Positive discipline is one of the five main types of discipline that can address a variety of behavioral problems. However, many parents wonder, does positive discipline really work? Before jumping to any conclusions, it is important to educate yourself on some of the important principles of positive discipline.
Build a Positive Relationship
Proponents of positive discipline recommend that caregivers spend quality time with children each day to build a healthy relationship. This quality time can include playing, talking, and simply enjoying one another’s company.
During this quality time, it can be beneficial to talk to your child about the feelings he experienced throughout the day. For example, ask him when during the day he felt the saddest and when he felt the happiest. Then, share the same about your day. This provides an opportunity to learn about one another and build a strong foundation for the relationship while also teaching about feelings.
Use Encouragement Liberally
Positive discipline focuses on encouragement over praise. Instead of praising kids for a job well done, encouragement focuses on a child’s efforts, even if there isn’t a successful outcome. Encouragement should celebrate a child’s improvements while motivating him to keep trying.
Encouragement can help kids recognize their full potential. It also teaches them to be more independent as they will begin to see what they are capable of doing on their own. The key is to encourage kids in a way that makes them feel appreciated and recognized, as positive discipline is based on the belief that all kids need to feel a deep sense of belonging.
Modeling how to handle mistakes is an important part of positive discipline. For example, when you make a mistake with parenting, acknowledge it and apologize to your child. This teaches kids the importance of taking responsibility for their own behaviors and shows the importance of learning from mistakes.
Caregivers are encouraged to hold meetings to problem-solve issues as they arise. This teaches children necessary problem-solving skills while providing them with opportunities to share their opinions. Mutual respect is an important part of the process.
Positive discipline emphasizes the importance of kids having chores. Kids provide input about what chores they want to complete. This ability to have input into their chores gives them more a sense of belonging and motivates them to complete their jobs.
Teaching is an important step in the process. Children are given clear guidelines about what is expected from them. Parents take time to train children how to clean their room or how to do their laundry. This provides kids with an opportunity to ask questions and can eliminate misunderstandings about their jobs.
Positive discipline uses an authoritative approach, where a child’s feelings are taken into consideration. Children are encouraged to share about their feelings as well as discuss their mistakes, ideas, and problems openly. Parents then work with the child on resolving issue while modeling respectful communication.
Use Discipline Instead Punishments
Positive discipline makes a sharp distinction between discipline and punishment. Consequences are not meant to be punitive, but instead should offer long-term consequences that teach life lessons that prepare children to become responsible adults.
Even time out is not considered a punishment. Instead, it should be referred to as a positive time out and should take place in a pleasant, comfortable area. A positive time out is designed to teach children to take a time out when they need to cool down so they can eventually take a time out on their own without being sent there as a consequence.
When to Use Positive Discipline
Positive discipline can work well with preschool kids through teenagers. Many schools are even encouraging teachers to use positive discipline in the classroom by employing the same principles. Positive discipline is likely to be effective with any caregiver and can help ensure that children are learning from their mistakes.