Principle: Practice Positive Discipline

Frequently Asked Questions

I would like to learn more about positive parenting in discipline. I am a bit overwhelmed. Having a book to refer to would be so divine. I love my kids and want to do the best for them.

For many of us, practicing positive discipline may be the most difficult of the Eight Principles to implement, mainly because of prevalent contemporary parenting practices and the way we were parented. It requires self control from us as parents and for us to examine our habitual ways of communicating and reacting.

Our son frequently hits other children. We have tried to teach him to use "gentle touches" and to share, but he continues to hit. Should we hit him back?

First, understand that it is completely normal and developmentally appropriate for a two-year-old to hit. Your son isn't old enough to really understand "sharing" and, even though he can talk, he likely doesn't yet have the developmental capability to put his feelings into words.

My son is two years old and throws things when frustrated. My second baby is due in less than a month, and I'm worried that my son is going to hurt the baby. How can I keep him from hurting the baby while practicing gentle discipline?

First of all, this kind of behavior is absolutely normal for two-year-old children. Two year olds have little to no ability to handle frustrations. They lack the verbal ability to articulate their feelings, and their little brains are still developing the ability to cope with frustrations. Babies and young children gradually learn to regulate their emotions after the age of three, but, until then, parents have to help them.

I'm afraid my child will be a spoiled brat if I don't spank him. How can I discipline him without spanking?

The real meaning of discipline is to guide and teach by example. Children basically want to please their parents when they feel loved and listened to. When your child misbehaves, parents need to examine the reasons that might have caused the misbehavior. There usually is a reason. It may be stress or major changes at home, hunger, a need for more quality attention, or overstimulation. In some cases, children's misbehavior can be caused by allergic reactions to foods or additives.

When my toddler hits another child, takes a toy, or throws things, what should I do?

Toddlers need to learn limits in a warm, loving way, including that hitting or taking toys is not something that we do. There are many ways to help toddlers learn this without yelling or hitting or being harsh. Gently removing her from the situation and explaining what is appropriate is a first step, if she is old enough to understand. If not, try substitution and distraction. Sharing is something that children learn, and often by our example. For some children, removing the favorite toys before others come over can help.

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