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Positive Discipline

Positive discipline is an effective method of parenting that every parent should give a try when trying to figure out the best way to discipline your child. Positive discipline is proven to be more effective in producing better and stronger results in a child's behavior.

Every parent faces struggles where they must discipline their child but doesn't exactly no how to do it. Studies have shown that hitting and spanking are not effective forms of discipline, so where is a parent supposed to turn? Which options do they have? When it comes to taking a necessary role in providing discipline to their child in order to teach them about responsibilities, negative behaviors that are not tolerated, etc., parents have to take an active role in positive discipline.

There are several ways to employ the use of positive discipline techniques. One of the best ways to do this is to promote your child's self-worth. Even though you are telling them they have done something wrong, it is important to show confidence in them that they will learn how to do it right from then on. Using corrective measures rather than just criticism is a great way to help adjust your child's behavior so there will be less call for discipline later on. In many of these situations, it is important to show your child that you recognize why they are upset and why they are behaving how they are. Then tell them how they should be behaving even though they are upset. In many cases when children act upset and engage in throwing tantrums, speaking and acting disrespectfully because they are trying to show their parents how upset they are. If you are able to let your child know you acknowledge they are upset and why they are upset, they are more likely to calm down simply because they know you understand where they are coming from.

Here is an example: 

"I know you want to play the video game, but it is Sarah's turn."

A statement like this can help validate the child's feelings, but it also lets them know why they cannot have what they are demanding right away. Helping them understand what is wrong with their behavior will encourage them to behave better the next time. The next step is to offer a solution to the problem. This will help them understand how the positive discipline works.

Here is the example continued:

"I know you want to play the video game, but it is Sarah's turn. She has 10 minutes left on her turn, and then you can have a chance to play."

This helps them not only understand and appreciate that you understand them, but it also helps them feel better about the solution. If they know they only have 10 minutes left to wait, they will be more likely to calm down and be patient. 

Offering choices is also a great way to encourage your child's feeling of self-worth. If they feel like they have some control over the situation, they will be more likely to listen to you.

For example, "I know you are mad because you want a cookie right now, but you can either have an apple or a banana instead. Which do you want?"

This is s a great way to give children the tools they need for solving problem without causing unpleasant scenes. 

When using positive discipline techniques, it is important to speak firmly and clearly and follow through on every action in order to avoid confusion or allowing your child to think they can manipulate the situation. If you are not firm in your decisions, the child thinks they can just nag, cry or scream their way into getting what they want because you have changed your mind before. Do not allow this to happen and your child will know you are resolute in your decision. 

One of the primary aspects of positive discipline is to create a positive atmosphere. Make sure they know when they are doing something well. If your child makes it through an entire shopping trip through the grocery store without throwing a tantrum, being demanding or exhibiting otherwise negative behaviors, make sure they know how much you appreciate their good behavior. That does not mean they have to be rewarded with treats or a prize every time they behave or they will expect to be essentially paid for acting how they are supposed to. The best thing to do is to voice your praise. Compliment their behavior: "Thank you very much for acting like such a big boy/girl in the store today. I really appreciate you behaving so well."

Parents will be surprised at how much simple words may mean to a child. The best aspects to keep in mind when approaching positive discipline include:

  • Increase your child's self-esteem
  • Allow him/her to feel valued
  • Encourage him/her to feel cooperative
  • Enable him/her to learn the skills involved in taking responsibility for themselves
  • Teach him/her successful  ways to solve problems without crying, screaming and getting upset
  • Don't feel like you have to scream or yell to get your point across. This only makes the child feel/act defensively. Lower your voice to an almost whisper and you will have a better chance of getting their immediate attention.

Sources: odu.edu, kidsource.com

Related Article: Disruptive Behavior Disorders >>

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