Discipline is not about punishment, it’s about teaching your child right from wrong and guiding them to make decisions that will be good for them in the future. Positive discipline is an effective strategy that allows parents to help their children develop self-discipline and pro-social behavior while keeping kids out of harm’s way. This article discusses the principles of positive discipline, why you should try it with your children, and how to use it effectively in your home.
Understanding Positive Discipline
The idea of positive discipline is based on the understanding that children want to please their parents, but might not know what that means. Positive discipline starts with the goal of making sure children know they are loved unconditionally, while also teaching them how to behave in a socially acceptable way. In other words, positive discipline is about teaching kids how to control their behavior, not controlling their behavior for them.
The 4 Essential Keys to Positive Discipline
- Be Firm and Clear with the Rules – This means being clear about what you want your child to do, not just what you don’t want them to do. If a child has too many confusing rules they are less likely to cooperate because they won’t know what the consequences will be when they get caught doing something wrong.
- Consequences Happen – Kids need to experience the consequences of their actions in order for them to learn from their mistakes. The key is to make sure that these consequences match the severity of the misbehavior.
- Stop Misbehavior Early on Before It Escalates – As parents we can prevent some problems by noticing when things might be getting out of control and stopping it before things get worse.
- Don’t Do Your Child’s Job for Them- Children need to take responsibility for their own choices and have opportunities to practice managing emotions like frustration or anger without mom or dad stepping in every time
When They Are 7–12 Years Old
The most important part of discipline for children this age is to be involved in every aspect of their lives. This includes spending time with them, talking with them about their day, how they are feeling, and what they want for themselves. Remember, the goal at this age is not to force your child to do anything but to make sure you are aware of the things that are going on in his or her life so that you can be a partner in decision-making.
How to Use Positive Discipline with Teenagers
The first thing to remember when using positive discipline with teenagers, is that they are not adults. The goal in disciplining teenagers should be teaching them how to behave properly in all situations, rather than punishing them for making a mistake. Parents need to be wise about the situation before disciplining their child or teenager. For example, if your teenage son swears at you during a heated argument, yelling back will likely only make things worse.
A Word on Punishment
Punishment, in the form of spanking or other corporal punishment, has been shown to have negative effects on children. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that spanking has been associated with increased aggression and decreased moral internalization. Furthermore, studies show that when parents use spanking as a form of discipline it increases the risk for mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Instead of disciplining with force, positive discipline focuses on teaching methods for self-regulation which are more likely to produce healthy kids who will live up to their potentials.