Parenting isn't easy. At times, kids behave in a way that blows their parents' top off and makes them lose control. To avoid these kinds of situations, parents should find specific strategies to use when their children misbehave. And it seems that peaceful (or positive) parenting strategies are the best because using them doesn't only keep the child mentally and emotionally healthy, but also helps them understand what's right or wrong, and, most importantly, why.
Parents shouldn't misunderstand positive parenting techniques. Using them doesn't mean spoiling a child and letting them do whatever they want. Instead, peaceful discipline is about upbringing a child without resorting to shame or fear and forcing them to do something. It's also about demonstrating to the child how they should behave, instead of telling how they shouldn't. It's a powerful tool that helps create a special bond between the child and the parent.
If parents use peaceful discipline strategies wisely, they will help their child grow into a kind, compassionate, generous, and polite person, who will know perfectly well how to behave appropriately, how to express their emotions, and how to control them.
Let's see what these positive parenting strategies are and try to apply them every day!
20 Role Modeling
For the most part, kids don't learn from the things they hear from us, but from what they see us doing. This is why role modeling is an important part of the upbringing process. For example, when we want the child to be kind and generous, we need to demonstrate kind and generous behavior ourselves. When we show them how persistent we are in achieving our goals, we teach them not to scream and shout to achieve theirs, but also persevere in their endeavors.
Remember that your kids watch you every day and model their behavior after yours. So make sure that you send them a right message with your actions and expect them to repeat what you're doing.
19 Encouraging Curiosity
All kids are curious. It's their nature. The whole world that has become habitual to you is completely new to them. For this reason, they want to know everything about anything. This means they ask so many questions and try to touch everything they see.
Don't get upset or annoyed by this kind of behavior. Encourage their curiosity and answer all their questions, even though they might seem silly. Also, try not to say "no" to their curious habits and don't reprimand your child for touching things around the house. Make sure that all dangerous objects and places are baby-proofed and allow your kid to examine the environment they live in.
18 Creating A Peaceful Environment
Don't restrict your child's space by forbidding them to do numerous things around the house. After all, it's their house as well, and they need to have a certain degree of freedom there.
Of course, it doesn't mean that you should allow your child to pull out all the drawers around the house and take everything out of them. It means that they need to have access only to the things they're allowed to touch. For example, if you told your child once or twice not to pull everything out of your drawers, don't keep on saying this and get upset if they do it again and again. Just help your child stop opening the drawer by installing latches, for example. Stop it before happens.
17 Providing Rewards
Create a formal reward system for your child. For example, allow them to eat dessert only if they ate their lunch. But don't tell them something like "You won't get dessert unless you eat your veggies." It's better to say, "Eat your veggies and you'll get dessert." You see, the meaning is completely the same, but the wording is different and it sounds much more positive for the child. Now they don't feel like they're going to be punished for not eating their veggies. They feel like they'll be rewarded for eating them.
Besides, if your child fails to get their reward for some reason, tell them that they shouldn't be upset about it and just try again.
16 Ignoring Bad Behavior
Some kids act out because they think that it'll help them get what they need. Many professionals say to never encourage this kind of behavior. You also don't want to punish your child for it. For example, if they throw a tantrum over your refusal to buy them a new toy, just ignore it. Pretend that you don't see or hear them.
Or, if your child plays with your magazines and you know that they're going to spoil it, don't reprimand them every time for it. Just turn a blind eye to it once in a while. Your child's mental health is much more precious than some magazines, right?
Of course, you shouldn't use this tactic every day, because it won't solve all behavioral issues. But it works amazingly well with some minor problems, so use it from time to time.
15 Preventing Behaviors Before They Occur
You spend every day with your child, so it shouldn't be hard for you to look into their behavioral habits. Just be attentive and notice when your kid demonstrates the behavior you don't like. Do they do it when they're hungry? Do any environmental factors, like the weather being too hot or too cold, or noisy environments, affect them? Do they tend to throw tantrums in the presence of certain people? Or, perhaps, they're just tired and want to sleep?
