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Positive Discipline

September 12, 2012, 6:20 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Positive Discipline

If you're a parent, you've likely told your kids "no" or "stop doing that." But family life educators say there are better techniques to discipline your children, especially when they're young.

Parenting can be quite puzzling at times. With four children, Shannon McCrary knows that.

"Frequently there's somebody yelling, crying and talking loud," McCrary said.

McCrary says with her oldest two children, she used more negative discipline techniques, but now aims for the positive.

“Saying no may stop a behavior, but it probably won't teach them what the correct behavior is," