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Raising a child is not an easy task. When you become parents, you realise that you can’t always be lenient with your child. Disciplining a child is extremely important if you want your little one to grow up to a good human being. However, you don’t have to spank or punish your child in order to discipline him, (unfortunately, there are many parents who still use this technique) you can be polite and gentle, and yet discipline him. The best way to discipline your child while still nourishing a good relationship with him is by using positive discipline techniques.
What Is Positive Discipline and Why Is it Important?
In positive discipline, the positive behaviour is given more attention than the negative one. Through positive discipline methods, children can be taught how to control themselves and to take responsibility for their actions. Positive discipline method can also be used to make kids aware of how their behaviour can affect them and other people as well. Positive discipline is very important for a child as it can make him aware of the boundaries that he is not supposed to cross. It can also teach him how to control his emotions. Children feel secure and protected when they have boundaries and limitations. It gives them a safe place to make mistakes and learn how to navigate life.
When Can You Practise Positive Discipline Techniques for Your Child?
You can start disciplining your child from early on. If your little one drops his toy and starts crying, you can always gently tell him to stop crying and show him that all he needs to do is to pick it up. This will teach him to do things on his own, instead of depending someone or giving in to his emotions. To teach your child about positive discipline, let him reach an age where he understands things, however, you can start early, i.e., when he turns 1.
Positive Discipline Strategies That Every Parent Must Know of
Here are some positive discipline methods that you should try to discipline your child:
1. No Bad Kids, Only Bad Behaviour
If your child misbehaves by hitting another child, rather than calling him ‘naughty boy or bad boy’, tell him his action was bad. You can politely say, “You should not hit others and apologize for your actions.” This way your kid will learn he needs to change his behaviour.
2. Show Him How to Behave
If you notice that your child is about to do something wrong, rather than simply saying, “Don’t do that!”, tell him what he should do instead. Teach your kid how to behave properly by showing him the right way to behave.
3. Be Firm but Empathetic
Showing empathy is a great way to make your child see that you understand how he feels, but he still needs to behave the right way. For example, if your child says, ‘He started it first! He won’t share the ball.’ You can respond with, ‘I understand that you really want to play with the ball and that he won’t give it to you, but hitting the other boy is not the correct way to get it.” Yes, your little one will not be convinced but you will have to repeat yourself many times if you want to change his behaviour to good. Be patient with your child and do not lose your temper.
4. Introduce Time-Outs
Time-outs are more like a cooling off period for your child where he can introspect his behaviour (i.e. if he has misbehaved). However, as a parent, you need to remind him that time-out is not a punishment. The best way to go about this is to set up a chair at a secluded place where your child can sit for a while and think about his activities and behaviour. Do not leave him like this for more than five minutes at a time.
5. Offer Choices
This will give your child a feeling of control and won’t make him feel like you are always telling him what to do. If your child has hit someone else, you can offer two choices. For example, “Do you want to apologize for hitting or would you like to go into time-out until you calm down?”
6. Turn Mistakes Into Lessons
If your child snatches a toy from someone else, you can also use past experiences to help him understand why he should not do it. For example, you can say, “Do you remember when your friend snatched the toy you were playing with? It made you feel very bad, didn’t it? When you take something from someone, it makes them feel the same way.” Using this approach will help your child understand the emotions of his playmates and he will grow into a kind and compassionate person.
7. Set Boundaries and Expectations
If your child loves to play, that is great, but you need to set firm rules about playtime. For example, your child can play after finishing his homework, or he can have ice cream after he finishes all his vegetables.
8. Don’t Order
Rather than ordering or telling your child what to do, you can learn to adopt new ways of getting him to do what you want. For example, if your child has left his clothes on the bed without folding them, you can always ask “Where are we supposed to put our clothes?” instead of “Put your clothes in the wardrobe!”
9. Face the Consequences
If your child is refusing to listen to you and is still misbehaving, you can make him face the consequences of his bad behaviour. For example, if your child likes to watch a certain show, taking away that privilege on the day of misbehaviour can prove effective. However, don’t be rude to your child.
10. Reward Good Behaviour
Good behaviour should always be rewarded as it can encourage your child to keep behaving in that manner. Rewarding your child should not be confused with bribing your child. If you try to motivate your child by offering a reward if he behaves well, this is a bribe. Bribing children teaches them to be manipulative; if you continue bribing them, they will only do what you want if you give them something for it. So avoid that but do reward him when he does something good.
Children can be stubborn and test your patience. But as a parent, it is your responsibility to teach them the correct way to behave. By remaining consistent and firm in your positive discipline, your child will soon learn how to behave, and you will not need to resort to spanking or yelling.