Positive disciplining means that your child will learn right from wrong because of the values you instill in her and not because she is scared of punishment. Positive discipline is a co-operative process and you work together with the child to guide her and help her. Most of all, positive discipline is done from a point of respect, respect for your child and respect in the way you interact with your child.
Here is a list of 20 things you can do in order to create an environment of positive discipline;
- You must always remain calm. Never shout, especially when your child is not doing what you want them to do. Be aware of how your voice changes in different situations. Your child will pick up on these subtle differences. You can easily be annoyed and express that through your voice without even realizing it.
- Talk to your child, not at him. Doesn’t matter how old they are, they understand much more than you realize. And beware, they read your body language much better than you can.
- Whenever you talk to your child, kneel or bend down to get at their level. They won’t feel so overpowered and it is much nicer for both of you.
- Be a loving parent. Tell your child you love them often and express it physically with hugs and kisses.
- Be consistent in your directions. And follow through. Don’t ever give in and go against what you set as a rule.
- If your child has ‘lost’ it and is throwing a tantrum you will never get them to do what you want at that point. Retreat, tell them to come to you when they are finished but then go back and sort out what the original problem was. e.g. She spilt the water on the floor and you then clean it up together.
- Involve your child in your daily tasks. Kids love to help out with the cleaning, gardening or housework. Involving them makes them feel important but most of all they are beginning to learn the processes around life in your household. You are empowering them by involving them.
- Be firm with your child but kind.
- Implement natural consequences. The consequence should be directly related to the issue at hand. In this way the child learns responsibility for her actions. If you punish, the child only learns that they have to hide their actions. For example, if you have a no shoe policy in the house and the child runs in and spreads dirt everywhere, then you could get the child to clean up the mess before doing whatever they were running to. You have to explain of course why they have to do that. If the child is too young to clean it up, involve them in helping you to do it. Once done, they may continue with whatever they were doing.
- When an accident happens talk to them and explain that it’s ok, accidents do happen. But that they should be sorted out. However take the focus off the mistake, instead take action to correct it.
- Use distraction. Children have a short attention span. They need constant stimulation and they get bored easily. If you find the child playing up then distract them with something else, a book or another toy. Defuse their tantrum before it happens.
- Know your child and her energy. Know what she needs in a day. How she reacts when she is hungry, tired or bored. See the signs so that you can react before a situation arises.
- Give your child choices. Telling them what to do is much less effective than them making a choice for themselves. Do this as much as possible. When getting dressed for example. Your child will feel valued and important through this simple action.
- Tell your child what the plan is. If you’re getting ready to go out, let them know. Don’t drag them away from their play and force them into the car. Talk to them and tell them they should help you get ready.
- If your child has done something wrong and upset someone, then when the situation is sorted, take the child to the upset one and get the child to kiss and make up.
- If you constantly nag or order you child, they will become ‘deaf’ to you. Be aware and involve them in conversation and action.
- When having to physically move a child, due to safety perhaps, then do it lovingly not forcibly.
- Be a role model. Your child will do what you do, not what you say. Show them through your actions and words.
- Praise your child at every opportunity
- Most of all be respectful and loving at all times.
Obviously it depends on what age your child is and thus which of these you can use. But most apply at all ages and it is good to be aware of all, as you raise your child. Getting into these habits will make your life much happier. Your child will respond much better and it will not be such a struggle.
Sometimes it takes repeated guidance for something to register with your child but if done consistently and with love it WILL register and that is positive discipline.