Delivering a punishment is often as uncomfortable for the parent as it is for the child receiving it. Sometimes, we wish we could avoid it altogether, hoping that the situation will magically resolve itself.
What if we told you there are ways to correct bad behavior that create positivity with no adverse reaction? Is it really possible to correct a child’s bad behavior without punishment? Yes, it is, and it can be done through positive discipline!
What is positive discipline?
Positive discipline centers around rewarding and encouraging a child for their good acts rather than punishing them for their bad behaviors.
Traditionally, negative disciplinary techniques (i.e., shouting, bribing and physical punishments) have been used to deter children from continuing bad habits. These acts can be harmful to the child-parent relationship, whereas positive discipline methods can help strengthen this bond, increase your child’s trust in you and show them that frustrations can be managed without conflict.
No matter our age, we all like being told we’ve done a good job! Good behavior should always be praised whenever possible, and that is especially true for children just learning the lessons of the world.
Praising a child for their positive behavior increases their likelihood of acting in that way again. It is important to praise the good deeds when practicing positive discipline rather than the child’s character.
For example, if your child shares their toy with someone, try highlighting how their action positively benefited someone else rather than simply saying it was kind.
Like some situations in our adult lives, sometimes the best thing for a child is to remove them from a bad situation. Redirecting them to a new activity or changing their environment is often a simple and positive solution when they begin to act out.
Proper redirection will see the child move along to the next activity, ideally leaving conflict out of the scenario. Rather than telling a child their TV time is over, invite them to play outside or provide them with a craft to complete. It is important to focus on what they can do instead of telling them what they can’t.
Time-Ins and Time-Outs
When tensions arise, and action must be taken, the time-out is a tried and true method that has been used for generations. However, these moments of solitude can be supplemented with bonding experiences that will benefit both you and your little one. This is where “time-ins” are best utilized.
Rather than setting your child off on their own, join them in their moment of reflection. Choose a book read-along until they have calmed themselves. Once your child has relaxed, the door is open for you both to discuss the undesirable action, its underlying cause and what can be done to avoid it in the future. Time-ins provide a moment for you and your child to cool down after an outburst.
Time-ins and time-outs should be alternated in a combined effort for the most effective use of both techniques.
At Children’s Discovery Center, we believe that all of life’s moments are an opportunity to learn and grow. We encourage you to test these positive discipline methods as a way to connect with your young ones the next time they act out.