Discipline doesn’t have to mean control! We’re sharing a few of our favorite parenting tips for positive ways to discipline your kids without feeling like you’re controlling every move they make.
Do you like to be controlled by other people? No? Yeah, neither do I. So why do we think that our kids should just deal with it when we try to control every little move they make?
Don’t worry, I’m not judging you. I’m a “terribly controlling mom” who wishes to be a “recovering controlling mom.” So, we’re going to do this together. These are the things I know I should be doing and need to implement. Who’s with me?
5 Parenting Tips for Positive Discipline
First, let’s talk about the difference between being in control and being controlling. There are times, as parents, that we absolutely need to be the one in charge. We set ground rules for a reason: to keep our kids safe and/or healthy. Think of it as being the driver on a road trip with your closest friends. When you’re in control you have all the responsibilities of getting everyone to your destination safely but that doesn’t mean you don’t accept input from the other passengers. A controlling driver would ignore the other passengers’ suggestions, demand that they get to choose all the music (and probably choose something everyone else despises), and micromanage the entire trip from start to finish.
So how can you be in control and discipline your kids in positive ways without being that controlling driver? Here are a few tips we can all try!
- No more yelling. I’m a yeller, and I reaaaallly don’t like that I’m a yeller. Think about it. How do you feel when someone yells at you? I get angry and defensive. I would imagine that my kids feel the same way. If I want to positively interact with them, I need to stop yelling and be more patient with them.
- Get inside their heads. The trick to sales is to help the other person see why they need what you’re selling. If we just talk at them without meeting their needs, the answer will always be no. The same is true for our kids. We have to make them want to behave properly and make them think it’s their idea. If I want my son to put his plate in the sink after dinner, I ought to say, “Buddy, I know you love the blue plate! So that I can wash it and make sure it’s clean for tomorrow, I’d appreciate you putting it in the sink for me!”
- Put a positive spin on it. In a parenting class I took a few years ago, I learned that if we want our children to stop doing something, we need to phrase it positively to successfully influence their behavior. If I say to you, “Don’t think of a yellow Corvette,” what image do you immediately see in your mind’s eye? The same is true as you’re correcting your children. Rather than saying “Don’t hit your sister,” say “I know you are good at keeping your hands to yourself. Please tell your sister you’re sorry and do a better job next time of keeping your hands to yourself.”
- Identify feelings and talk through expectations. Children have a hard time labeling how they are feeling, and it’s our job as their parents to teach them. When your daughter throws her toy across the room because she can’t figure out how to make it work, say, “I am sure you’re feeling frustrated that the toy isn’t working the way you want. Next time you’re frustrated, I’d like you to tell me with your words instead of your actions. Please go pick up the toy.”
- Be firm and consistent. Not controlling your children doesn’t mean not having boundaries. Set rules that are important to you and decide together what the consequences will be for choosing to break the rules. This practice teaches life skills – if you choose to speed, the consequence is a speeding ticket. It’s your choice to break the rule, but you need to be prepared for the consequence. Plus, by involving your children in deciding what the consequences will be if they choose to break the rules, they can take ownership.
Just imagine what life with your kids can be like with more cooperation, and that can fuel you on the hard days. Seems simple enough, right? I think we can do this. As we all put these skills into practice, let’s share how it’s working!