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Positive Discipline For Children

Updated on August 24, 2015
Princessa profile image

Wendy is a Psychologist graduated in Scotland. She also studied Communication Sciences in Peru. Currently a Spanish teacher in France.

Positive Discipline For Shaping Children’s Behaviour.

I am a firm believer in shaping children’s behaviour in a positive way rather than controlling their behaviour. I believe that positive discipline can be used to safeguard children from following an antisocial set of behaviours later in life.

We all know that prevention is better than cure, so acting early to help reinforce good behaviour in our children is a must for every parent. It is our responsibility to encourage our children to make the right choices by themselves. We cannot force their good behaviour, but we can shape their thoughts which in time will lead their actions. Therefore we need to encourage positive thinking in our children, a good self image and a strong self esteem will help children to become responsible adults.

Positive discipline is rooted in a secure, trusting, connected relationship between parent and child.

Positive Parenting

Some Points To Bear In Mind To Reinforce Positive Discipline In Children Are:

  • Self esteem.
  • Role modelling.
  • Consistency.
  • Communication.
  • Responsibility.


A child who sees himself with a positive self image and thinks of himself as worthwhile will end up behaving in a worthwhile way.

This is easy to understand if you think about your personal experience. When people around you tell you that you are bad at something; that you will never do it because it is not within your capabilities, you end up believing that and might not even try to see whether you were capable or not.

A child with a negative self image, who is aware that no one trusts him or expects anything good from him will end up behaving that way. He will come to realize that no one expects any good from him, so why bother if no one is going to acknowledge his achievements.

To encourage a healthy self-esteem in your child you must praise his achievements when he deserves it. Don’t go over the top praising your child because he needs to feel that you are being sincere. Children can sense when you just deliver empty words. Praise doesn’t mean that you have to flood them with applause for the slightest thing because soon it will become meaningless. A smile, a wink, a pat on the back or even a simple acknowledgement of an achievement are effective ways of praising without going over the top. In general the amount of times you praise your child each day should outweigh the amount of times that you criticize him.

It is important that as parents we realize the strong influence we have in our children’s behaviour.

Role Modelling

Most children admire their parents.  Your child probably admires you and wants to be like you.  Therefore if you want your children to be strong, wise and fair you must show those qualities.  It is important to give them a good example to follow. 

For example, I see around me that all my smoking friends have children who start smoking at a relatively young age; while those who don’t smoke have children who don’t smoke either even when they are grown ups.  The same goes for swearing, drinking alcohol and other behaviours that children copy from their parents as they believe they are the norm. 

By the same token those parents who regularly practise sports just for fun have children who are also interested in practising sports in their leisure time.  Children are always copying what they see at home.  I remember my daughter started to be interested in reading at a very young age, even before she could read she used to sit for ages browsing the pages in her books.  She was just copying what she saw at home, me and my husband always reading something!  Now that she can read she has become a “book addict” always looking for new material to read. 

Modelling the type of behaviour we want our children to display is essential.  It is important that as parents we realize the strong influence we have in our children’s behaviour.  They soak up everything we do and imitate it later on. Therefore the importance of trying to be a good role model. 

We should not do anything in front of our children that we don't want them to do


It is very important that we are consistent with our children.  How many times have you threatened your child with punishment but never did carried it out?  Or how many times have you promised to take them somewhere or to do something with them and then just change your mind for no apparent reason?

Children need consistency in their lives.  They need to be reassured that they can trust their parents.  We shouldn’t promise something we don’t keep.  A child who trusts their parents will grow up to be a trustworthy adult.

If you tell your child “no” to something, try not to change your mind.  Be consistent with your answer.  Don’t say “no” only when you are in the mood and “yes” when you cannot be bothered reinforcing your answer.  Children will always try to push you to your limits to see if you change your mind.  It is important to be consistent with the answers you give them.


Positive discipline requires effective communication.  It is not just about making yourself heard by your child, but also about listening to your child.  

Chatting with your child from an early age, showing him that you care about his little problems, showing him that he can trust you to tell you anything will open the road for good communication at difficult periods of a child’s development.

When dealing with inappropriate behaviour it is important that you listen to your child’s reasons for acting that way.  It is also important that you explain to the child why his behaviour was inappropriate in a firm and clear voice.  You should try to remain calm and speak firmly so that your child is more likely to hear and understand why you are punishing him. 


It is your task to encourage your child to understand that his behaviour has consequences that can be good –leading to a reward- or bad –leading to punishment.

Most of the time it is the parents, tutors and teachers who set the limits for a child’s behaviour.  But it is important that you also allow your child the time and space to do this on his own.   For example, they need to learn by themselves that if they leave a toy at school, the toy might get lost; if they don’t tidy up their rooms they will not find their toys; if they don’t do their homework they will get bad marks.  Children need to take responsibility for their acts even if that means letting them make mistakes so they discover by themselves the consequences.  Hopefully, once they realize the consequences of their acts they will make better choices next time. 

