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An introduction to positive discipline

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Klara King
Positive parenting facilitator and Montessori specialist

There are lots of different approaches to parenting our children. Positive discipline is all about teaching children to understand what behaviour is appropriate in a respectful and encouraging way, without the use of extrinsic motivation. Here are three ways positive discipline can be a positive step for you and your child:

1. Helping you connect with your child, person to person

Before different techniques are implemented, it is important to understand what drives children’s behaviour. If we can understand the belief behind the behaviour, we can help support children in changing those beliefs. By connecting with our children before correction, we are giving them a sense of belonging and significance.

2. Giving your child the opportunity to learn and develop

Rather than focusing on what your child has done wrong, positive discipline gives children the opportunity to reflect on how capable they really are by involving them in the decision-making process and brainstorming solutions together. The aim is that positive discipline will provide children with valuable social and life skills such as respect, responsibility, problem-solving, cooperation, and accountability, alongside many many more.

3. Establishing long term change rather than quick fixes

Positive discipline provides you with the opportunity to effectively change your children’s behaviour long term. By comparison, punishment-oriented discipline is often more like putting a plaster on for a quick fix, rather than looking at what can be done to deal with the issue at its root. In other words, punishments might work in the short term but the behaviour is often repeated and the results can be negative.

Children’s behaviour is not who they are, it is what they do. Positive discipline will allow you to give your child the benefit of the doubt, and eliminate those continuous power struggles by encouraging cooperation and respect. Adults and children - we all make mistakes! It’s part of being human. Positive discipline sees mistakes as opportunities to learn.