What is Positive Discipline?
Recent research tells us that children are “hardwired” from birth to connect with others, and that children who feel a sense of connection to their community, family, and school are less likely to misbehave. To be successful, contributing members of their community, children must learn necessary social and life skills. Positive Discipline is based on the understanding that discipline must be taught and that discipline teaches. Jane Nelsen gives the following criteria for “effective discipline that teaches”:
5 Criteria for Positive Discipline
2. Is mutually respectful and encouraging. (Kind and firm at the same time.)
3. Is effective long-term. (Considers what the child is thinking, feeling, learning, and deciding about himself and his world –
and what to do in the future to survive or to thrive.)
4. Teaches important social and life skills . (Respect, concern for others, problem solving, and cooperation as well as
the skills to contribute to the home, school or larger community.)
5. Invites children to discover how capable they are. Encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy.
Encouragement vs. Praise
The positive discipline approach encourages adults to encourage the children we are teaching as much as we can.
Wondering whether the statements you make to children are praise or encouragement?
~ Am I inspiring self-evaluation or dependence on the evaluation of others?
~ Am I being respectful or patronizing?
~ Am I seeing the child’s point of view or only my own?
~ Would I make this comment to a friend?
Here are a few examples of praise vs. encouragement:
~ “You got an A, I’m so proud of you,” vs. “You worked hard. You deserve it.”
~ "You did it right.” vs. "You gave it your best.” Or, “How do you feel about what you accomplished?”
~ “I like the way you did that.” vs. “I appreciate your cooperation.”
~ “You did it right.” vs. “What do you think/feel?” or "What did you learn?"