Dare to Discipline: What is Positive Parenting?


By Mylene Enrile

The struggle is real – it’s not all sunshine and flowers from the get-go, and though new parents gush about every little achievement and celebrate precious “firsts” – the first smile, the first step, the first haircut without fussing, the first day of school and so on – they often realize that it is quite a challenge to wear different hats (being a parent, teacher, cook, driver, nurse, advisor, friend) and wear them at the appropriate time.

And then we sometimes fail. And we sometimes hurt our children’s feelings, especially when they’re old enough to assert himself as someone separate from you. The first time your toddler shouts a vehement “NO!” to any of your requests shows how he is savoring his newfound power to decide for himself. That first awareness of his separateness from you is a natural and healthy development.

The child’s need for self-assertion must be understood so as to harness your opportunities to teach him about individuality, independence, discipline, and responsibility. What’s the key to a peaceful negotiation? Offer the toddler choices and options. Let him or her pick his clothes for the day, for example, and allow him or her to choose from the options you offer.

How do we avoid power struggles with our strong-willed kids? How do we get around it if the power struggle is already established?

We dare to discipline.

We dare to discipline with positive parenting. If you are already in a power struggle, consistency is the key. You cannot say one thing and do another, and that goes for both parents who tend to contradict each other in front of kids. Support your partner’s decision if that decision to withhold a privilege from your child as a “consequence” for a wrongdoing is meant to teach your child and not necessarily to punish.

Remember that everything is new to them from toddlerhood to teenage years. You know better. So “punish” is neither the right word, nor the right mindset when you want to teach them a lesson. Teach them that for every action and decision, there are always “consequences”.

If your child did the right thing, then the consequence for every good thing he does is appreciation. Appreciation does not have to be expressed in gifts, though there is nothing wrong with a material reward. Your child must understand that he is not entitled to receive material rewards all the time. The most important reward will be acknowledgement from you, his teacher and parent.

If your child did something wrong, and sometimes these things may hurt him without him knowing, it is important for you to have a talk first. Sometimes his words may flare your own temper, and that’s okay, as long as you remember as a parent why you’re having this “talk” in the first place. It was never to argue about who is right. It is always about teaching him the right way, for the wrong path may hurt him and would eventually hurt you too.

To simulate an unfavorable “consequence” to a bad “life decision”, start them early. Teach them that  life is not a bed of roses. Withhold a privilege. Make it reasonable and dignified. No going out on weekends, or postponing his request to buy a toy, or making him does gardening whether he likes it or not. Make the consequence time-bound. Should it last a week? 2 weeks? Keep your emotions in check and be firm in carrying out the “consequence”. Teenagers who have behavioral problems rooted in possible depression may need your extra care and attention. You may consider seeking professional help through a counselor.

Thinking about all these mechanics of parental control seemed a far cry from the discipline set by older generations who sometimes resort to corporal punishment. We cannot judge a parent or even ourselves if we made mistakes. Love must rule our every action, our every decision, and sometimes, this love can be unbearably painful for parents who struggle with children who suffer from behavioral disorders. It is always important to seek professional help when the need arises.  We must see discipline as a holistic mechanism of training our kids to survive life on their own, even if we have to sacrifice some of our own desire to shield that once-a-small-bundle-of-joy from every pain possible.


Mylene Enrile is a passionate content writer, bank team member, outdoor enthusiast and her favorite role of all – being a mother. She writes to inspire people on the things that make life beautiful- the daily struggles of work-life balance, the bonds of friendship and family, and the power of positivity in our everyday lives.


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