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The Power of Positive Parenting: Tips on Positive Discipline

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No one likes being the parent with a screaming child in the grocery store. It’s okay, we’ve all been there. What do you do next? Discover the power of positive discipline. Research shows that positive guidance and discipline is the most effective way to guide your child’s behavior.

The goal of discipline is to teach good behavior rather than punishment which strives to stop misbehavior. Punishment doesn’t work because it assumes your child is trying to misbehave on purpose rather than exploring their world, and learning to control their impulses and emotions.

Here are some tips on positive discipline.

From prenatal to 12 months, you can’t spoil your baby with too much attention.  

  • Your child needs lots of positive interactions, rather than negative ones to help them feel safe and build a loving bond with you.
  • Go to your child when he cries or fusses. By responding to your child you teach him that you care and he can trust you.

At 12 months, your toddler can be full of inner turmoil during this year of growth and discovery. Realistic expectations support growth, and prevent frustration and power struggles. Here are some tips:

  • Set simple clear rules and stick to them.
  • Follow routines for meals and bedtime.
  • Specifically tell and show your child what you want him to do. “Put your truck on the shelf, it will be safe there. No one will step on it”.
  • Give lots of reminders. Your child cannot remember rules. He may follow a simple instruction when you give it, but won’t remember it the next time.
  • Your toddler predict what will happen next as a result of her actions. So explain to her why something is unsafe.
  • Distract or redirect your child to another activity when they are doing something undesirable. Explain why you are stopping them, and show them something else to do.
  • Give your child lots of praise when he gets it right. He craves attention  from you, and it will help him learn to do things the correct way again.
  • Give your child the words for her feelings. She expresses her feelings in physical ways because she usually does not have the words or other ways to express them. Tell her “You may not hit me, instead tell me ‘Mommy I’m mad’”. This will help her learn to identify and express her emotions in better ways.
  • Plan interesting things for your child to do. A toddler busy playing is less likely to act out.
  • Try not to compare your toddler to other children as an ideal. Learning about different temperament types can help you understand your child.

At 24 months, your child is becoming more independent, exploring his world and testing limits.

Be aware that challenging toddler behavior is normal and not a measure of your child’s “goodness” or a reflection of the care you provide. Here are a few tips to exercise with your toddler.

  • Provide your child lots of encouragement and praise for good behavior.
  • Distract or redirect your child to another activity when they are doing something undesirable. Explain why you are stopping them and show them something else to do.
  • Instead of just saying no, tell him what you’d like him to do do instead.
  • Offer your child real choices, for example “It’s naptime now, would you like to take your bear or you doll to nap with you” or “It’s cold out today, would you like to wear your coat or your sweater?”
  • Use natural or logical consequences. Natural consequences happen naturally because of a behavior. If your child won’t eat lunch they will be hungry until the next regular meal time. Logical consequences are related to the behavior but used when there is no natural consequence or it’s too harsh or unsafe, a child running near the street is taken inside as a consequence.
  • Be prompt and consistent, and follow through with fair and logical consequences.
  • Ignore misbehavior aimed at getting your attention.
  • If unwanted behavior persists or gets dangerous or aggressive. Remove the child from the situation and provide them some time to cool down.

Tantrums are your child’s way of blowing off steam and getting your attention. Don’t ignore tantrums; rather, show your child better, more appropriate ways of communicating. Here’s how:

  1. Identify triggers. Do they occur when he’s tired or hungry? Watch for the signals that let you know a tantrum is coming. Stopping a tantrum before it starts is the best policy.
  2. Stay calm. Children take their cues from their caregivers’ words and body language. With your body language, tell your child: “It’s OK. I’m here for you, and I love you no matter what.”
  3. Pay close attention. Tantrums often occur when toddlers are striving to be independent and get frustrated when they are not able to communicate or complete a task. Watch carefully, and when you see him about to get frustrated, go to him and help him solve the problem.
  4. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Toddler tantrums can be divided into big deals and small stuff. For example, staying put in a car seat when the car is moving is a big deal. On the other hand, a toddler who wants to wear her sandals, and you want her to wear her sneakers? Small stuff. Try avoiding tantrums by sticking to your guns on the big deals and not sweating the small stuff.
  5. Hug it out. Try holding your child during a tantrum, and hug her until she regains control. Sometimes a strong, loving hug is all it takes to calm a child having a tantrum.
  6. Remove your child from the situation to allow them to calm down. Sometimes they need you to take a “time-out” with them to help them learn to calm down. Try reminding them to take a deep breath, counting out loud, or blowing pretend bubbles.

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