Limits - Discipline

11 teachings of positive discipline on the education of children


Mutual respect, love, limits, balance, empathy, discipline ... There are certain words that cannot be lacking in the vocabulary that makes up the education of our children. Combining them all and building the best parenting is a very complicated task (and one that we learn every day), however, it is very enriching. What lessons can we learn frompositive discipline about the way we educate children?

We have spoken with Alexandra Pérez, certified teacher in positive discipline and mother of a girl, to give us some of the keys on how to educate children with love and respect, but also with firmness. Let's look at some of the most important conclusions that you have given us.

What is positive discipline? What can we learn from it? What should we reflect as parents? How can we exercise conscious parenting? Let's see!

1. Without affection and firmness, we don't go anywhere as parents
There are many parents who believe that positive discipline consists of saying yes to everyone and letting children do whatever they want. Nothing could be further from the truth. Neither authoritarianism nor permissiveness will help us educate our children. It is about accompanying children with affection, kindness and firmness. In this way, we can empathize and understand the needs of children, but also the needs of the different situations that happen in our day to day.

2. In parenting, respect should always be mutual
That children respect their parents and that parents respect their children; this is the key to bonding with children. Positive discipline is committed to putting aside vertical relationships (in which parents rule and children obey) and betting on horizontal relationships (in which all members are at the same level). This often requires us parents to overcome some of the patterns that we inherited and saw in our parents.

3. There are no magic techniques for children to start 'behaving well'
There are fathers and mothers who desperately seek positive discipline techniques that just by applying them will change the behavior of their children. However, positive discipline is more than 'a bundle of magical techniques'; It is a way of life (a way of being and a way of being with ourselves and with childhood) that can be applied to the education of our children, but also to our love relationships, to our friendships, etc.

It is a change in the way we relate to other people; a change that must start from ourselves. Hence, we cannot 'apply' these techniques to our children and hope that they alone will begin to change their behavior. It is about reviewing our way of being, our way of facing what happens, our way of relating to them, what moves us inside ... Based on this reflection we can educate our children from positive discipline.

4. Children are not bad
When a child does not have the behavior that we want - the behavior that we have decided to be good - we say that he is a bad child (or that he misbehaves). Positive discipline proposes going one step further and understanding what this behavior is due to.

To do this, we must ask ourselves what is happening around our child so that he behaves in a certain way and, what is more important, we must ask ourselves what we as parents are doing so that our child has that behavior. Are we passing on the false belief that to connect with us you need to cry and throw away the toys? Are we showing her that for us to buy her something she has to have a tantrum?

This reflection should be done without blaming ourselves for how we are exercising motherhood or fatherhood, since we can never forget that we are doing the best we can.

5. Saying 'no' does not work with children; it is better to accompany them
Often, just without realizing it, we enter a loop of 'no's' directed at our children: 'don't shout', 'don't take that', 'don't get on', 'don't touch' ... However, we can't forget that 'no' is an empty particle of content, that is, it does not educate children. It is true that it does have an immediate effect, since it stops a child's behavior (for example, your child stops picking up that object), however, it does not allow him to learn in the long term why he should not pick it up.

So instead of saying 'don't touch that,' we can convey to them, 'honey, I know you want to play with this, but it's valuable to mom. We're going to put it here and think about what other things you can play with. '

6. We also have to stop saying 'nothing happens'
This phrase so simple and so repeated throughout the day, 'Nothing happens', seems innocent, but in reality the message it sends to children is very different. It is a way of overriding the emotions that the child is feeling at that moment.

It may be that from our adult vision nothing happens because another person takes our toy; but from the eyes of a child it does matter. If we say 'nothing is happening', we are transmitting to him that the anger he is feeling is something invalid, unnecessary and silly, because nothing is happening. Over time, children will understand that emotions do not have to be expressed, because 'nothing happens'.

7. Dialogue, dialogue and more dialogue on children's education
Often, and as much as we have talked about the way we want to educate children before they are born, motherhood and fatherhood changes everything and puts us to the test. This can cause a father and a mother not to have the same way of educating their children.

What can be done in these cases? Alexandra recommends that, as with our children, we must establish a horizontal relationship with our partner. This means talking and reaching a common point (without trying to impose ourselves). Although it may not seem like it, it is an opportunity to grow as parents and learn from mistakes.

8. Every child is different; let's not try to compare the brothers
Many parents wonder how their children, having grown up in the same environment and in the same way, are so different. We cannot forget that each child is unique, that is why we cannot pretend that siblings are the same. Different temperaments, different ways of looking at things, different tastes and needs ... We must accept all these differences and not try to compare them.

That is why we must accompany each of our children according to what they need. And if fights arise between siblings (which is normal and frequent) we must ensure that the children know that we are going to be there to accompany them, although we must never prejudge or force or categorize (give that to your sister, the culprit is you who are higher).

9. In the face of a tantrum, the first to calm down are us
Alexandra defines the tantrum as an emotional release that prevents children from regulating their emotions. We must be the parents, from the calm, those who help them to face that maelstrom of emotions that they feel.

But, it is not always easy to remain calm when our child is crying and screaming, right? We ourselves must reflect on what it is that prevents us from being calm in a moment of tantrum. Are we ashamed that other people judge us as parents because our child has a tantrum? Does it remind us of a bad experience? It is about finding what prevents us from stopping and working on it so that, when the time comes, we can guide and accompany our enraged children.

In case we are unable to maintain that calm (nothing happens, we are human beings), we must ask our partner for help and withdraw to calm down.

10. It is not always better to hug children when they have a tantrum
Many parents believe that when their children are having a tantrum, it is best to run and give them a hug. In many cases, children may be reassured by this show of affection. However, in many other cases this hug could make them more nervous. And is that each child is different and, therefore, each child needs something different. It will be more effective to ask them questions such as: do you want me to fuck you? or how can I help you? Don't forget that no one knows your children better than yourself to know what they need at that time.

The first thing is to try to make the child calm down and once he is calmer we can talk to him ('I know you have been angry a lot, I saw that you yelled, I know you wanted us to buy that toy, but mom told you that today it couldn't be), always avoiding sermons and eternal explanations. However, it is important not to give in to the demands of the child, as he will learn that this is the way to proceed when he wants something.

11. It is better to teach children tools than to tackle a problem that already exists
Anticipating the complicated situations that can appear in children's daily lives is the key to avoiding them. If we know that a certain circumstance makes our son very nervous, we must teach him tools so that he also knows how to tackle the problem before it happens.

For example, we build a safe corner at home to which we can invite the child whenever we think he is getting nervous (in time, he will be the one who comes to this corner when he feels nervous). Sometimes it is impossible to anticipate and such difficult situations occur. If that is the case, it is best to accompany the children to calm them down.

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