When talking about discipline in schools, modern trends use buzz-words such as “Positive discipline”; “Values-based education” and “Character guides rather than codes of conduct”. The aim of these “different” or “new” approaches is to focus on rewarding and encouraging positive behaviour, rather than focusing on punishing negative behaviour. Children learn to cultivate habits, approaches and values, that are not only relevant to the classroom or school grounds, but to society, the adult world, and life. It might be too early to say in some instances, but it appears, through the experiences of teachers, that this “new” approach is working. Positive discipline is based on the idea that there are no bad children, just good and bad behaviour.
Below are a few tips to assist with positive reinforcement when disciplining your child:
Create understanding rather than fear.
Creating fear in a child, to stop them from repeating what they did will not completely stop them. They will still want to do it again. If you explain to them why “what they did” was wrong or inappropriate, there’s a higher chance of them not wanting to do it again. During this engagement understanding on both sides should be encouraged. The parent also needs to understand why their child did what they did.
Control yourself not the child
Children strive for independence throughout their childhood. Give them the power and responsibility to make their own decisions and control their own behaviour.
Comparing children to others will encourage them to behave more defensively, resent their actions or themselves and lose confidence in themselves. Allow them to own their actions and don’t associate their behaviours with other children.
Don’t shame your child
Discussing your children’s behaviour to others in front of them is not an effective way to express your concern, rather have this discussion in private. Children don’t need to be reprimanded multiple times about the same incident by other individuals.
Focus on their good qualities
Nobody likes to be told that they’re wrong however constructive criticism is an effective method for self-reflection and behaviour change. Use your child’s good qualities to overcome their bad qualities.