If you’re like me, you probably wanted to be consistent in the way you discipline your child and failed many times.
Some of us were raised in belief that spanking was the way to punish your child and teach them some discipline. Many studies have concluded this is not effective.
In fact, some studies show that physical discipline actually makes a child more likely to repeat negative behavior.
But what is a mom to do?
How are we to teach our children some discipline?
Positive Parenting and Discipline
There is a solution.
It’s called positive parenting. Sometimes called positive discipline, gentle guidance, or loving guidance. It’s what I use with my kids and what works.
Starting from when they were babies, I always believed in gently guiding my children in the way to be the kind of adults that I would like them to be.
While this takes much more time and mental strength to do, you need to remember one thing.
Positive parenting is a great way to make sure that your child learns the lessons the right way.
Lots of parents like to use physical discipline as a means of teaching their children a lesson. Well, let’s get real about it.
Parents don’t really like to use physical discipline but sometimes it is all we really know.
So what happens when we use physical discipline to detract our children from exhibiting bad behaviors.
Well, not only does it not help with stopping the bad behavior, it has been shown to hinder your child from learning how to control themselves.
This is why physical discipline, like spanking, is discouraged. It doesn’t work. As we all know, fear is not a good motivator. End of discussion.
Start Being Firm Early
So starting early on you need to take the reins and make sure that you get your child to understand what it is that they are doing wrong and learn how to modify their behavior with positive approach.
There is no need to use punishment or give rewards to change their behavior. With gentle guidance you can change the way that your child reacts to situations.
One example that I like to use is Mr Rogers.
Mr Rogers was like a second parent to all of us, and of course he’s been reborn as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. If you remember either of those shows, you’ll remember that the parents or Mister Rogers himself, would slowly enforce certain ideas about behavior by telling the child stories and gently nudging them in the right direction.
This is the way that I treat my children.
Even when he was a baby, I would try to discuss with what was the best way to act in a situation. I would pay no attention to him if he misbehaved or was throwing tantrums.
Just wait patiently until the thunder is over and then ask what he wants.
This may seem counter-intuitive to have a discussion with your child about what they want. Even I myself found myself finding it ridiculous at times. But it worked.
It helped me to teach my child the value of their words and to communicate their feelings.
It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It
Sometimes it can be hard to sit down and talk with a child and get your point across.
Even young babies can understand a loving tone more so than violent punishments. Yes, it can be hard, especially because you have to manage your own feelings first (mostly anger).
Last summer, my son run out on the street full of cars from my friend’s house. Of course he didn’t realize the danger he was putting himself into, so I had to explain why he can’t do that and what can happen to him.
Don’t try to scare kids off doing something silly, you shouldn’t intimidate them. Just explain that certain things can be dangerous for them and that their parents would be very sad if something happened to them.
This shows him that you want to keep him safe and not threaten him with punishment.
It’s Not About Punishment and Discipline
But positive parenting isn’t just about discipline.
Positive parenting does more than just focus on discipline. It also focuses on how you do things as a family.
As a mom we all know how hard it is to get our children to help out with chores so we try and cajole them into doing what we want.
We’ll say things like, “if you clean your room, you can get some ice cream.”
But giving a reward to your child for cleaning their room doesn’t teach them to become independent and responsible person.
As soon as the incentive for cleaning their room is taken away, they won’t want to do it anymore. Instead, you can remind them with charts and simple prompting. This way they learn that living in a clean home is an important value, and every family member has to do their bit.
Easy to say, hard to do?
Positive parenting is one of the most difficult parenting styles out there. It takes a lot of patience, skill, experience and most of all constant reminder that you are doing all of this to bring up a better person.
Positive parenting is about learning from your mistakes, taking it one step at a time and shielding yourself from parenting shortcuts many of your friends will take just to make their life easier.
Positive parenting teaches kids responsibility, kindness and values from which they will benefit for the rest of their lives.
Have you got any experience with positive parenting? What were the beginnings like? What did you struggle the most with? Share your tips and advice with other parents!
Recommended books on Positive Parenting:
Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting
The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting: Second Edition