerantz of Positive Discipline Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is a small county in central California with about 250,000 residents. The area prides itself on compassion and quality of life values of preserving the natural environment, providing adequate human services, and building community.

Back in the mid 1990’s, there had been over 20 years of innovative Adlerian based approaches being taught in Cabrillo Community College’s Early Childhood Education program, as well as Parent Education Nursery Schools (Co-op preschools) in the Santa Cruz, CA area.

Jane Weed-Pomerantz, a mother of 4 young children, left public office (City Council member and Mayor) to be present in her children’s lives. Having taken the class Developing Capable People by Stephen Glenn and realizing she would be a parent forever, she decided to attend a Positive Discipline training with Jane Nelsen. Greatly motivated by the new perspective, several principals in Santa Cruz were happy to have Jane teach parenting classes in their schools, and in 1998 she was invited to help teach Positive Discipline for Parenting in Recovery classes in the women’s minimum security facility.

After close to a decade, what became known as Parenting for a Strong Community; Positive Discipline Today, Self Confident Adults Tomorrow, was the beginning of what has now been identified as an ‘ecological model’, in fact, a movement to build a community based on mutual respect and dignity.

Between 2000 and 2005, five Family Resource Centers deliberately created a model “continuum” of parent education services using Positive Discipline as the foundational curriculum. There was recognition of the need for a public health model of engagement and service delivery in order to address the diverse needs of families and community members.

When Jane Weed-Pomerantz would exclaim how quickly Positive Discipline was being embraced in Santa Cruz, Jane Nelsen would say “You must get help doing this, become a trainer and work with people you like!” So she became one of the early Trainers to be certified in the developing PDA’s training program of the early 2000’s. In the first 7 years, over 50 Santa Cruz residents were trained as parent educators and 20 as classroom educators.

When Triple P, a behaviorist model from the University of Queensland, Australia, was brought into the county by the local First 5 Commission in 2009, the Positive Discipline practitioners in Santa Cruz were dismayed. Without current research and the ‘evidence based’ designation, those in bureaucracies could not justify continuing with Positive Discipline even though the evaluations consistently revealed over 90% satisfaction with many testimonials proclaiming life changing transformations.

Those teaching and using Positive Discipline decided they needed to formalize an organization in order to apply for grants, conduct research, and get contracts with social service agencies and school districts. In 2010, Positive Discipline Community Resources (PDCR) received its nonprofit status and has become a celebrated ‘go-to’ organization for the expansion of Positive Discipline in the community.

Despite $250,000 a year spent on using Triple P over the last 5 years, PDCR continued to grow. Now, in 2015, there are at least 100 parenting educators teaching classes through schools. Positive Discipline Community Resources is present in preschools, substance abuse treatment facilities, in the jails, through foster care agencies, and in the Live Oak Family Resource Center.

There are now eight schools implementing Positive Discipline in the Classroom in the whole school and many individual classrooms utilizing it, bringing the numbers of classroom educators to several hundred.

PDCR is growing and community support continues to expand. Classes and core workshops are offered in English and Spanish, with five certified trainers and several trainer candidates working with PDCR in Santa Cruz and nearby counties. PDCR has a 9 member Board of Directors, a Community Advisory Committee, a marketing team, and a writing team that have developed tip sheets that cover topics such as Tantrums, Routines, Family Meetings, and Encouragement.

PDCR has always put an emphasis on evaluation and has provided analysis of class outcomes with stakeholders from the various sectors where classes are held. In a research collaboration with UC Santa Cruz in 2013, a qualitative study was conducted under the direction of Dr Ellen Shrouf with over 20 families who had taken Positive Discipline classes over the last decade. Currently, PDCR educators are involved in the national research underway with the Positive Discipline Association and Southern Illinois University. 

New partnerships and collaborations in the community with Court Appointed Special Advocates, the Sheriff’s Department, and neighboring counties have furthered Positive Discipline’s use regionally. PDCR has responded to inquiries from health clinics to increase effectiveness and services to their clients and families, and worked on an educational series with the Healthier Kids Foundation.

Each year PDCR has reached thousands of people, and each day their educators experience gratitude and recognition for transforming lives through respectful relationships!

Above: Jane Weed-Pomerantz and Chayo Maciel getting ready to role play and lead a discussion on bullying at the summer futsol sign-ups in Live Oak - Santa Cruz County

Below: August 3, 2015 delegation of Chinese Positive Discipline educators and trainers came to Santa Cruz for a workshop on Positive Discipline and Children With Special Needs. We then visited the Chinese section of the historic Evergreen Cemetery to hear about the history of Chinese immigrants in Santa Cruz by George Ow Jr who said "we were bringing great joy to the spirits that day!” 

Above: PDCR fund raising brunch in Jane’s back yard that featured a workshop with Jane Nelsen! Pictured are business owners, physicians, teachers, social workers, Positive Discipline Educators. 

Below: Gisselle Johnson Padilla and Laura Xochitl Valdez Chavez two of our bilingual Positive Discipline Trainers doing the work!! 

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