Just what is Positive Discipline? And why is it so important? To discipline well, should we make children feel worse first?
“Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse? Think of the last time you felt humiliated or treated unfairly. Did you feel like cooperating or doing better?” from Jane Nelson in her book Positive Discipline.
WOW, what a concept!!! How radical to think about childrearing in these terms!!!
Our goal in disciplining our children is to get them to do better: have better behavior, get along better with siblings, do their chores and/or homework better, or even do a better job of stopping bad behavior when we tell them to stop! And, we want our children to learn to do these things not only better, but faster, too.
So, how do we work with our children to get these things to happen?
- First, we need to be sure our child feels loved unconditionally – no matter his/her behavior.
- Then, we need to develop our skills at being encouraging.
- Next, we need to be sure we are working towards our long-term parenting goals. Is your relationship with your child getting better or worse?
- Ask what your child is learning about being respectful, caring for others, solving problems and cooperating? Every time we discipline, our child is learning something.
- Lastly, we need to be empowering our child all along the way to make good decisions and to help our child discover just how capable he/she is.
Positive Discipline is a respectful way for parents to work with their children. It is based upon the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The research shows that when parents are able to use positive parenting tools (also known as the authoritative parenting style), the children will do better: they do better academically, have better friendships, and do better at delaying gratification. Also, when parents use positive parenting, their children are the least likely to engage in binge drinking. And, parents who use positive parenting strategies have children who are less likely to smoke and to be overweight. The research:
- Parenting and Achievement motivation: http://www.anselm.edu/internet/psych/theses/2004/champney/intro.html
- Parenting styles, driving and seat belt use/safety behaviors: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/4/1040.full
- The influence of parenting style on cigarette usage, recreational drug and alcohol use: http://hubpages.com/hub/Parenting-Styles-Cigarette-Smoking-Recreational-Drugs-and-Alcohol-Use-Teenagers
- Permissive parenting linked to alcohol use: http://psychology.about.com/od/childcare/f/permissive-parenting.htm
- MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving): http://www.madd.org/underage-drinking/the-power-of-parents/
- Parenting style and overweight children: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20060605/does-parenting-style-up-kids-weight?page=2
Through Positive Discipline we can learn what else we can do to manage our children and to improve our family relationships.