With the news of Amy Chua's Tiger Mother parenting spreading like wildfire, people are starting to look at the extremes of parenting from all sides. Because I subscribe to my own self-created positive parenting methods, I have been questioned by readers about discipline. Many have made assumptions that positive parenting methods do not offer discipline and that children are being catered to. I cannot speak for all parents. However, my positive parenting methods definitely involve discipline.
What is positive parenting? Positive parenting is a method in which guardians choose to guide children without force. It is about looking for ways to teach and parent children that stimulate positive reactions, behaviors, and lessons. In positive parenting, the goal is to teach children how to resolve issues, control emotions and behaviors, and relate to others in a way that brings about a positive result.
What is discipline? Discipline is the act of teaching the consequences of actions. Discipline is necessary in showing children what happens when they do or don't do certain things throughout life. Children who receive zero discipline may fail to fully understand why certain behaviors and actions are inappropriate.
Some misconceptions about positive parenting and discipline:
What is positive discipline? In positive parenting, the goal is not to avoid discipline, but to use it in a way that is productive in a good way. There is not one positive method that will work in every situation. In fact, for discipline to trigger a positive and productive response from children, it should be geared toward each unique situation. Also, remember that that each child has unique needs, depending on age, abilities, mental and social state, and more. You know your child best. When choosing discipline methods that will teach the lesson, as well as create a positive result, think of the situation itself, as well as what is most likely to work for your child. For instance, a timeout might work work well for one two year old. But drawing an apology picture or getting a privilege or toy taken away may work for another.
Is there a such thing as negative discipline? Of course. Negative discipline is that which either harms the child or does not effectively teach the lesson. It can also be both. Some parents may find that spanking their children only makes them fearful in their presence and also teaches their children to hit others in order to solve a problem. If this is the case in your home, you have found a negative discipline method. Any method that causes another harm or creates more issues than it solves is a negative form of discipline.
How can my family start using positive discipline? One of the easiest ways I have recommended to those new to positive parenting is to start a Parenting Mistake Journal. Take down all the issues in your home each day and what you did to solve the issues. Look over the issues and observe the kids to see whether your discipline techniques had a positive or negative impact. If the results from your actions turn out negative or the problem was not really resolved, try to think of a more positive way to turn things around. Do this daily until you get to a point where you no longer need a journal to figure things out.
Note: The author's positive parenting method has evolved into what she calls Upstream Parenting.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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