A Few Positive Discipline Techniques Every Parent Should Know
Today’s parents looking for tips on how to effectively discipline their children need to learn more about positive discipline. Positive discipline involves encouraging your child rather than punishing them and instilling a mutual respect between parent and child that will last a lifetime. Check out some popular techniques below and start building a better relationship with your child today.
Positive Discipline Techniques
- Look for a meaning behind the bad behavior.
Most children want to behave well for their parents and when they act out there is often more going on than just the temper tantrum at hand. You want to give your child the benefit of the doubt when they misbehave and figure out the root cause of the problem. Sometimes it is simply their age and sometimes it has to do with you.
Were they behaving fine until you ignored them and began speaking on the phone instead of looking at animals at the zoo? Could certain foods be affecting their mood negatively? Too often parents want their children to understand adult behaviors before they had time to learn them.
- Control yourself.
Learning to control yourself and keep a cool head in the heat of the moment is probably the most important technique to remember for positively disciplining your child successfully. As the parent, you must model the behavior you wish to instill in your children. Yelling only leads to more yelling, hitting only leads to more violence.
If you feel yourself getting past the point of control, try to count silently to ten in your head, take a few deep breaths, or walk away until you can speak calmly and rationally. Showing your frustration and anger can reinforce the misbehavior rather than stop it and keeping your tone in check is key. Try singing instead of yelling at your child if you find it difficult to keep a calm tone.
- Set clear expectations and be consistent.
Too often parents will ignore a bad behavior in the hopes that it is just a stage and the troubles will pass soon. Usually, that is not the case and the behavior becomes an established part of the child’s personality. Setting clear expectations for your child makes it easier for them to understand what is good versus bad behavior.
Once you set these expectations, you must reinforce them at every given opportunity. If your child is playing with other kids in the park and bites one of them, you must shut it down immediately by telling them the behavior is not acceptable. If they continue to bite other children, you must remove them from the situation entirely and get them to recognize that when they do not listen, they lose their privileges.
- Acknowledge good behavior, not bad behavior.
The most common reason children act up is to get their parents’ attention. If they act up in a manner that poses no threat to themselves or anyone else, it works better in the long-run to ignore the behaviors that you do not appreciate and only respond when they change their tactics. So if your child begins to cry because they cannot have the juice they want this instant, go ahead and let them cry until they realize it will not get them what they want.
- Redirect, do not just discipline.
Once a kid hears “No!” or “Don’t do that!” enough times, they often begin to ignore them. Obviously, continuing to use these phrases does you no good and only devalues their conversational worth. Rather than repeating “No” over and over again, it may be time to start redirecting your child to replace their bad behavior.
Rather than telling them not to yell or scream while in the grocery store, have them help you pick out some cereal or fruit, or help to rearrange the items in the grocery cart. Getting their attention focused on something else can help stop the misbehavior without needing to discipline at all.
- Exploit your lack of energy.
Raising children is exhausting, especially when they do not behave as they should. You can use this lack of energy to your advantage, however, by bringing it up when trying to stop the misbehavior. You can tell them that if they keep it up, you will not have enough energy to take them out to play later, etc. See how quickly things start to calm down.
- Do NOT bribe!
No matter what, no matter how frustrated or tired you get when trying to correct bad behavior, it never pays to bribe your child into being good. They learn that they can manipulate you into giving them things by acting up. If you want to reward your child for good behavior, do it by spending more quality time with them doing things that they want to do, rather than buying them toys to keep them happy.