After making this small investigation, you'll be able to notice why your kid's behavior changes and you'll learn to predict and prevent it before it even occurs. Eliminate the trigger before it occurs.
14 Setting Limits
All children need to know the limitations to their behaviors and parents are the people who have to teach them what's appropriate and what's not. For example, a child doesn't know that it's bad to pull a cat by the tail, and we need to not only tell them that but also physically stop them from doing it.
First of all, you should set limitations on dangerous behaviors, such as running on the road. Secondly, it's important to explain to the child that certain kinds of public behavior are bad (such as pulling dirt out of potted plants in a shopping mall).
When you're teaching limitations to your child, remember to do it in a calm, clear, and straightforward tone. Avoid being ambiguous, because you need your child to understand that you don't want this behavior to repeat.
13 Using Positive Language
Negative language affects children greatly because it's harder for them to understand the discipline that's worded negatively. Putting it simply, if you tell your toddler not to do something, they'll not only need to figure out why they shouldn't do it but also what they should do instead. It's too much for a kid. Besides, negative language is discouraging and makes the child feel like they always do something wrong.
So you should avoid using negative language and replace it with positive affirmations. For example, instead of "Don't run," you can say "Walk, please." Instead of "Stop yelling," you can say "Speak quietly, please." Instead of "Don't hit," try "Be gentle, please."
See the difference?
12 Active Listening
Active listening is important in any kind of relationship, and in a child-parent relationship, it's a key component as well. If you listen to your child attentively, you create a special bond between you two. You make your relationship more solid. Your child realizes that what they're saying is important for you and it helps them understand that they can always come to you for support.
Remember that when you're actively listening to your child's words, you mustn't judge or evaluate them. Accept your child's opinion and help them figure out whether they're right or wrong themselves.
Besides, if you actively listen to your child, you teach them to do the same in conversations with you and others.
11 Creating A 'Peace Corner'
All parents want their children to be the smartest and the best at everything. For this reason, some parents sign their kids up for multiple clubs, wanting them to know how to dance, play the piano, make sushi, and do lots of other things.
All-around development is good for a child, but you shouldn't forget that you can't make your kid do all the things you want them to do. So to avoid over-scheduling, create a so-called peace corner for your child. Provide them with a space where they can have downtime and partake in some relaxing activities, such as listening to soothing music or coloring a book. Allow your child to take this break whenever they feel overwhelmed.
10 Teaching Emotions
Emotions are an integral part of our lives and we all should understand them correctly. I'm talking not only about the emotions of others, but our own, as well.
So teach your child to understand what they're feeling at the moment. After all, they may be acting out for different reasons — they can be angry, envious, or just nervous about something. They need to understand what's going on, learn to express their emotions properly, deal with them accordingly, and control them in the future.
Start with making a list of emotions and creating an emotional chart for your child and then explain what each emotion means. Do it playfully, like it's a game.
9 Demonstrating Logical Consequences
Certain actions have certain consequences, and children need to understand that. But it won't be very useful to punish a child for something they did. Instead, it'll be better to teach discipline.
For example, you're sitting at a dinner table with your child and they deliberately trip over their bowl. Don't scold the child, take their favorite toy away, or send them to their room. This in itself won't teach them anything, but if you say that as a result of their action, they won't get any more food tonight or will have to help you clean up (choose any of these options, depending on their age), they'll certainly realize that what they did was wrong.
8 Praising The Child's Efforts
Everyone needs encouragement, and children are no exception. But it doesn't mean that you should praise your child for any action, especially if it's something other children of their age routinely do because it can lower their self-esteem. What you need to do is praise your kid's efforts, even if it doesn't lead to success.
For example, if they tried very hard to study their math assignment, but still didn't get the mark they wanted, tell them, "I liked how hard you worked to improve your math. Good job!" This way, you'll make it clear for the child that effort and hard work deserve praise, even if they don't get the result they wanted.
