Positive discipline

The Best Strategies To Discipline Children

This article discuss the pros and cons of positive discipline vs punishment.
Bringing up a child is a huge responsibility. All responsible parents want their children to be good, kind, considerate, and sociable. However, it is not an easy task. Children, even young children have ideas of their own and want to do things their way. Often they may do things that are not right or that you, as a parent, disapprove of. You need to intervene and have to discipline the child to discontinue the undesirable behaviour. Intervening and teaching a child to not repeat the same thing can be done in two ways – disciplining or punishing your child. Often the two terms are considered to be the same, but there is a big difference between the two as you will learn.

Parents use both the means of intervention to prevent a repetition of misbehaviour, but the question here is which is better and more successful in teaching the child to not do it again. In this article, we will discuss both the methods of behaviour correction and then analyse which is better.  We will begin by looking at the punishment method.

Punishment and Its Efficacy in Behaviour Correction

Punishment is the method of behavioural correction that uses fear and penalty to alter, control and regulate a child’s behaviour. The penalty can be in the form of physical threat, emotional pressure, or punitive measures.

Physical Threat: Hitting, Shaking, Yelling, Spanking, etc. are forms of physical punishment.

Emotional Pressure: Insulting, calling names, cold-shouldering or not talking, withholding affection, etc are ways of punishing a child emotionally.

Punitive Measures: These would include preventing a child from playing, meeting friends, not allowing them to play, withholding food, etc. 

The problem with punishment is that it can often be counterproductive. The child does not know how to alter his or her behaviour, or what to do. It also leaves a child confused as it sends conflicting signals – it is ok for the parent to hit or scream but not for the child to do so.

positive discipline

Punishment can often be counter-productive

Punishment does not teach a child self-control and alter her/his behaviour. Since the control lies with the parent the responsibility of behaving well is also passed on to the adult rather than the child taking on the responsibility.  The children only learn to be careful and on their best behaviour only in front of the adults and revert to undesirable behaviour as soon as the back is turned.

Punishment can make the child angry at the punisher and prevents the child from thinking about the reason they were punished. It is not an ideal method to alter behaviour and teach a child self-control. The punishment method can often leave permanent scars on a child’s psyche. It impacts their health and wellbeing.

Punishment is not the best way to deal with misbehaviour. Let us take a look at Discipling.

Discipline and its Efficacy in Behavioural Correction

A discipline is a way to teach children skills to manage their behaviour, deal with their emotions and feelings, and solve problems. The aim is to teach, train and guide the child to learn self-control, manage their emotions, and make the correct choices when it comes to the way they behave.

Methods of disciplining include talking to, time-out, removal and withholding of privileges, and assignment of tasks that the child may not like. This helps the child to understand that there are consequences to their choices and behaviour and that their actions determine the consequences. Disciplining puts the control of their behaviour and actions in the hands of the child giving them more control and enhancing their understanding of the world and society.

Some of the techniques used by positive discipline may sound the same as that of punishment, but there is a difference in the outcome. Positive discipline teaches the child to understand the connection between their behaviour, its personal consequences, and also its impact on others. This gives the child something to think about and analyse their behaviour and its impact independently. The child can then choose to continue with the behaviour and face the consequences or to discontinue it and move on.

Why Positive Discipline Is Better

Positive Discipline helps the child to learn and grow. Here are the benefits of discipline:

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Guides behavioural changes through reasoning.
Takes into account a child’s emotional intelligence and encourages the child to express
himself/herself in the right way.
Teaches empathy towards others.
Teaches kindness and compassion.

Discipline creates a stronger bond between the caregivers and the child. The children have a more positive view of their parents or caregivers and rely on them more. It improves the child’s empathy towards others, which in turn helps to improve their emotional health. It instils better moral reasoning, problem-solving, and language development skills.

Children who are disciplined rather than punished have better resilience from stress and it enhances their sense of wellbeing.

Best Discipline Strategies For Pre-schoolers:

 While each child is different and the same things do not work for all, here are the best disciplining strategies for young children.

  • Redirect – children have a short attention span so it is easy to direct their attention to some other activity when they are misbehaving. If you do not want your child to suck its thumb, find an activity that would involve using the hands to distract her.
  • Take Notice of Good Behaviour – don’t always look for bad behaviour to discipline, when the child does something good, notice it and praise it.
  • Spend Time With The Child – when a child has misbehaved, instead of isolating the child, spend time with him or her, read a book or draw something. Once the child is calm then discuss the consequences of the behaviour.
  • Show and Tell – teach the difference between right and wrong in a calm tone. Let the child learn from your reactions. 
  • Hear Out the child – it is important to listen too. Let your child give her account of the action and then help him/her to solve the problem.

There are no bad children, only bad behaviour.



In conclusion, it is clear that positive discipline will help your child to alter her behaviour and become better. At Green Grass Nursery, we do not believe in punishment. We follow the way of positive discipline to teach our students to differentiate between right and wrong. Our teachers follow the principles discussed above to modify and correct the behaviour of our students.

Arwa Naccho
Green Grass Nursery

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