Positive discipline

Connection comes before correction. The goal of positive discipline is to teach by first creating safe relationships with children. 

Positive discipline promotes more skillful behaviours through a strong relationship with the child, active listening, empathy and validation. It does not try to manage problem behaviours through carrots and sticks. It: 

  • Helps children feel a sense of connection: Creates belonging and significance.
  • Is mutually respectful and encouraging:  Is kind and firm at the same time. 
  • Is effective in the long-term: Considers what the children are thinking and feeling, learning and deciding about themselves, their world and what to do to survive and thrive.
  • Teaches important social skills: Leads to cooperation, respect, concern for others
  • Invites children to discover their own capacities: Encourages constructive use of personal power and autonomy. 

Here are some tips various experts suggest: 

➤ Wait until you are calm before having a problem-solving discussion with the child. This gives you  some time for reflection and you are modelling this as an important skill for the child. 

➤ Show respect by listening to and acknowledging the child’s feelings. This also helps build connection. 

➤ Reassure the child that you care.

➤ Use ‘I’ Statements instead of ‘you’ statements. This is less critical and the child will feel less defensive. “I see there is a lot of water on the floor” rather than “You made a mess with water again”. 

➤ Ask the child to identify how what happened might have affected others. Help him or her to come up with a plan for reconciliation if others were hurt or there was damage to property.