There are many sayings that confirm the importance of positive discipline with children. “You get more bees with honey than with vinegar,” and “the carrot works as well as the stick” suggest to us that a system of discipline is more effective when it uses rewards or positive discipline, rather than sanctions, or negative discipline.
One way to use positive discipline is to view misbehavior differently. When children misbehave, you should try to see it as an opportunity to teach them acceptable or good behavior, rather than as an opportunity to fix bad behavior. In addition, you need to look at misbehavior as, in some way or another, your child’s way of trying to communicate certain needs or to express themselves.
The most important positive way to discipline children is reflected in another old saying, “do as I do.” One of the most powerful tools at the parent’s disposal is tie ability to model good behavior for their child. Children are constantly watching adults, and trying to compy their language, their tone of voice, their manners, and their actions. By modeling good behavior when the children are not misbehaving, we can positively encourage them in their behavior.
Being respectful to your children is another way to positively discipline them. Make eye contact when talking to children. Get down to their level, rather than talking at them from a distance. When you do talk to your child about discipline, tell them what it is that you want them to do. Rather than focusing on the negative behavior, tell them what the right behavior is. Don’t tell them not to bounce the ball in the house; instead, tell them that the ball will bounce better when it is outside.
Finally, empathy is a great tool in positively disciplining children. Learn to listen to what they are saying, and feel what they are feeling. Conversely, help them to understand how others feel. Explain, for example, that when your son pulls his sister’s hair, it feels bad, like the time your son accidentally fell on the sidewalk. By being empathetic and encouraging empathy, you can positively discipline your child.