7 Offering Choices
If you give your child an opportunity to make a choice, you empower them. But remember that, when you give your child a choice, you need to agree with any option they select, so give them the only choice you can abide by.
Giving a choice can be effective in a number of situations. For example, instead of saying, "Hurry up, or we'll be late," say, "Would you like to put on your jacket or your shoes first?" It'll help the child move faster and become less fussy.
This technique works well, because it gives the child a certain degree of independence, while the control over the situation remains in your hands.
6 Using Fictional Third-Party Mediators
If you feel like you can't teach your child to behave in a certain way, it's time to take toys into your hands! Even though it might sound silly, it actually works.
Use your child's toys or puppets as a third-party mediator that helps decrease tension and cool things down. Choose a quiet time when your child feels relaxed and take their favorite teddy bear to model the behavior you want to see. Kids love shows with their toys and they'll easily learn from them. I mean, if their toy can be nice and polite, why can't they?
This way, you can teach kindness, generosity, healthy eating habits, and many other things. Remember that it all depends on your creativity!
5 Diverting Attention
Children's attention span isn't very long, and you can safely use this fact in your parenting practice. When your kid begins fussing about something, don't give in to it, rather try to divert their attention to another object or situation and start talking about something else. For example, if you're outside, you can point to a bird and start saying what kind of bird it is and how it sings. Or, if you're inside, you can offer to watch a cartoon or go for a walk.
But don't use this technique every single time your child is acting out. Sometimes, it's necessary to talk through a situation, instead of distracting attention.
4 Teaching Problem-Solving Skills
Knowing how to solve problems is an essential skill and it's a great idea to start teaching it as young as possible. When your child's old enough, start telling them how they can solve the problems they might have at school or in communication with their siblings, peers or teachers. Give them step-by-step guides and help them feel more confident about tackling their own issues.
Whenever your child has a problem, sit down with them and talk it over. Try to find several different solutions to it and help your child come up with the pros and cons of every solution. Then pick the best solution and assist your kid to implement it. If you do it every time, gradually you will teach your child to find solutions for themselves.
3 Avoiding Timeouts
Most parents use timeouts as their main parenting technique. However, it's not as effective as it seems. At times, a child might even fail to understand why they're on a timeout. So instead of sending your child somewhere else to sit and think about their behavior, talk it out. Help your child realize what they're feeling and explain why they're behaving this way. Are they overwhelmed or over-stimulated by something? Are they just tired?
If it doesn't work, use a 'calm down corner.' Make different to a timeout by placing blankets, pillows, and toys in the corner and ask your child to stay there for a while to take a break and calm down. When they're feeling better, talk to them.
2 Accepting Your Child's Personality
If your best friend's child is nice and calm, while your kid is fussy and hyperactive, you shouldn't be upset about it. Never compare your child to others. Everyone is different. Your child has a personality and you need to accept it. Don't focus on their flaws (or what you consider to be flaws), but instead, emphasize their gifts and strengths.
For example, if you're frustrated about your child's over-sensitivity, think about the fact that they're kind and compassionate toward others and help them develop these qualities. Your kid is your kid; you can't change them to be someone else. But what you can do is bring out the best in them; so do it.
1 Being Consistent
When you choose to adhere to peaceful parenting techniques, be consistent. Don't jump to and from the tactics you're using. If you disapprove some kind of behavior, keep on disapproving it. If you talk overall issues with your child, keep on doing it and don't resort to punishments that don't properly explain the consequences of their behavior. Besides, try to follow the same schedule every day to help your child learn what discipline is and be consistent, as well.
If your child sees that you do one and the same things in similar situations, they'll get a consistent message from you and understand how they need to behave.
Resources: peacefulparentsconfidentkids.com, afineparent.com, verywellfamily.com, parentingfromtheheartblog.com, centerforparentingeducation.org, momresource.ca