If you could combine positive parenting and child discipline in a way that would encourage your child to want to behave well without you having to nag, yell or scream at them, wouldn’t that be nice?!? The four steps of positive parenting covered in this article are designed to help you achieve that result, and if implemented well could change your parenting life for the better, starting right now.
But first things first – you may be wondering what positive parenting and child discipline has to do with keeping your children safe online? The answer is EVERYTHING! The most important skill to master in order to keep your children as safe as possible when they’re online is to improve the way you communicate with them and consequently strengthen your relationship. This article is designed to help you do that.
Step One – Decide Upon Positive Parenting Key Rules
Take some time out to think about what sort of behaviours you would like your child to display, and what you consider unacceptable behaviour. Child discipline is not the same as punishment, however it’s still not something you want to be spending too much time on. In order to be effective (so that your child doesn’t just tune out to your nagging tone) it needs to be implemented only when you need it the most. Make a list of all the good and bad child behaviours you can think of, and then pick the three most important good and bad behaviours for you. For example you may come up with a list that looks something like this:
- Be polite and use good manners
- Go to bed on time without fuss
- Put your toys away
- Hitting or hurting people or things
- Speaking rudely
- Ignoring you and other people
You only want three broad key items on your list at first (like hurting people or things), this will be enough to achieve the desired results. Once you have completed the positive parenting process explained here and the behaviours you’ve chosen are being adhered to (at least most of the time), feel free to change the good and bad behaviours on your list if desired.
Step Two – Communicate The Discipline Rules With Your Child
Once you’ve determined the good and bad behaviours, you need to communicate these very clearly with your child. Don’t expect your child to just know what is OK and what is not, it’s up to you to draw the boundaries to help them understand. An important part of child discipline is to understand that a poorly behaved child will only be so for a reason, and it’s your responsibility as a parent to teach your child how to behave. Further tips to help you communicate with your child can be found here. Positive parenting techniques make this process more pleasant for both you and your child.
When And How Should I Talk About Discipline With My Child?
Sit your child down at a suitable time when she is in a good mood and you have her undivided attention, i.e. not when she is tired, distracted or not in the right mood. DO NOT attempt this when the TV is on or she is focussed on playing a game on her I-pad!
Discuss each good and bad behaviour clearly and simply with her, making sure she knows exactly what each one means, and get her to repeat what you’ve said. Give examples of each behaviour so that your child understands what you want – or don’t want – her to do. Explain why you want her to behave in this way and remind her of times she has been well behaved leading to happy times, and other times she has been not so well behaved leading to not so happy times!
How To Use Positive Parenting To Make Your Child Take Ownership Of Her Own Discipline
You need your child to be a part of this process so she will take ownership of it. If she is old enough to read and write, ask her to write the three good and three bad behaviours on a piece of paper, then place it up on the fridge or somewhere that she will see it every day. If she is not old enough to write then of course you will need to do the writing for her.
If she is not yet able to read, you can read the good and bad behaviours to her each morning, perhaps during breakfast so you form a habit of it (habits are easier to keep if carried out at the same time every day), and eventually ask her if she remembers them. Children are like sponges so after a bit of repetition she will memorise the good and bad behaviours for herself and she can tell you what they are.
Step Three – Agree On The Consequences
Part of your child taking ownership of her own child discipline means that she needs to understand that there are consequences that will result due to her actions. In other words, if she behaves well good things will happen (eg she will get a treat), if she doesn’t behave well bad things will happen (she will be disciplined). In order to help your child take ownership of this process for it to be effective, ask her what she thinks the good consequences (treats) and bad consequences (disciplines) should be. The treats should be something she is emotionally attached to and the discipline should be something she really doesn’t want to happen.
Make Positive Parenting Fun
One suggestion is to make up a chart with squares like the days of a calendar, and find a token that can represent your child. Every time she behaves well she can move her token forward on the chart, and every time she behaves badly she will need to move her token backward. There may be small treats when she reaches the end of each line on the chart, and when she reaches the end of the page she gets a big treat – maybe a play day out somewhere fun or a toy she really wants. Make sure the treat is something you are happy to implement.
For children everything is a game, so you can turn this into a behaviour game where she wins or loses depending on her own actions. It’s important that she knows she is the one in control of her outcomes, you are just facilitating the process. This is the difference between your child doing what she’s told because you’ve told her to at the time, and your child naturally behaving in a desirable way.
Positive parenting in this way is teaching your child that she is responsible for her actions and for her results in the game, and that good behaviour leads to fun treats. This gives her more control and will (hopefully) make her want to behave well without you having to nag her.
Step Four – Always Follow Through With Child Discipline
This step is vital in this process, as without it you are wasting your time. Your child needs to understand that you will implement the consequences you have agreed on – no negotiating, no arguments. By being firm but fair you will gain the respect of your child and she will not think she can walk all over you and ignore you – wouldn’t that be nice!
Remember to Reward Good Behaviour
Make sure that if your child is using good manners she is rewarded, good behaviour must always be recognised and praised in order to encourage more of the same. A lot of bad behaviour is fuelled by the need for attention, and if your child doesn’t receive attention for behaving well she may think she needs to behave badly to get the reaction she wants. Children just want time from their parents and shouldn’t have to misbehave to get that quality time.
Child discipline is a key role you have as a parent, and by using positive parenting techniques and implementing these four steps you will be helping your child to behave well on her own initiative. This is really much more fun for her and for you than the alternative of repeating yourself again and again and eventually yelling at her to do something or stop doing something. Life is truly just a game and when you learn and implement these rules of child discipline you will start to enjoy your child much more. Just as importantly, you will be teaching her to form great habits that will take her far in life.