How Not to Practice Positive Discipline

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?

Author: API Blog

APtly Said, Formerly API Speaks launched in April of 2008 as part of Attachment Parenting International's larger effort to offer interactive content through their newly-redesigned web site: All contributors to APtly Said, as with so many of API's staff, are volunteers who donate their time and energy to promote Attachment Parenting world wide.

4 thoughts on “How Not to Practice Positive Discipline”

  1. I was a lucky child to have a mom who for the most part practiced positive discipline. There were times when she fell short like we all do, but I am able to look back at my childhood and say I learned so much more and became a better person because my Mom choose positive discipline and I am lucky enough to pass that on to my daughter and hopefully I can use it even more often because I was raised with it.

    1. Thanks for your comment Patricia. I think that it is definitely easier to do something that you’ve been familiar with all your life!

  2. My mother never used to spank us that much, but she used to scream and preform and used to ignore us as punishment. She is a perfectionist, so it was hard being number 2 of 4 children, sometimes I felt there was not enough love and time for all of us, so I would do anything and everything to make her love me. Today I struggle with self esteem and people pleasing.

    I am trying my best to raise a more balanced, self confident child. Who knows that I love her every minute of the day.

    I tried to entertain her constantly, thinking it was best. After reading the post this week about getting out of the way, I now just relax and be in the moment.

    I would love some more advise on the positve dicipline.


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