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There Are Five Ways to Discipline Kids – and None of Them Are Right

When it comes to disciplining children, it is natural as a parent to wonder whether you are doing it the right way. The good news is that there is no one “right way.” Instead, there are different methods of disciplining a child that you may adopt according to the temperament of you and your child, your discipline philosophies, etc. In short, there’s no one size fits all when it comes to disciplining a child or an approach that works for all families. So, here are a few strategies that you may try to discipline your child.

  1. Positive Discipline

In this approach, the child receives ample praise and encouragement for their behavior. The parents focus on rewarding the child for positive behavior rather than punishing them for unacceptable behavior. Here, parents use discipline as an opportunity to teach children problem-solving skills.

They choose to work with the child and help them arrive at solutions for various problems and conflicts. They are thereby enabling the child to take up responsibilities for their actions and decisions.

  1. Gentle Discipline

When it comes to the gentle discipline type of parenting, the focus is on preventing problems. Here the skill of redirection comes into play, and parents tend to use it to steer their kids away from bad or improper behavior. Parents who adopt this approach explain or demonstrate to the children about the consequences of their actions. However, this is not a type of discipline that instills shame.

Instead, parents use distraction and humor to manage emotions and to address misbehavior. For example, a parent might ask a child to write a letter explaining why the homework was not done, rather than punishing them. When done in good humor, children learn to fix their mistakes, own up to their actions, and avoid undesirable behavior.

  1. Boundary Based Discipline

In this form of discipline, the focus is on setting limits. Parents come with a certain set of rules of acceptable behavior, and the child is aware of these rules. Every choice that the kid makes has a consequence to it. The consequences of each decision are logical and clear.

For example, if the child does not do the homework, the parent might restrict the  TV  or playtime until the task is complete. The punishment or consequence is something the child is aware of before acting in a particular way. In this case, the child knows that not finishing homework means no TV time.

  1. Behavior Modification

This type of discipline is one that places the focus on positive and negative consequences. Parents reward good behavior with positive reactions like praise. On the other hand, they discourage misbehavior by ignoring it or taking away certain privileges of the child. In this approach, if the child is not doing the homework, the parent might encourage the child to do the homework by talking to them about the reward for completing the task. This can be anything like he or she gets to play on the computer for half an hour. Any protest from the child would then be ignored.

  1. Emotion Coaching

This type of discipline is a method that involves five steps. It emphasizes teaching children about emotions. That’s because it is crucial to help children understand, make sense, and verbalize their feelings. This will make sure they do not just act out on their feelings. With this method, parents help children learn that having feelings is alright and that there is an appropriate way to deal and express it.

Going back to the example of the child not doing their homework, the parent in this style will help the child identify how they are feeling. The parent can do this by empathizing how hard it can be to work on math problems, how the child cannot spend their time playing, and it makes them sad, and so on. It can also help to acknowledge the frustration of not understanding the work. Then, the parent can ask the child to draw their emotions before continuing with their homework. This will help the child get out of the negative emotions an approach to the task on hand with a positive spirit!

Of the five types of discipline, you don’t need to fit into one of the categories as a parent. That’s because parents usually adopt a combination of these styles to discipline their children. So, don’t let it overwhelm you or doubt your approach. At the heart of it, you have the best interest of your child, so go on and embrace the method that seems right to you!

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