Monday, July 30, 2012

Five Criteria for Positive Discipline

There are five criteria that effective discipline methods must meet.  Positive Discipline:

1.  Is kind and firm at the same time.
2.  Creates a sense of belonging and significance.
3.  Is effective long-term.
4.  Teaches valuable social and life skills.
5.  Teaches children to use their power constructively and to discover they are capable.

If you can honestly look at what  you are doing with your children in the form of discipline and say that it meets all five of these criteria then you are doing great.  If you can say that it meets them even half the time, then in my opinion you are still doing pretty good.

Kindness and firmness are an underlying theme in Positive Discipline and Montessori.  I will be discussing them in greater detail in a few weeks from now.  For now just think of kind and firm as sticking to your guns with a smile on your face and in your tone of voice, and less in the good cop bad cop way.

Belogning and significance are what Alfred Adler and Rudolph Dreikers  found that all people, especially children, are looking for.  Jane Nelson then goes on to say that when children don't get belonging and significance from the family, they are more likely to go looking for it the wrong way.  When they do this, the behaviors that we observe are often called misbehavior.

Discipline that is effective long term, teaches instead of punishes. Rather than making children feel bad, positive discipline aims to make them feel better, so that they will do better.

Through Positive Discipline we aim to teach our children valuable social and life skills, like how to communicate, problem-solve, and to feel capable and self confident.

By teaching children to be independent, capable problem solvers, we enable them to use their personal power constructively.  Adolescents and young adults are filled with energy and power and they are capable of doing so much, good or bad.  It is essential for parents and teachers to help them to use this power to contribute to their family, community and world.

I hope this was a helpful overview of the Five Criteria of Positive Discipline!

Next week we will work with the tool: Empowering Children.


  1. this great for little kids (preteens),but when it comes to teens forget it. you try to talk to them and all you get is screw, f--- you , that's if your lucky cause sometimes you get a fist in the face or they throw something @ you. I have a friend who's 49 and is scared of her 14 yr.old daughter and lets her (daughter) boss her around. So what are parents with kids like this to do???

  2. I am sorry to hear that your friend is having a difficult relationship with her daughter. Although teens can be difficult, I don't think that this is the way it has to be. Teens, just as younger children, do better when they feel better. As teens start to explore the boundaries of their independence, the relationship with parents has to change. Although this change can be scary for parents, it is necessary to remain Kind and Firm with limits and provide a safe and respectful place for their teens to grow. It sounds like your friend and her daughter could benefit from finding a connection. When teens feel that they belong and are significant at home, they are less likely to go looking for that elsewhere.