Positive Discipline: 4 Effective Ways of Disciplining your Child Positively
Being authoritative, too strict or too harsh with your children will not elicit good behaviour. In fact, children, both young and old, tend to rebel against harsh punishment or authoritarian parenting. Positive discipline is a new school of thought that focuses on correcting behaviour without resorting to violence. Importantly, it focuses on raising self-disciplined children who grow up into responsible adults. Here is how you can start to practice positive discipline with your child:
1. Be Clear, Be Firm
When you want your child to stop doing something, say it clearly and without any fanfare. However, it is important that you watch your tone and that you be respectful in your request that she changes her behaviour. Allow your child some time to implement your request without badgering her. For example, mom asks Victoria, her 14 year old to tune down the music because mom has a headache. Mom should give her child some time to do what she has asked. If she does not do it at first, mom can ask again in a firm tone and leave it at that. With a firm, clear, calm request, your child is likely to listen and change her behaviour.
2. Use Logical Consequences to Correct Behaviour
Sometimes, a child may not respond to your request that she changes her behaviour. It is easy to start yelling at this point or to resort to harsh punishment. However, using logical consequences may be more effective. Take Victoria who ignores your request that she tunes down the radio. Instead of yelling at her, you could ask her to hand over the radio and you keep it away for an hour. Or you could inform her that if she continues blasting the music and your headache gets worse, you might not be able to drive her to her dance lessons. She will understand that the consequence of not tuning down the volume is missing her cherished dance lessons. Victoria is likely to adjust the volume to something her mother can bear.
3. Focus on the Behaviour Not The Child
Your child is not bad. Her behaviour may be inappropriate but it is best to pay attention to her behaviour instead of labelling your child as “bad;” such labels only create a sense of rebellion and low self-esteem which are recipes for behavioural disorders. Understand why your child is acting the way she is. Why is she being defiant? Why is she insulting and yelling at her siblings? Why has she resorted to consuming alcohol? Speak to your child about what she feels so you can understand her behaviour. Most of the time, your child just needs your attention. When you understand a child’s inappropriate behaviour, either you can remove her from the triggers (if she is young) or you could help her deal with issues in her life that may be pushing her toward inappropriate behaviour.
4. Say No to Saying No
Parents are used to saying “No!” “Don’t!” when they want a child to change his behaviour. The author of “The 101s: A Guide to Positive Discipline,” Dr. Katharine C. Kersey, recommends focusing on what you want your child to do. So instead of saying, “Victoria, don’t play loud music, I am having a headache,” you might say, “Victoria, please tune down the volume, I am having a headache.” Instead of saying, “No! You can’t jump on the couch with dirty shoes,” you could say, “Please remove your dirty shoes then you can have fun on the couch.” Positive messages are more likely to be received positively.