Positive Discipline, Kind and Firm

Father and child handsWe all want to guide our children to become confident, independent people capable of self-discipline. It isn’t necessarily obvious for a parent to figure out how to get them there, though. As a parenting model, Positive Discipline seeks to give parents tools to build independence and confidence in their children, avoiding the fear that punishment brings and the self-indulgence that lack of boundaries brings. Positive discipline encourages adults to remain kind and firm with children in order to develop mutual respect.

Kind and Firm

Positive discipline developed through parenting and classroom management models of the early 20th century that sought to be respectful of children while still giving them the firm consistency they need. Positive discipline is most familiar today through a series of books by Dr. Jane Nelson and a long list of co-authors.

Now positive discipline is applied in a wide variety of settings where people want to step away from authoritarian to authoritative interactions. Positive Discipline schools help teachers and other adults to provide consistent and secure learning environments. Positive Discipline is one of the eight principles of Attachment Parenting International. I’ve seen it outlined as a practice in adult-to-adult settings such as the workplace as well.

Positive discipline is rooted in a secure, trusting, connected relationship between parent and child. Discipline that is empathetic, loving and respectful strengthens that the connection between parent and child, while harsh or overly-punitive discipline weakens the connection. Remember that the ultimate goal of discipline is to help children develop self-control and self-discipline. ~“Practice Positive Discipline,” Attachment Parenting International

What Do Parents Need to Know?

Dr. Nelson outlines five criteria for effective discipline as:

  • Helps children feel a sense of connection.
  • Is mutually respectful and encouraging.
  • Is effective long – term.
  • Teaches important social and life skills .
  • Invites children to discover how capable they are.

For children of different ages, this means that different techniques will be needed to reach the goals of mutual respect. With a baby or toddler, for example, it doesn’t do much good to reason with them. They just aren’t developmentally capable of benefitting from our well-polished speeches on good behavior. The different books in the Positive Discipline series emphasize that the person in authority needs to adjust to the needs of children at different stages of development and people in different situations.

Amongst the countless parents and teachers who express their deep gratitude for the guidance that Positive Discipline gives, I’ve seen parents say this method doesn’t work. Like nonviolent communication, I am sure that this is a practice rather than an accomplishment. If we aren’t starting from birth, it may take a while to develop the foundations of mutual respect. Rather than focus on the points of practice, it is important to keep in mind that ultimate goal of helping children become good humans.


Image © Radkevich Siarhei | Dreamstime.com

Keeping your little one Safe from Critters

While this time of year is generally a bit better for pesky insects of one sort or another, as soon as the sun goes down we are still swarmed by mosquitoes and other nighttime insects. I’d thought I’d share some of the hints and tips that have helped us survive this time of year with our 15 month-old daughter.

  • Try to keep baby covered up as much as possible. Dress in a long sleeved shirt, long pants and a hat. Watch exposed ankles!
  • Dark coloured clothing will attract bugs. Dress your baby in lighter colours.
  • Use only unscented soaps and shampoo as fragrances will attract insects.
  • When the bugs are really bad, use an insect repellent that is specially designed for use on children. We like a citronella-based repellent such as Citronella Moisturizing Milk by Druide which is all-natural and DEET-free.
  • Apply insect repellents to a young baby’s clothing and hat instead of directly on the skin. This will prevent absorption, but still deter the bugs.
  • Wash off insect repellents as soon as possible. Avoid contact on hands and face.
  • Watch where baby walks! Remember that insect repellents do not generally protect against most stinging insects such as wasps, bees and fire ants.

I hope a few of these tips will help prevent your little one from getting bitten or stung by bothersome critters this summer!