Positive Discipline is really just a newer way to describe some very old ideas. There are many sayings that confirm the importance of positive discipline with children. “You get more bees with honey than with vinegar,” and “the carrot works as well as the stick” suggest to us that a system of discipline is more effective when it uses rewards or positive discipline, rather than sanctions, or negative discipline.

Positive discipline is thought to promote self worth. While negative discipline tends to focus on what the child has done wrong, positive discipline tends to focus on what the child did right, or what the child could have done right. By focusing on how the child was behaving, you make her more likely to behave. When you focus on misbehavior and reward it with attention of any sort, even negative attention, you reinforce it.

Positive discipline is also effective in dealing with children because it teaches children to be respectful. When you are using positive discipline, you are behaving respectfully toward the child. Make eye contact when talking to children. Get down to their level, rather than talking at them from a distance. When you do talk to your child about discipline, tell them what it is that you want them to do. Rather than focusing on the negative behavior, tell them what the right behavior is. Don’t tell them not to bounce the ball in the house; instead, tell them that the ball will bounce better when it is outside. By showing children this sort of respect, you are more likely to see them show this sort of respect.

Positive discipline is also an effective way to deal with children in that it teaches children to be empathetic. Finally, empathy is a great tool in positively disciplining children. Learn to listen to what they are saying, and feel what they are feeling. Conversely, help them to understand how others feel. Explain, for example, that when your son pulls his sister’s hair, it feels bad, like the time your son accidentally fell on the sidewalk. By being empathetic and encouraging empathy, you can positively discipline your child.

Many parents find that positive discipline is the most effective way that they have found to deal with their children.