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I stumbled upon this question during my recent internet browsing and thought that it would be an excellent idea to write an article to answer this question. I felt the need to write about ‘Positive Discipline’ as I am a trained facilitator of this model and most importantly I have personally used this model with my children who are both teenagers. Surprisingly I had phenomenal results. You might be wondering ‘why I have used the term ‘surprisingly’ I am so glad that you’ve asked. You see I was somewhat of the old school that thought that misbehaving children are to be punished into submission. You see, I was only reciprocating what I had learnt during my early childhood as I was raised in a punitive home environment. ‘Watch out’ parents what behaviour your child is modelling primarily due to the parenting techniques you utilise.


The Positive Discipline Parenting Model is based on the work of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs.* Dr. Adler first introduced the idea of parenting education to United States audiences in the 1920s. He advocated treating children respectfully, but also argued that spoiling and pampering children was not encouraging to them and resulted in social and behavioural problems. Hence, the Positive Discipline Parenting focuses at developing mutually respectful relationships. Positive Discipline teaches adults to employ kindness and firmness at the same time, and is neither punitive nor permissive.


1. Helps children feel a sense of connection. (Belonging and significance)
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.)


Part of using positive discipline is preventing situations in which negative behaviours can arise. There are different techniques that parents/carers can use to prevent bad behaviours: Children who "misbehave" are actually demonstrating "mistaken" behaviour. There are many reasons why your child may exhibit mistaken behaviour, i.e. lack of knowing appropriate behaviour to feeling unwanted or unaccepted. For children who simply do not know what appropriate behaviour they should be exhibiting, parents/carers can teach the appropriate behaviour. For example, the young child who grabs toys from others can be stopped from grabbing a toy and then shown how to ask for a turn. For children who are feeling unwanted or unaccepted, a positive relationship needs to develop between parent/carer and child before ANY form of discipline will work!


Positive discipline includes rewarding good behaviour as much as curtailing negative behaviours which represent advancement to the original ‘Positive Discipline’ as it did not support ‘punishment or rewards’. Some "rewards" can be verbal. Some are actual gifts.
Instead of yelling at a child displaying negative behaviours, parents/carers might recognize a child behaving well with a "thank you Tom for waiting your turn in the game", or "I like the way you helped Dave to put his toys away." Recognizing a positive behaviour can bring the family's focus away from the child displaying negative behaviour, who might just be "acting out" for attention.


Recent research provides evidence 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. Numerous studies show that teens who perceive their parents as both kind (responsive) and firm (demanding) are at lower risk for smoking, use of marijuana, use of alcohol, or being violent, and have a later onset of sexual activity. (Aquilino, 2001; Baumrind, 1991; Jackson et al, 1998; Simons, Morton et al, 2001).


Punitive methods would be less needed if children had a strong connection with the adult in charge and knew that parent/carer respected him/her. Parents/carers need to know how to build these relationships. Simply telling parents/carers to demonstrate respect and connection with their child is not enough as they may "lack the knowledge" on how to do this!

PS. Visit my blog for an opportunity to learn more about the Techniques of Positive Discipline and How to use them to Improve your Child Misbehaviour.

Written by Jenice Clarke
Positive Discipline Parenting Advice

About the Author
I am a Parenting Expert, Motivational Speaker,Trainer, mother of two children based in London. I offer parents/carers practical advice and the opportunity to learn a variety of effective positive discipline techniques within a process of discipline.

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