Creative Child

Debunking Myths About Positive Parenting - Myth #3: Does Positive Parenting Reward Misbehavior?

by Rebecca Eanes

This is post #3 in my “Debunking Myths about Positive Parenting” series. In post one, I debunked the myth that positive parents just want to be friends, and in post two, I set the record straight on the false assumption that we do not discipline our children. Because Positive Parenting is centered around connection, I often advocate for practices such as time-in rather than time-out when misbehavior arises and being emotionally supportive through tantrums as opposed to ignoring them.

These ideas often draw the reaction of “but isn’t that rewarding tantrums and misbehavior?!” The short answer is “no.”

The long answer is “the whole foundation of positive parenting is not based upon rewarding or punishing behavior but rather upon understanding what is driving a child’s behavior and giving the child the knowledge and skills needed to not only govern his own behavior but to grow into his own full potential as an emotionally healthy and secure adult.”

I usually give the short answer. You can see why.

However, the long answer is much more accurate, and I’d like to try to explain further so as to debunk this myth for good.

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When we look at behavior in terms of something we need to reward (with the intention of getting the child to perform well again) or punish (intending to deter the behavior), then we are essentially trying to control the child. This may seem to work for a while when children are young, but control over another person is just an illusion. You can’t really control how they will act when you’re not around, and that is one of the reasons why I’ve decided to drop the act and instead teach my children how and why to control themselves. After all, that’s the end game of discipline, isn’t it? Self-discipline?


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