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Hilal Her

Positive Techniques for Disciplining Children

October 2023

Research in the area of parent-child relationship reveals that each child in the family shares a unique relationship with their parent. Since children are born with an outward orientation for survival, parents or primary caregivers have the deepest influence in shaping the blueprint for how the child relates with their self and others. 

Positive parenting is deciding the safe range of choices that will be accessible for the child, and then allowing children to express and explore themselves with those choices. This ensures not only a parent-child relationship that fosters trust both ways, but also nurtures the unique personality of each child. Such a blueprint shapes the child to develop into a human who curiously explores their environment and makes choices that align with their personal values. 
Raising a child is a difficult endeavor. Disciplining a child is critical if you want your youngster to grow up to be a good individual. However, you do not have to spank or punish your child to discipline them; you can be kind and patient while disciplining them. Positive discipline tactics are the most effective in order to discipline your child while maintaining a positive relationship with them. Following are some of the techniques that parents can employ to build a positive parenting practice.  
Model Boundaries
Establishing clear boundaries is critical for effective discipline. Children must understand what is expected of them and what behaviors are not acceptable. Show them what they can do, what they cannot do, and why. Keep the explanations short and simple, repeat this often and in various settings. Consistency mimics permanence. Children should learn about having certain human or practical limitations in any given situation, and to manage their actions accordingly. For example, teaching them certain foods are off limits at night, may involve not giving them that food even if you have guests over for dinner. With time, their understanding and practice of boundaries will evolve into other social and personal domains. 
Sudden Changes and Demands
Sudden changes and demands can lead to children developing a harsh association between parent’s instructions and feeling scared; share your plans with them. It is vital to communicate to children that change will happen, however it does not always have to be difficult. Children need to learn by experience that their parents will calmly walk them through changing instructions to make it easy and even fun for them. Preparing their minds to receive the next change can prime them to expect it and make them more confident in navigating it. For example, including children in preparing for bedtime after playtime.    
Befriend Feelings
Children communicate best with their feelings. At the same time, they are entirely dependent on their adults to teach them how to regulate their feelings. For example, while the child throws a tantrum over a seemingly small matter, it is the parent’s role to recognize that it is an emotional problem and not an intellectual one. It is best for the parent to show calm and firm presence and try to make the child understand that feelings are not to be afraid of and help them out in embracing their emotions in a healthy manner. 
Be Firm in Values and Generous in Loving
Being kind and loving is often mistaken for being permissive to the child’s every whim; this is not true. Even though children may throw tantrums or nag to get their way, they are actually in need of firm grounding in such moments. Of course, children do not have the cognitive ability like adults to communicate their need in a sophisticated manner, so they resort to the expressions that they do have. Explain the consequences calmly and firmly if they do not behave. Tell them, for example, that if they do not pick up their toys, you will put them away for the remainder of the day. Prepare to take action immediately. Do not cave in by returning them after a few minutes.
Distract Creatively
When your youngster is being difficult, distract them with a more positive activity. You can successfully divert their energy towards positive behavior when you distract them towards something else by changing the topic, introducing a game, leading them into another room, or going for a walk.
Timing is also crucial. Distraction is also about spotting when things are about to go wrong and taking action. Being mindful of when your child is starting to become fidgety, irritable or annoyed, or when two siblings are eyeing the same toy, can help diffuse a potential situation before it becomes one.
Redirection Over Shaming
Remarks like, “Bad kids behave like this, are you a bad kid? Why can’t you follow a simple instruction?” induce shame, which ultimately wounds self-esteem, even if the behavior is corrected at the time. Parents can practice curiosity and positive directional language, which can give children something to focus on instead. For example, “Is there something bothering you, which is making you act this way? I see that you are angry, but you cannot hit your friend. Let’s try to come up with a different way to express your anger.” Such language nurtures sentiments of pride, honor, and value driven action from an early age.   
Positive Reinforcement
Praise good behavior whenever possible. According to research, when children are rewarded for doing something right, such as following a rule or sharing a toy, they are more likely to repeat the behavior. When using positive reinforcement, it is more effective to praise the specific act of good behavior. For example, building a nighttime routine to shower and clean-up, by helping them see how cozy it makes them for sleep, how energized they wake up for play the next morning is using positive reinforcement, which their own experience offers them naturally. Bringing their focus to their own inner compass of natural needs and choices has direct impact on their life and teaches them about making better decisions for themselves. Positive reinforcement can also be an effective way to motivate your child to be responsible, do their chores, get along with their siblings, or complete their homework assignments without arguing.
Social Skills
Social skills do not come naturally to children. Children do not need to be taught how to learn, but they do require direction in social situations. They may naturally respect you as their primary caregiver, and they may intuitively understand the concept of dignity, but they may not yet know how to demonstrate this respect in words and actions. Whenever possible, remind children that a person who shows respect to others through compassion is much more likely to be welcomed everywhere they go. Social skills will assist youngsters in making friends, resolving disagreements, adapting to new situations, and communicating with teachers and other adults. Show them that you look for their input in decision making, and build interactions where they experience how they also add value in the spaces that they are a part of. 
Use Reflection Time, Help Them Explore Their Mind
When children experience emotions and act in ways that may be frustrating for parents, they are likely over-stimulated internally, and are unable to engage with anyone who tries to communicate with them. Removing them from such environments and giving them a quiet space in presence of a calm adult can steady them. Only when the feelings have soothed, the child should be facilitated to reflect on what happened, what they wanted from the situation, if they got it, if there is a calmer way to get what they want, if the parent can do something to help.
Setting clear and age-appropriate standards while allowing room for mistakes and learning opportunities is what positive discipline entails. Rather than focusing exclusively on what a child did wrong, it focuses on teaching them what they can do differently in the future. Positive discipline fosters a nurturing and supportive environment in which children feel empowered, valued, and capable of making positive choices. It is a method of guiding children towards responsible behavior and assisting them in developing essential life skills that will benefit them in the long run. HH

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