Creative Child

Debunking Myths About Positive Parenting - Myth #2: Positive Parents Don’t Discipline

by Rebecca Eanes


Missed Connection:

It’s clear that punishing children causes a disconnection between us and them, but most parents feel that the disconnection is necessary in order to teach the child a lesson. Ironically, connection is the very thing that makes children follow our rules, heed our instruction, and want to do well.

In addition, the benefits of connection is well-documented, and leads to higher self-confidence, resilience, social skills, and emotional health. When we approach a behavioral issue with the intent to understand and teach rather than to make the child pay, we can discipline while maintaining our crucial connection.

Wrong Focus:

Punishment often makes children focus more on their own suffering than on the effects of their behavior. In her book Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline, Dr. Becky Bailey says this, “You cannot simultaneously feel bad about what you have done and focus on what you must do differently.” In this way, punishment actually shuts down learning, and the lesson we are trying to teach is lost on a resentful child. Sadly, for some children, punishment makes them feel so badly that they begin to believe they are bad people. When that gets into a child’s self-concept, he will behave the way he sees himself. Psychologists refer to this as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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Those are the reasons I have chosen to discipline differently, with the intent to instruct and impart knowledge rather than to punish. To be clear, I have had to allow consequences that teach because, as we all know, poor behavior has negative consequences. However, these are natural consequences that I don’t have to impose or are a result of a solution that my child and I have arrived at together. If you’re wondering what I do instead of punishment, take at a look at these 3 alternatives to the old time-out I used to use.

Positive parents discipline in an unconventional way, but the idea that we don’t discipline at all is FALSE. In fact, I spend a good amount of time each day disciplining my children. It can be confusing to understand how to discipline without relying on punishment. It took a while for me to fully understand it, too.

Once I did understand the reasons for connection, finding the need behind the behavior, teaching appropriate alternatives, and looking for solutions to problems, it became much easier to discipline my children positively, and I really feel that the benefits have been great for us all.

The links provided in the article will provide some insight into alternative methods of discipline. For more, pick up The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting and Positive Parenting in Action.

Rebecca Eanes, is the founder of and creator of Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. She is the bestselling author of 3 books. Her newest book,Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, is more than a parenting book, it's a guide to human connection. She has also written The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parentingand co-authored the book, Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide to Putting Positive Parenting Principles in Action in Early ChildhoodShe is the grateful mother to 2 boys.


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