Practicing Positive DisciplineMarch 4, 2020
Research consistently shows that the best way to promote positive behavior and to reduce misbehavior is by practicing positive discipline. Read below for the dos and don’ts:
- DO use positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for teaching good behavior by giving positive feedback about the specific behavior you like. When your son puts his toys in the toy bin, try praising him by saying something like, “I really like the way you picked up your toys and put them away in the toy bin.” This praise will make him more likely to do it again the following day. Attention escalates behavior. Pay attention to the behaviors that you want more of, and try to catch your child being good.
- DON’T use reinforcements for bad behavior
Be careful not to use reinforcements for bad behavior. If you say no to something, but eventually give in to your child’s whining, you’ll teach her that whining is an effective way to get what she wants. Try to be firm and consistent.
- DON’T use excessive praise
Be careful about disingenuous or excessive praise. Try to praise your child for his effort, not his intelligence. Praising your child’s effort teaches them that your approval is tied to how hard they try, which is something your child can control.
- DO use a “body pause” as a negative reinforcement
When you give a body pause, you are using a non-aggressive approach to discipline. A body pause stops the misbehavior immediately and removes your child from the situation. Body pauses should only be used in instances of physical or verbal aggression.
- DON’T get aggressive
Spanking can be a powerful way of getting a child to do what you want in the short term, but as a parent you are modeling aggression. Spanking has also been linked to various negative child outcomes like anger, fear, resentment, and lying.
- DO use effective commands
It is hard to keep track of a string of commands. Try asking your child to do one thing at a time, and don’t phrase your command as a question.
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