Positive discipline is essentially when you focus on your child's behaviors and choices as good or bad and reward the good behaviors. There is no such thing as a "bad" kid when it comes to positive discipline, and a lot of schools and parents are taking on this way of rearing, raising, and helping kids grow.
But still, there are the naysayers — especially parents of the previous generation — who say that perhaps we are all "too soft" on our kids with this positive parenting nonsense. To the older generation, this is us going too easy on our kids.
"Back in my day, kids behaved the right way!"
"A good spanking got you and your siblings to behave!"
Although each generation of parents tends to have its own unique method of parenting, for some reason the previous generations seem to believe that children can't learn to behave unless they are frightened to death or scared. And perhaps for some kids, the scare tactic approach works. For me it didn't, and for many other kids it doesn't work (in my opinion). I truly think that for positive parenting skeptics, they ought to open their minds to the idea that perhaps children can learn to make great choices without being afraid. That rewarding good choices and focusing on the positives of each individual child can result in a healthy, strong adult.
Need more evidence? Read through for eight reasons positive disciplining is still disciplining.
1. Focusing on the Bad Brings on the Bad; Doing the Opposite Brings on the Good!
Think about it logically. When you focus on something bad that happens to you, the rest of the day seems worse. Do you really think it's any different in regard to behavior? If you focus on all of the bad things your kid does, I can guarantee you your child will do more bad things. Why? Well, he or she will grow to assume that he or she is only capable of doing bad things and therefore is not a worthy person.
When you place your standards and expectations of someone low, he or she is bound to match those standards.
Positive discipline works because it teaches a child that he or she has so much worth and is capable of doing great things. A child who has self-worth is a happy and well-behaved child most of the time.
2. Fear Teaches Kids to Retreat or Fight
If you scream at someone, what happens? The person typically either screams back, runs away, or possibly hits.
Anger only begets anger. Or worse, retreat. Your child will indeed fear you if that's what you want, but how does fear teach a child to develop self-esteem and monitor his or her own actions later in life? Simply with fear. There is a difference between fear and respect.
Respect makes you want to honor a person, even if you don't always agree with him or her. Fear makes you want to avoid, scare, or protect yourself from someone.
Scaring kids into behaving doesn't mean they will become a good adult as time goes on! Positive discipline allows parents, teachers, and caregivers to reinforce good behaviors, extinguish bad behaviors, and maintain respect without weighing on fear to do the job.
The other factor is eventually fear can turn into one of two things: complete avoidance or complete rebellion.
What happens as your child grows older and, in some cases, bigger than you? All of your fear tactics will hold a lot less power as your child grows into a teen. And it would be worse if your child was so afraid of you that in the long run, he or she doesn't turn to you when there are problems and issues in his or her life.
3. Positive Discipline Does Not Reward Bad Behavior
If you shower a kid with negative attention most of the time, that kid is going to behave badly in order to get your focus. When a teacher or caregiver uses positive discipline, the good behaviors have center stage. When you give a child a lot of attention for being good, there is a reward for them to repeat these great choices.
4. Focusing on the Behavior — Not the Child — Teaches Kids to Work on Their Choices
It's not fun feeling like you "messed" up or are not liked or respected. When you use language that focuses on children's choices and not who they are intrinsically as people, you give kids the chance to focus on their actions. The reality is we all have to make a choice each second of each day. So if we and our children feel as though we have opportunities to tweak and build on the choices that we have made, we can then feel good about ourselves in the learning process!
Letting children know that while you love them, you don't always love their choices also lets them feel loved for who they are — imperfect and flawed! If you tell a child she's "bad," do you truly think she will work hard on her choices to change, or will see feel defeated or like a bad person?
5. Positive Discipline Can Teach Logic and Reasoning
If you're talking to a little one about his choices, chances are he will begin to understand the cause and effect relationship between his choices. The more good feedback you can give your child, the better.
6. Cracking the Whip and Getting Kids to Behave at Will Doesn't Create Independent Thinkers
If your child is frightened into behaving or intimidated into behaving, he or she is being given a blueprint for how to behave — always. That child is not given a choice essentially to make choices and learn right from wrong the old-fashioned way: trial and error. Although you want your kids to respect you, fear will only allow a child to behave in a way that reduces him to anxiety.
7. Rewarding Someone For a Good Choice Is a Great Thing For People of All Ages
No one needs a reward every minute of every day — that would keep anyone from having intrinsic motivation — but everyone likes a reward now and then! When someone notices your child being good, whether it's you or a teacher, to reward them for making the right choice is a form of discipline. It's a reassurance and a notification that this choice was indeed a great choice to make.
8. Ignoring or Giving a Consequence For Negative Behaviors Is Discipline, Minus the Fear
If you have ever ignored your child's bad choice — like whining, for example — in order to get him or her to stop, this is a form of positive parenting discipline. In my opinion, it works way better than yelling at the kid to stop.
Giving a child a consequence for a poor choice is also a form of discipline, although, yes, natural consequences that stem from the bad choice itself are sometimes a more powerful discipline tool. It's also much better than using big, bad fear to get your child to never do that again.
Why? Because like I said before, when your child isn't around you — or stops fearing you — the bad choices will begin again.