There’s one topic that seems to spark a lot of debate among parents and guardians, and that is corporal punishment.
Proponents regard it as an excellent way of conveying a strong message to kids regarding their misbehavior. However, those opposed to it allege it inflicts physical and mental harm.
The truth is that physical punishment can be effective when used in moderation. But when applied to the extreme, it leads to emotional, physical, and academic challenges.
Regardless of the camp you support, there are more effective strategies for positive discipline. So in this post, I’ll explain positive discipline parenting and the methods that fall under this. Let’s dig in:
What Is Positive Discipline Parenting?
This disciplining model can be credited to Dr. Jane Nelsen, also author of Positive Discipline. In a nutshell, it’s a technique that fosters good behavior. It contradicts other methods that focus solely on punishing the child for their wrongdoing.
With positive discipline, the parent reiterates the behaviors that are good and which aren’t. They also explain the rewards of doing good and the potential consequences the child faces if they continue misbehaving.
Positive discipline parenting is based on five premises, namely:
- Fostering a sense of connection with the child
- Encouraging mutual respect between child and parent
- Training crucial social and life skills
- It is efficient in the long-run
- Helping children discover their capabilities
Best Strategies for Positive Discipline
If you’re dealing with a toddler or younger child, redirecting is one of the best tactics for positive discipline. Here’s the thing, toddlers have a very short attention span.
You can leverage this by redirecting them to another activity. For instance, if they’re playing with an item that can cause them, offer them an alternative toy. Or, if they’ve had too much screen time, offer them a puzzle to piece together or have them play outdoors.
Positive Time Outs
For many parents, time-out means asking a child to sit or stand in a corner by themselves to reflect on their bad behavior. Although this works for some kids, a positive time-out is a much better approach.
The latter involves setting up a cozy, relaxing spot where your child can go during the time-out session.
Place a couple of stuffed animals, books, or puzzles that they can engage with. The idea is to help your child calm down when they’re angry or anxious. This, in turn, places them in a better position to discuss the conflict or event that led to the time-out.
When it comes to trivial mistakes, the best way to discipline your child is to ignore them. This particularly applies to things children do to seek your attention.
For instance, sometimes your toddler interrupts you when you’re working or speaking to another adult. It’s better to ignore them instead of giving them the attention they seek. They’ll move on to something else once they realize they’re not getting the desired reaction.
Obviously, this strategy should be used selectively. If your little one is doing something destructive or harmful, you’ll want to stop them in their tracks.
Use Natural or Logical Consequences
When you punish your child constantly, they start regarding you as the enemy. Worse, they might not understand why they’re getting punished if it’s unrelated to the misbehavior.
So rather than spend a whole hour going back and forth or arguing with your child, allow the natural/logical repercussions to unravel.
Are they refusing to wear their winter coats when it’s raining or snowing? Allow them to step out and get rained or snowed on. They won’t walk more than a few meters before returning to the house to retrieve their winter coats.
In some situations, there aren’t any natural repercussions for their wrongdoing. So instead, you should reason out with them and come up with some logical consequences.
Does your child always forget to put back their puzzle pieces in the toy bag? Let them know that the next time you step on one or come across one, you’ll put it in the garden shed instead of their toy bin.
Use Positive Reinforcement
As a parent, it’s easy to focus on all the wrong things your child does. As a result, you’ll always be upset and this can strain your relationship. Instead, take note of their good behavior as well.
Did your child remember to do all their chores before playing video games? Let them know that you recognized it. Did they put away all their toys before going to bed? Be sure to acknowledge their good deed.
Do you know what’s even better than acknowledgement? Reward! For example, if your little one requests to play for ten more minutes with their friends, there’s no need to say no.
They could have easily thrown a tantrum. Instead, they decided to ask nicely. Reward such positive behavior by granting them additional time.
I get it. When your child incessantly asks for something or refuses to comply with your request, the last thing on your mind is offering them more options. But here’s why it works: it gives your child a false sense of control. And there’s nothing they want more.
Let’s say that your child is refusing to take their evening bath. Instead of having a back-and-forth argument, ask them whether they’d like their bedtime story before or after the bath.
So rather than responding to your child’s resistance with aggression, you’re acknowledging their feelings and letting them know they have control to a certain extent.
In modern-day parenting, the best way to discipline your little ones is to encourage good behavior. On the surface, this might not seem as effective as punishing them. But several studies have found that corporal punishment affects kids physically and emotionally.
Instead, you should consider positive parenting for toddlers and beyond. A good example is to redirect them from negative behavior to positive one.
You can also offer them options, which gives them a feeling of control. Or, resort to positive time-out and selective neglect. At the same time, exercise positive reinforcement by acknowledging and/or rewarding good deeds.