Remember that children display different types of behavioural traits from an early age –some are more outgoing than others, some are risk takers, others are shy, etc.  It is up to you to help those good behavioural traits to develop and eradicate the bad traits.  

The best reward for a kid is time with the parents.


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    • Bethaleg profile image

      Bethaleg 5 years ago from Minnesota

      You have touched on very important points in your hub. Even parents who try to do these things need reminders. Also agreed totally with your comment on video games. We don't have a TV even and my kids love playing outside!

    • HennieN profile image

      HennieN 7 years ago from South Africa

      A wonderful article. I would like to add just 2 very powerful things:

      1. "Coach" your children rather than "controlling" them

      2. Cildren learn by what they see and not hear.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 7 years ago from UK

      A really great hub with sound advice on positive reinforcement. Well written and useful.It's interesting how some of these concepts are the same for Teachers and supervisors as it is for parents. Thanks!

    • websclubs profile image

      websclubs 7 years ago

      to a child, never hearing the words 'I love you' feels the same as hearing 'I hate you'__every day of his life." Discipline: nothing helps your survival as a parent more than “teach by your own good example” ...and for discipline to be effective, it must "TEACH" a child HOW to avoid repeating any misbehavior and what to do instead. the discipline is to teach and to train a child HOW to avoid repeating the misbehavior's and WHAT to do instead. The Discipline it should also be given in doses that fit the age of the child, and the size of the infraction etc. A parent’s job is to teach & train their young ones… not to “punish” means to hurt someone, physically psychologically etc. as/or to shame them. "punish means to hurt" "to harm a child" is never an option.

      Very interesting hub, nice job thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      honey's girl 7 years ago

      great hub princessa...keep it up my baby:)may god bless u.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

      mrjohnpeter: It is very imoirtant to be consistent when disciplining children just as it is important to start very early.

    • mrjohnpeter profile image

      mrjohnpeter 7 years ago from India

      Nice Hub about children behaviour. discipline points may help to play good role .

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

      samboiam: it is not easy to be a parent, different ages require different approaches. But yes, I believe that consistency, communication and responsibility are key issues to reinforce at any age.

      drbj: thanks for the tip, it is important to let your child know when he/she has done something good.

      ocbill: yes, they are good and easy to follow points; the problem is that with the pressures of everyday life we as parents tend to overlook even these easy to follow pointers.

      rebekahELLE: I try, it is not easy at times but I try my hardest to parent my little ones giving them both the freedom to discover the world by themselves, to make mistakes and learn from them, while at the same time backing them up and making them feel secure.

      I think that as a parent it is very difficult to sit back and see your child make mistakes, so they can learn from them, but it is rewarding when you see that they have learnt from them.

      lxxy: thanks for the comment.

      karmadir: I don't know about other parents, but personally I don't let my children play video games. Thankfully we live in the countryside and I try to make the most out of it taking them out for long walks where we can always discover a new castle, roman ruins, wildlife, etc. I am very much against video games as I believe that they are addictive and mind killing. I prefer to introduce my children to natural life and an inquisitive nature. Thankfully I have noticed that now when we visit someone who has video games, my children get bored and are not interested; they do prefer to go out in the garden and play.

      As far as mobile phones are concerned, my oldest one is almost 9 and we don't see (neither does she) any need for having a mobile yet. I will try to delay that as much as possible too.

      carmenph: Thanks for the input. You are right, these points are relevant not only to parents but anyone who has regular contact with children.

      Pamela: Thanks for the support.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Excellent hub. I couldn't agree with you more. You listed all the most important characteristics of being a parent.

    • carmenph profile image

      carmenph 7 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you for a wonderful hub! I'm not a parent (yet) but I volunteer to teach kids and I see that these are excellent points that you raised here. Cannot agree more!

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 7 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      Very great advice to all parents and people who deal with offspring.

      Making a positive impact on a young persons life will echo into their future forever.

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      excellent hub princessa! it is evident in your words that you parent your children this way also. parents are always the child's most powerful role model, good or bad. I love how you have stressed that it is important for the child to learn responsibility and allow him/her to make mistakes. those mistakes help a child to grow and mature. your kids are adorable! :)

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      Excellent advice. All of your points are good for many young and complacent parents.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      This is eeded information, Princessa. Thank you.

      Here's a simple tip for delivering praise. Tell the child or any other individual WHAT you like and WHY you like it.

    • samboiam profile image

      samboiam 7 years ago from Texas

      Consistency, communication and and responsibility are key ingredients to positive reinforcement. Thanks for sharing these tips. As a parent of teenagers I need a reminder every now and then.