Positive parenting techniques and strategies include setting clear limits, being consistent and using logical consequences. They also emphasize teaching appropriate behaviors.
Kids raised with this approach don’t have power struggles, whining or meltdowns and enjoy a stronger parent-child relationship. They also have higher self-esteem and are more resilient. Discipline without threats, bribes or yelling.
1. Acknowledge Your Child’s Misbehavior
Rather than punishing children for misbehaving, it’s better to address the underlying causes. Children often misbehave as a way to meet their needs, like feeling loved and cared for.
Rewarding positive behavior and ignoring undesirable behaviors is more effective than using punishment. Using a calm voice and addressing the problem away from the moment can also be helpful in preventing undesirable behavior from occurring again.
Some children’s revengeful behavior can be difficult to handle, but it can be changed by focusing on positive emotions such as pride and self-esteem. Teaching kids healthy ways to express their feelings will improve their social skills and reduce aggression (McDougal et al 2022). Also, replacing negative attempts at control with positive guidance encourages children to seek out alternatives to revengeful behavior.
2. Communicate Your Expectations
Clearly communicating your expectations can help your child understand what is expected of them. If you want your child to stop scribbling on the walls, for example, be clear that they will be asked to leave their bedroom if they continue.
Be sure to communicate these expectations calmly, respectfully and consistently. Harsh discipline is not helpful to children.
When possible, try to find the reason behind your child’s misbehavior. Perhaps they are hungry or tired or experiencing difficulty at school. Understanding the root cause will help you show empathy for them and respond with kindness. This will also make them more likely to listen to your next request.
3. Redirect Your Child’s Behavior
A big part of positive parenting is redirecting children’s behavior away from what you don’t want them to do. This strategy can help you avoid a power struggle while teaching kids other coping skills and ways to deal with their emotions.
This approach also helps prevent behaviors from escalating, which is often a problem with other discipline techniques. For example, instead of saying “no jumping on the couch” you can say “let’s play with the soft ball.”
This works best when it is done early and before your child is too dysregulated or close to melting down. You can also offer alternatives to the negative behavior, such as playing with a different activity or taking them to another area of the house.
4. Offer Choices
Often, kids misbehave for reasons beyond their control. Rather than punishing their negative behavior, focus on the cause of their misbehavior.
For example, if your child refuses to wear rain boots, explain that if they do not put them on their feet when it is raining, they will get wet. This is a natural consequence that will teach them to make good choices.
Attempting to execute any parenting strategy when you are frustrated, upset, or angry is ineffective (Parenting for the Brain, 2021). When your child’s behavior escalates into a power struggle, walk away and take a few deep breaths to calm down before returning.
5. Be Prepared for Trouble
If you have children who are spirited, positive parenting techniques can help them to feel motivated and encouraged while teaching them right from wrong. Research has shown that children of positive parents have better school performance and self-esteem.
Punishment is often counterproductive because it encourages resentment and rebellion, and it doesn’t teach children good behavior. Instead, try to anticipate and prevent undesirable behaviours by talking to your children about their actions away from the situation.
Offer alternatives when you can, such as a snack, game, or activity. Redirect their attention when they are misbehaving by offering activities that promote emotional regulation and cognitive thinking skills (like science projects, nature walks, blanket tents, or strategic humor). This can help them learn to self-regulate.
6. Have Faith in Your Child’s Future
When parents replace negative attempts to control kids with positive guidance, they encourage children’s empathy and emotional stability (Neppl et al 2020). Positive discipline techniques are both kind and firm.
Use strategies like redirection and selective ignoring to nip bad behavior in the bud without resorting to threats, bribes, or punishment. It’s also helpful to discuss undesirable behaviors with your child away from the instigating situation or place, to give both of you time to calm down and reconnect. Try to offer alternatives when a tantrum occurs, such as deep breathing or giving a hug. This will help your child learn to regulate their emotions without your intervention.