No, sorry, it’s actually not. What is the best way to discipline children? While there doesn’t really seem to be an easy answer for this, there is! That answer is, discipline children… With love! Much love! I’ve tried a few different ideas. Some with success, some without. All of my discipline options for my children has been done because I love them. Unfortunately not all of them were done WITH love.
What do you mean?
There have been a myriad of studies done on the proper ways to discipline children. Positive Discipline, Gentle Discipline, Boundary-Based Discipline, Behavior Modification, Emotion Coaching. Just to name a few… Most of the studies done on the proper way to teach children right from wrong are in agreement that it is NOT supposed to be done as punishment. It is supposed to be done in ways to teach them. Done with love.
Some punishment style discipline methods are categorized as Punitive, Corrective, or Autocratic. These include measures such as corners, soap in the mouth, spankings. The 10 Discipline Don’ts picture from Parents.com to the side is a great list of examples. I have to admit to using soap for lying and foul words. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of love in my manner as I did so. Again, I stress, I love my children, I want them to be better people. To grow up knowing right from wrong. I want them to grow up choosing the right. Unfortunately, I just didn’t always remember to ACT with love when they weren’t doing as I would have them do.
I find it is SO much easier to teach right from wrong using the more correct Positive Disciplines instead of negative punishments. Some examples of these include redirection, time-outs, sentence writing, and the energy system.
A great example of these methods is directing toddlers’ attention elsewhere. For example, when a younger child is trying to get into your refrigerator, you gently take them by the hand and walk them over to an area of the kitchen set up for their play. Or perhaps hand them a favorite toy to play with instead. All the while loving them as you tell them that playing with the refrigerator is not the right choice. This can be done with older children, but they tend to catch on fast…
As they got older, I admit, corners were a favorite time out discipline aid. However, how effective and appropriate is this? It can be both a negative punishment, and a positive discipline, depending on how you do it. If you’re able to do it lovingly, explaining it is simply a way for them to get their temper back under control, or something similar, perhaps it can be an effective positive tool for teaching them right from wrong. But, if it’s done with anger? To simply get them out of the way? Not such a good idea. When we have anger in our voice or manner, we are NOT disciplining with love.
Previously, another favorite form of discipline was sentence writing. My Perfection wrote a LOT of sentences in her youth. And she has beautiful handwriting. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not! It can be a positive way to discipline children. It teaches them fine motor control, spelling, proper sentence structure. Sentences can be written in ways to encourage the behavior we wish from them. Sadly it can also lead to the children hating to write. This all depends upon your child.
Recently, Perfection and Handyman are taking a new step in positive parenting. An ‘Energy System’. As such, they are often exhausted. As the children have ‘drained’ all of their parents’ ‘energy’ by not choosing the right. The children have a list of tasks available to replenish Mom and Dad’s energy. They can choose to do them, or not, but draining all their parents’ energy means they have no energy left to spend on what their children want from them. For those of you in the Bethel School District, in Washington State, you can look into this class here.
Some Other Resources to Discipline Children Positively
- Positive Parenting Solutions
- Positive Parenting
- CDC – Child Development
- Child Care Aware
- Parents – Positive Parenting
All in all, I think as long as we are LOVING our children – remember, there can be NO anger (as anger and love cannot co-exist side by side) – while disciplining our children, we can’t really go wrong.