Inside: Many parents strive for positive parenting but aren’t sure how to implement positive discipline strategies for the most challenging child behaviors.
The path to positive discipline is not a straight one.
If you’re hustling hard after positive parenting but feel like you fall short in times of stress you’re not alone.
It’s much easier to be a mindful and conscious parent when things are going as planned and your kids are not launching things at each other’s heads during a road trip to Florida for Spring Break (this may or may not have happened to me yesterday).
It’s only natural you’d be triggered by your child’s challenging behaviors because you‘re human.
You also know from recent neuroscience that positive discipline is the most effective and emotionally healthy way to improve child behavior in a long-term and meaningful way.
So how do you tackle your child’s tough behaviors in a respectful and effective way when stress is high and patience is low?
The Key to Positive Discipline Success
When your oldest child is picking on their younger sibling or your toddler smacks you in a fit of anger, your brain automatically goes into ‘reactive parent-stress mode’ due to your (healthy and mostly handy if you need protection from danger) limbic system.
What your healthy limbic system does not do is make it easy to stay calm, logical and respond to your struggling child’s underlying needs with the positive parenting skills you strive for.
The key to successfully implementing positive discipline is to have a plan in place before you’re stuck in the heat of your fight or fight response.
It’d be lovely if there was a one-size-fits-all formula for disciplining a child, but humans and their behavior is just more complicated than that.
In an effort to simplify where we can, here’s 12 of the most common child behaviors parents struggle to implement positive discipline with and a collection of solutions grounded in positive discipline principles.
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Common challenging behaviors and how to respond with positive discipline strategies
Do phrases like “you never let me do anything!” and “it’s not fair!” leave you feeling frustrated and ready to snap? It’s way too easy to take these comments personally when in reality, they have little to do with us.
Check out how to handle these common complaints from kids with grace from A Military Wife and Mom, 10 Powerful Responses when Your Child Whines or Complains.
When it comes to how to discipline a toddler, handing the dreaded ‘temper tantrum’ during the toddler and pre-schooler years is a must-know skill.
Positive Parenting Connection gives light to why kids have emotional outbursts as well as parent do’s and don’ts in What Really Works to Help Children with Tantrums.
Taking the kids with you to the store is already overwhelming enough…then cue the begging and pestering!
Here’s an amazing idea to address your child’s pestering in a respectful and sanity-saving way from Happy You Happy Family, A Simple Trick to Run Errands with No Whining From Your Kids
|Giving up Easily
For some kids, perseverance and resilience come easy, and for others, it is a much different story. Here are research-based strategies from A Fine Parent that help you teach what your child really needs in these frustrating moments, confidence.
Feel like your kid won’t listen until you start to yell? It might work in the moment but then we all know… it sets up a precedent of yelling which is detrimental to what you’re trying to accomplish with positive parenting techniques.
Here are 5 tips that inspire a child to listen: How to Get Your Child to Listen Without Yelling
Defiance is the number one trigger for many parents! This age by age guide on understanding and handling defiance with positive discipline from Aha Parenting will have you feeling cool as a cucumber the next time your child throws out “you’re not the boss of me!”. Handling Defiance: You’re Not the Boss of Me!
This article from Parenting From the Heart outlines a great strategy for approaching back-talk and arguing with your child that takes a few extra minutes up front but saves you many more minutes of wasted time with ineffective lectures and nagging, How to Stop Balk-talk and Restore Peace in Your Family
Handling aggression with positive discipline is not easy when parenting toddlers or older children. Aggressive behaviors are jarring for parents and kick us quickly into our bodies own stress response.
Here’s a 5-step plan (with examples) from Rebecca Eanes that leads you through how to discipline a child showing aggression with positive discipline strategies, How to Be A Positive Parent with an Aggressive Child.
Learn a step-by-step framework for helping your kids get the root of their conflict from Imperfect Families and the best part… you’ll also be helping them learn to work things out on their own in the long-term!
At the end of the day we’re at the end of our rope. That doesn’t mean our child doesn’t need us to be present and supportive.
This is a super helpful insight on bedtime stress from Your Modern Family, highlighting how bedtime issues can often be traced back to separation anxiety. Here’s how to help, Nighttime Separation Anxiety- 8 Tips to Help them Sleep.
Hearing your child say negative and defeatist comments like “I’m so stupid” or “nobody likes me” is heartbreaking and can be a tricky thing to address.
This article from Nurture and Thrive helps you support your child in these very moments and also turn it into something more positive and productive, How to Help Turn Your Child’s Negative Self-Talk into Kindness
It’s way too easy to make a mountain out of a molehill when our kids are less than honest with us. Don’t fret- these 7 tips from Positive Parenting Solutions make it much less stressful to address when your child is dishonest.
If Positive Discipline is hard you’re doing it right
Helping guide your child with positive discipline is much more about fostering a strong bond with your child, growing your understanding of your child and establishing limits and boundaries in a culture of respect, and much less about a set formula or strict guidelines.
As parents and humans, we want answers and we want them now. If only there were a simple formula for growing a well-adjusted human!
When we trust the vast power of connection, modeling and child development while grasping the true meaning of discipline (teaching not punishing) when we approach our child’s challenging behaviors, we’ll be off to a darn good start.
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