Positive Discipline is an educational model that is gaining more and more popularity among families who want to educate their children in a respectful way, without yelling or punishment. There are hundreds of articles on positive parenting that we can find on the Internet and social networks, and some include tips and tools to apply it in our day to day.
But positive parenting is much more than following a series of manual tips . It is necessary to “soak up” this philosophy, know the principles on which it is based and train to be able to put it into practice in the best possible way.
If this is not the case, we run the risk of falling into a series of errors such as the ones mentioned below:
Wanting to change the child’s behavior (when the ones who must change are us)
One of the big mistakes we can make when trying to apply positive parenting is to focus on the child and their behavior , without being aware that we adults are the ones who have to change our perspective towards childhood.
In this way, when we manage to see beyond the behavior, we realize that everything the child does or does not do is the result of a bad decision as a consequence of a need that is not being met.
That is why it is essential to put aside expressions such as “behave well” or “pay attention”, and work on ourselves as adults analyzing what our mood is when we talk to our children, how we speak to them, how ‘present’ we are or how we meet your needs. Once this exercise is done, it will be easier to “connect” with the children and from that connection, correct.
Seek immediate results
In general, when we embark on any process with a final goal (such as losing weight, toning our muscles, learning languages…) we want the results to be immediate .
The same thing happens with positive parenting: we started with great desire and enthusiasm and with the hope that it would be a short process, quick to bear fruit and with palpable results.
But educating in a respectful way, without yelling, punishment and in connection is a complex task that requires time, patience and a lot of inner work. The results are not seen in the very short term, since what is sought with positive parenting is, above all, to train and educate in a responsible manner for the future.
Believing that by applying tools in isolation we are educating positively
Positive Discipline has wonderful tools to help parents educate in a respectful way: the wheel of options, positive time out, family meetings, curiosity questions…
They are undoubtedly fantastic resources that can provide us with great support at certain times, but they are not everything. When we raise and educate we do it 24 hours a day , and not only when we use any of these tools.
For this reason, it is important that at all times we are aware of the example we set for our children, and that we always educate based on the principles of connection, respect, kindness and firmness.
Not setting limits or setting confusing limits
Children need limits to know how to act in society and grow safe and confident. But these limits must be clear, proportionate to their age and respectful of everyone.
Frequently, when it comes to positive education, we make the mistake of relating the concept “limits” with “authoritarianism”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Boundaries can (and should) be set gently and firmly at the same time, setting them correctly and involving children whenever possible.
Be polite, but don’t sign at the same time
There are parents who believe that educating in a positive way means continually having a smile on their lips , not raising their voices and displaying infinite patience when dealing with their children.
In this way, it is easy to end up dancing between two gangs: first, we are excessively nice until our patience overwhelms us, and then we explode in the form of yelling, hurtful words or actions that we later regret.
The key to positive parenting is the balance between kindness and firmness ; that is, raising from mutual respect, avoiding falling into extremes.
Treat the child with respect, but ignore their lack of respect for others (and us)
One of the key principles of positive parenting is respect. But when we talk about “ respect ” we are not only referring to respecting the child , but also the rest of the people around him, including ourselves.
And it is that we often voluntarily become something like “punching bags” on which the child unloads his frustration, allowing him to yell at us, disrespect us or make hurtful comments. Although this type of behavior on the part of the child must be understood (his brain is purely emotional and immature), positive parenting does not mean tolerating or allowing it : respect must always prevail, but in all directions.
Believing that emotion justifies any action
As we said in the previous point, children are purely emotional and need time and learning to control their emotions. This can lead them to burst into tantrums at any time, overflow emotionally, get angry, frustrated…
Positive parenting focuses on the importance of validating these emotions and accompanying the child when it comes to going through them . Feeling rage, jealousy, frustration or anger is fine, it should not be hidden or silenced.
But we must not confuse respectful accompaniment with the justification of certain actions derived from that emotion that harm others or the environment (for example, when the result of a tantrum, the child slams the door, shouts or annoys in a public place, breaks something , assaults other children, lacks respect…).
Not taking time for ourselves
When we devote all our efforts and energies to raising and educating children, it is easy to forget about ourselves. But one of the basic principles of Positive Discipline is, precisely, the importance of taking care of yourself in order to be able to take care of yourself.
Our children do not want parents sacrificed, ecstatic and on the verge of physical and emotional exhaustion. What our children need are parents who, in addition to educating and raising them with love and respect, respect and love themselves . Because one thing will always be linked to the other.
Give autonomy, but not accompany along the way
Another of the basic principles of positive parenting is to encourage children’s autonomy and not do things for them. But every process takes time and learning, so we cannot expect our children to “fly alone” overnight if we have never before given them the confidence and freedom to do so.
To encourage the child’s autonomy we must start little by little, encouraging him to collaborate in tasks according to his age and ability, and giving him the opportunity to make his own decisions in some aspects.
For our part, it is essential to be patient with their rhythms and not intervene if they do not ask us to , but at the same time remain by their side and accompany them on this wonderful and important path that they must travel.
Not respecting their decisions or criticizing them
As we have just mentioned, an important pillar of the child’s autonomy is being able to make their own decisions in certain aspects. But in general, this is something that usually costs us a lot as parents and we often fall into the mistake of being “too much on top” of the children, believing that this favors them.
Another frequent mistake is to respect the decisions they make, but “halfway” , that is, take advantage of when they make a mistake to criticize their decision in a more or less subtle way, with phrases like “I told you so” or “I already warned you” , or simply with our expression and non-verbal gestures.
Positive parenting is a wonderful way of educating children, which implies respect for both parties, connection and accompaniment so that the child fosters their autonomy and gradually discovers their abilities.
As parents, it is normal for us to make mistakes (everyone makes mistakes at some point!), but understanding where they come from and how we can solve them is key to helping us improve and raise happy children.