Being positive all the time can be exhausting but experts say that positive discipline techniques actually yield the best results. We’re continuing our series on positive discipline today with positive parenting advice including staying calm, acting as a good role model, using respectful communication and setting reasonable and consistent expectations.
Positive Discipline Starts with Positive Parents
The positive discipline approach first and foremost encourages parents to accentuate the good in their children. This means that when your child does good things and
behaves as you desire, you should offer lots of praise. When your kids feel they have pleased you, they will want to do it over and over again. Fear, harsh tones, manipulation, bribes, threats and physical punishments are the negative discipline techniques that the positive discipline theory aims to avoid.
As a parent, staying positive even in the face of misbehavior is essential to settling the immediate situation and breaking the habit for the future. But how is a frustrated (and yes, sometimes angry) parent supposed to stay positive? Start by thinking before you react. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and count to 10. With a more level head, respond appropriately to the situation. Your children will feed off of your emotional cues.
The words you say and how you say them are important to your children. You cannot expect your children not to yell or throw fits if they see you doing it. And if you use harsh words and a harsh tone, they may become copy cats. Rather, follow the Golden Rule: due undo others as you would have them do unto you. Using your manners and a respectful tone should be the expectation for parents and children. Also, use “I” phrases such as, “I don’t like it when…” or “My feelings are hurt when…”
Set Realistic Expectations and Be Consistent
It is good to have family rules but make sure your expectations are realistic for your child. Consider your child’s age and personality before setting harsh guidelines. Consistency is important for young children so don’t waiver on your parenting decisions. If your child knows you will cave if she throws a tantrum bold or long enough, she will repeatedly misbehave to get what she wants.
Once rules are established, make everyone in the family aware as well as caregivers outside your immediate family. If your kids can get away with certain behaviors with some caregivers and not others, the rules become confusing. If you decide to break your own rules once in awhile – say to let your child stay up past bedtime or to have an extra treat – make sure you explain that it is a special privilege or reward and it isn’t going to happen often.
No One is Perfect
As much as you work towards positive discipline, you may blow your lid from time-to-time. Just like your children, mommy makes mistakes too. To correct your mistake, take time to properly apologize once you’ve cooled off and explain that you, too, sometimes misbehave. After an outburst of your own, it’s important to show your child affection so they know that mommy’s love is endless and unconditional.
Stick around for the conclusion of our series on positive discipline techniques when we share even more tips and tricks.
Sources: Parents Magazine, PBS and Attachment Parenting