I came across this YouTube video several months ago and just chuckled because the first thing I thought of was that this is a shining example of how not to practice positive discipline. The rabbits were obviously having a disagreement and the chickens immediately responded with physical punishment. Okay, obviously a chicken isn’t going to be able to discuss the rabbits’ reasons behind the altercation and chat about alternatives but the video did lead me to reflect upon API’s 7th Principle of Parenting – Practice Positive Discipline.
The following is a short summary of the basis of positive discipline as well as the impetus behind my decision to practice positive discipline.
Attachment Parenting incorporates the “golden rule” of parenting; parents should treat their children the way they would want to be treated. Positive discipline is an overarching philosophy that helps a child develop a conscience guided by his own internal discipline and compassion for others. 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.
I wanted to be connected to my child.
I wanted my child to trust me.
I wanted to respect my child and build his respect for me.
I wanted my child to be compassionate and empathetic.
I wanted my child to have self-discipline.
Fast-forward and I now have an 8 year-old and a 6 year-old. As is the case with many children their age, there are times when they have zero self-control and self-discipline. However, this is completely age appropriate. There are also times when they have an amazing amount of self-control and self-discipline, especially when considering their ages.
There are also times when I am absolutely floored by their compassion and even empathy. You see, both of my children are on the autism spectrum and I was told that empathy would be difficult to come by. By taking a gentler approach to discipline, I have given my children the tools that they need to learn and understand their emotions and their impulses. They have learned from me and I from them.
As they continue to grow into the teen years and beyond, I hope to continue to see how positive discipline shapes our relationship. I’ve heard that the teen years can be interesting, and I know as I was once a teen myself, but I am confident that the solid foundation I have created with regards to discipline will continue to benefit our relationship, as well as theirs, for years to come.
Of course if all else fails, I can always buy a couple of chickens.
Now that I’ve shared a bit about how positive discipline has shaped my relationship with my children, I’d love to hear your stories. Why did you choose positive discipline?