As a parent, you’ve no doubt dealt with a child misbehaving, being mean, having a meltdown or throwing a major tantrum. Not fun. Been there, done that, not going back? Like it or not, our children’s behavior is something we will always need to address, whether it’s a child being pleasant and kind, or being downright cruel and loud. Learning strategies and coping mechanisms can help you deal with a variety of behaviors and situations. Positive discipline is a popular and effective way to manage and promote positive behavior.
Positive discipline is a program developed by Dr. Jane Nelsen, with fundamentals of the program based on work by Alfred Adler and Rudolf Driekurs. Positive discipline is designed to teach children to become responsible, respectful community members. Important skills are taught in a way that is encouraging and respectful for both children and adults.
According to Dr. Nelsen, parenting with positive discipline means being kind and firm at the same time, which is effective long-term and helps children feel a connection—a sense of belonging and significance.
Below are answers to common questions regarding positive discipline:
What is positive discipline?
Discipline and punishment are not the same. Discipline is guidance and teaching that promotes positive behavior; punishment is a penalty imposed in reaction to unacceptable behavior. Positive discipline is a discipline model that focuses on the positive points of behavior. It is more effective than punishment because desirable behaviors that last a lifetime must come from within the child rather than be imposed by external force.
What is an example of positive discipline?
Frustrated parents often describe a child’s personality with words like rebellious, lazy and selfish. Behavior can be altered, but personality is more resistant to change. If you focus your efforts on behavior, goals are more likely to be reached. For example, don’t say, “That’s a good girl!” This sends a message that being good all the time is the goal—an impossible expectation. You can say instead, “I like the way you spoke to Grandma just now.” No amount of “good boy” or “good girl” will build a positive self-concept. Give your child specific feedback on his actual good behaviors, because his self-image is composed of his accomplishments. The most effective way to build good behavior is to shape it with praise.
What is meant by specific praise?
The more specific your praise is, the better the child will understand what he’s doing right and the more likely he will be to repeat it. To increase desirable behaviors, you must emphasize the specific behaviors that please you. One morning, for example, you notice your child has made his bed. At that moment, he’s brushing his hair. If you simply say “Looks nice,” he won’t know whether you are referring to his bed or his hair. Instead, you can say, “I really like the way you made your bed so neatly this morning. Thanks.”
How can I praise progress if I hardly notice any?
Start praising every little step toward the target behavior, making a point of catching your child at being good. For example, tell your child he must clean up his toys when he’s through playing with them, though he’s never done this before. Praise every bit of progress, however minor. Start by praising your child for picking up one toy even though he’s left three others on the floor. You might say, “It was great the way you picked up your truck and put it in the toy box. Let me help you pick up the others.” The next time, praise him for picking up two items, and so on.
The goal of positive discipline is developing mutually respectful relationships between adults and children. Positive discipline boasts many benefits including improved classroom behavior, increased self-confidence, reduced destructive behavior, and enhanced adult-child relationships. For more resources, visit www.positivediscipline.com.
If you have any questions about your child’s development, visit www.mksallc.com or feel free to contact us at 516-731-5588 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our dedicated professionals are happy to answer any questions you have.