Five ways to positively discipline your child

SHOREVIEW, Minn -- In a new statement, Adrian Peterson said he disciplined his son the way he was disciplined as a child and also said after speaking with a psychologist, he's realized there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate.

Shoreview-based parent coach Toni Schutta shares five key positive discipline methods for parents, tips she has honed over several decades of working with families. Schutta formerly worked with families facing circumstances of child abuse, and said parents do often carry out the same discipline methods they experienced, a pattern that can be changed for the better.

"Sadly, when physical means of aggression are used to discipline a child, it breaks the bond of trust. It breaks the bond of respect and it can even break the bond of love. Will the child remember? Yes," said Schutta. "Think of what you are role modeling. You are role modeling that if there is a problem, a solution is to use physical aggression, and is that a message you want to be giving your kids?"

Problem Solving

Schutta tells families first to begin with problem solving. She gives the example of kids arguing over a video game.

"So you say, 'Let's come up with two to three solutions kids. Let's all put our heads together and brainstorm.' Kids do that, you are involving them in the solution and kids can become problem solvers right from a very young age."

Logical Consequences

Schutta says find logical consequences to a misbehavior like the fight over a video game. She says this is one strategy children learn best from.

"If one child initiated the argument we could take that child aside and say, 'Ok, you don't get to use video games for the rest of the afternoon because your brother was doing it first,'" said Schutta.

Structure

Schutta says also structure a solution to a behavior with a recurring pattern.

"You could take a step back and say, okay, can I structure this differently? Maybe we could have a sign up chart," she said.

Praise

She tells families to use the power of praise, especially directed toward a specific behavior.

"So you could decide five times on this day I am going to praise my child when they listen to me for the first time," said Schutta. "And when you start using praise strategically and be very specific and the positive behavior that child used, guess what -- they are going to start doing that behavior more often."

Reward

Schutta says limited rewards also go a long way.

"So, you could say, 'Every time you listen the first time to mom or dad, I am going to put a marble in the jar and after getting 10 marbles...' and then you involve the child. They could get an extra snuggle with you, an extra book at bedtime or I'll play your favorite game with you three times, but they have to be rewards the child wants to work toward as well."

The world's toughest profession isn't football. Schutta says parenting with strategy is far more effective than physical aggression. In total, she recommends ten positive discipline methods for parents that also include natural consequences, giving choices, showing understanding, parent messages and acceptable alternatives.

"Very few people get parenting classes and yet it is the toughest job we have. Why not be educated for the most important job we have? Raising your child well," she said.

Schutta will be holding a free discipline webinar for parents on Sept. 30 and shares a free parenting book, 20 Great Ways to Raise Great Kids.

Also visit her Facebook page for more tips and details of the upcoming event.


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