The Results of Positive Discipline
Positive discipline has very little to do with punishing your child. When you practice consistent positive discipline you are constantly encouraging good behavior in your child. Discipline has everything to do with:
- Giving your child the tools to succeed in life.
- Doing whatever you have to do to like living with your children.
- Discipline is based on building the right relationship with a child more than using the right techniques.
- Helping your child develop inner controls that last a lifetime.
Parents and Children that are Connected
One day I was watching a family in my waiting room. The child played happily a few feet away from the mother, frequently returning to her lap for a brief emotional refueling, then darting off again. As he ventured farther away, he glanced back at her for approval. Her nod and smile said, “It’s okay,” and he confidently explored new toys. The few times the child started to be disruptive, the mother connected eye-to-eye with him and the father physically redirected him so that he received the clear message that a change in behavior was needed. There was a peace about the child and a comfortable authority in the parents. It was easy to see that they had a good relationship. I couldn’t resist complimenting them: “You are good disciplinarians.” Surprised, the father replied, “But we don’t spank our child.”
Our understanding of the word “discipline” was obviously different. Like many other parents, they equated discipline with reacting to bad behavior. She didn’t realize that positive discipline is mostly what you do to encourage good behavior. It’s better to keep a child from falling down in the first place than to patch up bumps and scrapes after he has taken the tumble.
Discipline Builds Habits that last a Lifetime
Positive discipline is everything you put into children that influences how they turn out. But how do you want your child to turn out? What will your child need from you in order to become the person you want him or her to be? Whatever your ultimate objectives, they must be rooted in helping your child develop inner controls that last a lifetime. You want the guidance system that keeps the child in check at age four to keep his behavior on track at age forty, and you want this system to be integrated into the child’s whole personality, a part of him or her. If your child’s life were on videotape and you could fast-forward a few decades, what are the qualities you would like to see in the adult on the tape?
Here is our wish list for our children:
Dr. Sears, or Dr. Bill as his “little patients” call him, has been advising busy parents on how to raise healthier families for over 40 years. He received his medical training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital in Boston and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the world’s largest children’s hospital, where he was associate ward chief of the newborn intensive care unit before serving as the chief of pediatrics at Toronto Western Hospital, a teaching hospital of the University of Toronto. He has served as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, University of South Carolina, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and University of California: Irvine. As a father of 8 children, he coached Little League sports for 20 years, and together with his wife Martha has written more than 40 best-selling books and countless articles on nutrition, parenting, and healthy aging. He serves as a health consultant for magazines, TV, radio and other media, and his AskDrSears.com website is one of the most popular health and parenting sites. Dr. Sears has appeared on over 100 television programs, including 20/20, Good Morning America, Oprah, Today, The View, and Dr. Phil, and was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine in May 2012. He is noted for his science-made-simple-and-fun approach to family health.