If you read our last blog, you read about our three tips to positive discipline. As promised, we are here to talk about four more tips, given by Dr. Katharine C. Kersey, the author of “The 101s: A Guide to Positive Discipline, and Jim Fay, the founder of the organization Love and Logic.
1. Give attention To The Good Behavior and Ignore The Bad
When children act out, it may be because they are seeking attention from their parents. So, sometimes ignoring the bad behavior and giving attention to the good behavior is an effective way to get your children to behave well. Kersey calls this the “Rain on the grass, not on the weeds” principle. If your child is throwing an obnoxious tantrum, play deaf or walk to another room. Your child will learn that that behavior will not gain the attention they are seeking. Show them that their good behavior catches your attention.
2. Redirect Bad Behavior To Positive Discipline
Children who constantly hear “no” or “don’t” tend to eventually tune those directives out. Instead of telling your child what not to do all the time, Kersey recommends offering an alternative behavior to your children. For instance, if your child is talking loud at the library, tell them to play the “quiet game” to see who can whisper longer. If they are acting out at the store, make them push the grocery cart.
3. Exploit the “energy drain”
Raising children can be draining, especially on those days when your children decide to act out. Fay says you can use your fatigue to your advantage. Fay calls this the “energy drain” principle. An example would be defusing a sibling fight by saying “Wow, you need to take that fight with your brother somewhere else, because listening to that could cause me a big energy drain, and I don’t think I’ll have the energy to take you to the park after dinner.”
4. Don’t Bribe Your Children
I’m sure every parent has been tempted to give their child a cookie to be quiet in church or give them a Snickers bar to behave well at an outing. Fay warns against bribing because it might send the wrong message. What kids hear when we bribe them is “‘You don’t want to be very good and you have to be paid off,’” says Fay.
Instead, Fay says, “the best reward for a kid is time with the parents.” Kersey agrees that quality time is key to a happy, well-behaved child. She recommends that each parent spend at least 15 minutes one-on-one connecting with a child every day. “Do something your child wants to do [during that time],” says Kersey. “Whisper in their ear how wonderful they are, how much you love them. … It’s the best investment you can make in your child.”