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4 Criteria for Effective Discipline: Kind and Firm

by Hannah Slattery, LPC, NCC

It’s time to dive deeper into understanding the basics of Positive Discipline. When beginning to incorporate Positive Discipline into your household it can be easy to go back to old beliefs, children have to always obey, I am the boss, etc. Remember Positive Discipline is fostered on the understanding that we are to teach our children with firmness and kindness. Firm being the follow through on appropriate consequences and kindness meaning in a way that encourages learning from the mistake. After a child has understandably made a mistake, we all do, it’s time to put into place the criteria that will allow for an enriching space instead of punitive. Below are the criteria and more-so questions for yourself when working through a child’s mistake and consequence.

4 Criteria for Effective Discipline.

  1. Is it kind and firm at the same time?

  2. Does it help children feel a sense of belonging and significance?

  3. Is it effective long-term?

  4. Does it teach valuable social and life skills for good character?

Now after reading these questions, I want you to think about the last consequence you gave to your child. Did it include some, any, or all of these criteria? Fear not, this again is a space that does not use shame or guilt to punish. Just like when working with our children regarding a mistake or issue, we can take some time afterward to see what could have been done differently.

So, let’s take the example you were thinking of and I’d encourage you to rewind, give yourself a do-over and think about how you could have handled it differently.