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.
"Discipline" means to train or instruct. "Positive discipline" means training or instruction that is respectful, empathic, and loving. In Attachment Parenting, positive discipline means that the training or instruction does not weaken or threaten the attachment between parent and child.
Tools for the practice of positive discipline are many and varied. You might discipline through play, change things up, offer choices, or create a "yes" environment. The particular techniques, words, or tools you use are not as important as your goal -- to strengthen the attachment between your child and you. The key is to know yourself and your child and be aware enough of your personal dynamics to know what will and will not foster attachment.
Getting support may be essential for positive discipline to become part of your parenting style. Seeking help from your local API support group, online at the API Forums, or from a professional can help you practice discipline more positively. API also offers many tips and tricks for gentle discipline in The Eight Principles of Parenting: Practice Positive Discipline.
A few books we recommend:
- The Discipline Book by William and Martha Sears
- Discipline Without Distress by Judy Arnall
- Hold On to Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté
- Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids: 7 Keys to Turn Family Conflict into Cooperation by Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson
- How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish