Positive Discipline: Don’t worry it’s not another Parenting hack.

In today’s world, we have access to information everywhere! TikTok and Facebook Mom groups all serve as sources to gather information about positive parenting, gentle parenting, and every other parenting buzzword you can think of. This becomes frustrating because, at the end of all the information overload, it’s impossible to digest. You find yourself more confused and frustrated than when you initially started your search.

No worries. I went down the rabbit hole and thankfully found a system that was so easy to incorporate into my home. It resonated with my personal beliefs and aligned with my parenting style. Positive Discipline has been a life changer for my family. Positive Discipline is a model rooted in Adlerian Psychology. The practice eliminates rewards and punishments and focuses on the human need for belonging and significance. The goal is for children and adults to become contributing members of their communities. Parents to remain are both kind and firm with their children. There is also mutual respect between the child and the parents. Instead of punishment discipline is reframed as teaching, and mistakes are learning opportunities.

FIVE CRITERIA of Positive Discipline:

1. Helps children feel a sense of connection. (Belonging and significance)

As humans, we desire to feel important and know that we belong. This is why there is such a strong emphasis on positive family connections. Strong positive family connections lay a stable foundation for children to grow and know that they are loved and supported.

2. Is mutually respectful and encouraging. (Kind and firm at the same time.) This is an important point to make because of the misconception that when using any positive parenting method your child is just allowed to do whatever they want. This is completely false. This misconception is centered around choice. The goal is to first connect and then correct. This means we are not shaming children or blaming them for their bad behavior. However, as parents, we focus on solutions and use misbehavior as teachable moments.

3. Is effective long-term. (Considers what the child is thinking, feeling, learning, and deciding about himself and his world – and what to do in the future to survive or to thrive.) Parenting with the end in mind is key to long-term success. It may seem like a “win” at the moment using disciplinary methods such as yelling or hitting to gain immediate compliance and cooperation. However, those methods are rooted in fear and intimidation. This can harm the future relationship between parent and child. As parents, we play a huge role in who our child is. This can be for the better or the worst.

4. Teaches important social and life skills. (Respect, concern for others, problem-solving, communication, and cooperation as well as the skills to contribute to the home, school, or larger community.)

When a child is misbehaving think about what is the long-term lesson that they can be taught. How we handle these moments is setting the stage for how to behave and respond in life scenarios.

5. Invites children to discover how capable they are. (Encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy.) Contrary to belief Positive Discipline encourages children to feel capable. Nothing is more empowering than knowing you can solve your problems and also have the love and support to make mistakes and seek help when needed.

Long story short there is no secret sauce on how you should raise your child. I truly believe that at the core as parents we are all trying to do our best. To really understand Positive Discipline reframe the way you see “bad behavior”. Don’t look at misbehavior as something your child is doing to you, but more as “what are they trying to tell me below the surface.” In this mind frame it helps you to focus on solutions vs. shaming and criticizing your child. I hope this helps. Please let me know below your thoughts.

-Written by S. Arellano

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