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Positive Parenting

an effective approach to discipline

Children who misbehave often feel scared, nervous and insecure. They need gentle but firm, consistent discipline. Then they will know that they can count on their parents. This will make them feel more secure, and they will calm down.

Here are some ways to provide this sense of security to your children.

1. Keep Your Promises

Avoid making promises you can’t keep. Then your kids will learn that they can count on you. This goes whether your promise is for a treat or for a punishment.

Don’t promise good things unless you are sure that you can come through. And stick with small punishments so that you can follow through on those, too.

Train your children to learn that Yes Means Yes and No Means No.

2. Stop a Problem Quickly

Don’t get into arguments with your child. You are not equals, you are in charge. You also want to avoid losing your temper. When you lose your temper, your child has pushed your buttons, and you have lost control. But your child needs you to be in control, to be in charge. Also, when you lose your temper, you may be tempted to yell, hit, or make promises that you can’t keep (like a punishment that is too big). All these things will just make your child more scared and insecure.

You can avoid losing your temper by stopping a problem quickly, before it gets out of hand. Just tell your child one time what you want. Next, give one warning. Next, give a short time out. After the time out is done, the child still has to do what you say. That’s it. No messing around.

When you stop a problem quickly like this, you don’t have a chance to get frustrated and angry. Then you can handle it in a way you can feel good about.

3. Enjoy Your Child

Some children do bad things because they like to get attention from you. Why not give attention for good behavior instead?

As you become quicker and more effective with your discipline, your child will probably calm down and give you less trouble. Then you will have more time and energy to enjoy your child. Find things to do together that make your child feel special. It could be big things like going to the park or the beach for the day. It could be something small like fixing something together or cooking a meal together.

Remember, discipline and fun all come from the same place: your love and concern for your child.

Where to Next?

The institute provides therapy, training, consultation, information, and resources for those who work with trauma-exposed children, adolescents, and adults. Where would you like to go next?