Let’s face it, disciplining a child is no easy feat. Many small debates over simple tasks can end up with both the caretakers and kiddos in fumes! So, in an attempt to hose some fumes down, is there an alternative route we can try to create a much calmer positive environment?
Well, the answer is yes!
The development of Positive discipline is based on the work of Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychotherapist as well as psychotherapist Rudolf Dreikurs. Its main components encourage parents and caretakers to be:
-Firm, yet kind
-Building a mutual respect
-Find solutions to problems
Firm yet kind
Kindness is one of the most lovely and simple acts we can pass onto our children. Although raising children can very often bring people to their boiling points, it’s important to try to stay calm. Very often shouting will do more harm than good. Children will react to the environment in which we present them with. In this case, if you feel yourself getting frustrated, leave the situation entirely if you can. Scream, cry, open the window for some fresh air. Do whatever it takes for you to come back down again.
Kindness doesn’t stop at our children. In order to take on positive discipline in our lives, we also have to approach ourselves in a positive light. It is just as important to take care of yourself. If you feel overwhelmed looking after children, it’s important to know that feeling like this is perfectly normal and you deserve “me time” too.
It’s so important that we devote some time to hear our little ones out! Perhaps a child is getting upset when they don’t want to share their toys with a friend.
Here are two scenarios of dealing with the situation.
1- “ You have to share your toys”!
2–“I see that you are getting upset and I understand but if you don’t want to share your toys when your friends are here then I will have to leave them in the box.”
Number 1’s response did not use positive discipline. It gave the child many options to reciprocate and opened up a whole nights worth of “No!” “I don’t want too”! “This isn’t fair”! And so on and so forth.
Number 2’s response was understanding, firm, but gentle so it would be unlikely to provoke an argumentative response. It also gave the child two clear options- either they’d have to share to continue playing or they would no longer be able to use the toys.
Perhaps in another scenario, a child does not want to do their homework.
You might say,
1- “Come in here and do your homework right now”!
Or you might say,
2-”I can see you have a lot of homework to do tonight, so you pick what you want to do. We can either have a little chill time now for an hour, and do your homework after, or you can do it now and then have some chill out time after.”
Number 1’s response again opened up a lot of room for debating and squabbling. Number 2’s response gave empathy to the child’s feelings. It was made clear the child had to do their homework, yet the child was shown there are two options and it gave them some freedom of deciding which one to pick.
By applying little adjustments to our caretaking and parenting styles, we encourage a much more positive environment for children.
Not to mention it builds harmony, independence with a still clear order, as well as a healthy option to solve problems!
Building mutual respect
To build mutual respect with our children through our discipline we must build a rich relationship with them, abundant in trust. The way you currently discipline may have an effect on the overall behavior of your child. Positive discipline heavily focuses on the positive part. Instead of shaming children to feel guilt on wrongdoings, we focus on the good.
did you ever come across a very naughty child when you were at school? Perhaps they got sent outside, maybe to the front of the class. I can bet you this wasn’t the first or last time they acted up. They got attention for the first time, stepped out of line, then nothing majorly bad happened and they’d do it again.
Instead, using positive discipline we are encouraged to focus on the good. Really praising and noticing children for doing good works wonders!
Perhaps your child has to do a project for school. Maybe they left it to the last minute. Either way, they are going to be disappointed when it comes back to them with a lower grade or score. Instead of focusing mainly shaming the child for waiting so long and leaving it there, you might want to discuss with the child how you recognize the effort and work, and then ask them what would make it better next time. That allows the child to think a little deeper and be honest with themselves. It allows them and you to build honesty and trust together. Asking children to reflect on events really helps them to have a deeper understanding of right and wrong.
Responding to children like this in a calm, yet firm manner also means they will not be ashamed or afraid to tell you when they don’t do a task to their full potential. They will have an opportunity to think about their actions on their own, instead of being told, which is a great leap in maturity!
Through many scenarios of discipline, in most cases, it is important to see just as much of the good as we do the bad. Perhaps if we delve deeper into events in a child’s life, we will be able to shape them in a positive way.
Often, there is so much going on inside a child’s brain it’s no wonder they can have the occasional meltdown. It’s so important to praise children for trying and not praising only when they succeed. This method can be used in literally any situation! For example:
Maybe a child just lost a football match. You might like to say:
“That’s a shame your team lost, I could see how hard you were trying today. Maybe we can practice some more to keep getting better”?
Letting children know we value them for trying is often much more empowering than winning in the first place. From the above, you can not only show the child how valued hard work is but your also showing them to keep on developing skills even when they don’t win.
Finding solutions to problems
Not every problem will have a straightforward solution in life, of course. However, it is incredible how much we can change children’s mindset by a simple response and how this will become the benchmark for your positive home environment.
Many times when children refuse to do something, the most effective way to handle the situation is to make things fun. Of course, we must tell children how important rules are, and how we have to follow them in life. However you might like to change up the rather boring tasks into fun ones and this will get things done a lot quicker- especially if you are in a rush to get out the door!
Perhaps your child is very reluctant to get ready and come out the door, you might like to say one of the following;
“I bet you can’t get ready before your brother”!
“Whoever is ready first gets to pick the movie/dinner later”!
“I’m going to time everyone to see who can get ready the quickest”! “Three, two, one…go”!!!
Solutions to better behaviour come from applying positive discipline in our daily lives. We can demonstrate to children how challenging behaviour is not accepted, yet we are still there to work on it together!
We build a respectful, truthful and honest relationship through positive discipline. Looking deeper into behaviours, finding the cause and working on it together to become better people.