Do you know what Positive Discipline is?

Many parents feel frustrated today in their parenting journey because children don’t behave as they used to in the “good old days”, when orders were given and children silently obeyed them. Nowadays, children talk back, throw tantrums (far beyond the 2yo phase), make demands, shout, to give just a few examples.

What has happened?

One of the things is that children don’t have an example of a submissive behavior anymore. We women don’t obediently do what our husbands tell us to. No one, men or women, simply obey their boss for fear of losing their job. We all want to be respected and have a voice whatever the context.

Another reason is that in today’s society children don’t need to do their part to contribute to the family finances; therefore they have fewer opportunities to learn responsibility and motivation. Instead, children are given too much in the name of love and can easily develop an entitlement attitude.

Of course there are other things that contribute to the current context, but I just want to bring up these two right now to help with our awareness on why raising children presents different challenges nowadays.

Parents usually respond to the challenges in two different ways: some repeat the authoritarian ways of the past, resorting to punishment as a way to get children to behave better, while others become permissive parents, not knowing how to teach limits without resorting to punishments.

Positive Discipline is neither one or the other. Developed by Dr. Jane Nelsen, “it is based on the work of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs and designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful and resourceful members of their communities. Positive Discipline teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults (including parents, teachers, childcare providers, youth workers, and others).

Recent research tells us that children are hardwired from birth to connect with others, and that children who feel a sense of connection to their community, family, and school are less likely to misbehave. To be successful, contributing members of their community, children must learn necessary social and life skills.” ( 

What are the main concepts of the Positive Discipline?

The concepts of Positive Discipline include:

  • Mutual respect. Adults model firmness by respecting themselves and the needs of the situation, and kindness by respecting the needs of the child.
  • Identifying the belief behind the behaviour. Effective discipline recognizes the reasons kids do what they do and works to change those beliefs, rather than merely attempting to change behaviour.
  • Effective communication and problem-solving skills.
  • Discipline that teaches (and is neither permissive nor punitive).
  • Focusing on solutions instead of punishment.
  • Encouragement (instead of praise). Encouragement notices effort and improvement, not just success, and builds long-term self-esteem and empowerment.