A child who grows without rules and does not know the rules, is not a happy child. An extremely permissive upbringing usually generates insecurity in the little ones, in addition to promoting more egocentric and demanding attitudes. On the contrary, rules and regulations allow children to feel more secure and can give order to their world, knowing exactly what is expected of them. Of course, we must find a balance between limits and freedom, the answer could be found in positive discipline, a method designed to teach children to become responsible, respectful and autonomous.
The basic principles of positive discipline techniques for parents
1. Children are not bad, but bad behaviors
It is a basic premise of positive discipline techniques that encourages parents to focus on misbehavior, instead of labeling children that they can drag throughout their lives. For example, if your child hits someone else instead of saying “you’re a bad child”, something that will reinforce a negative self-image, you should say: “You have done something wrong, you should not hit the other children”.
2. Zero reproaches, more reflection
When the child does something wrong, the parents’ first reaction is usually to shout and rebuke him, reproaching him for his bad behavior. However, the reproaches only generate frustration, so instead, you should promote reflection. Assume that what is done is done, so the most important thing is to look for the reason and try to repair the damage, avoiding that this behavior is repeated in the future. Ask him why he has done it, ask him to reflect on the consequences of his actions and to apologize for the damage caused.
3. Less negativity, more positivity
Many parents get stuck in reproaches and negative behaviors, but in this way, the child cannot grow. Instead, you should show him how to do things correctly. Think that every time you tell your son: “you cannot hit others”, you are simply imposing a rule, but you do not give him another alternative to resolve conflicts. Of course, it is important that the child knows the rules and limits, but it is also essential that he knows how he can behave.
Therefore, it is essential that you reinforce positive behaviors, such as when you give up his favorite toy or instead of punishment when you get angry; simply move away from the place to calm down. Whenever possible, give different behavioral alternatives, so that the child can choose the one with which he feels most comfortable. The possibility of choosing also allows you to feel that you are in control of the situation, so you will be less likely to succumb to impulsiveness.
4. He can discipline with kindness and respect
He can discipline from love and respect. It is not possible to demand a child to treat the others with amiability and respect if you do not do it yourself and you lose your temper when they behave badly. Therefore, when it comes to discipline make sure you stay calm and try to put yourself in their place. Sometimes a little empathy does not come at all bad because in many occasions we do not realize that we demand too much of the children pretending that they behave like adults. That does not mean excusing bad behaviors, but just correcting them from love and understanding, not from anger and frustration.
5. Less limits but more consistent
As children grow up, they will want to challenge the limits that parents have imposed. In those moments, if they find a gap, they will benefit from it. If your child realizes that one of the parents is more permissive than the other or that when you get too tired from work you allow things that at other times you cannot do, they will take advantage of it and learn to manipulate. Therefore, in the positive discipline, it is very important that there are few rules and limits, but that is applied in a systematic and consistent manner. That does not mean being rigid, but the child must be aware of what the exceptions are. For example, they can let Friday and Saturday go to bed an hour later, but they should know that the rest of the week they should go to bed early so that the next day they can go to school refreshed.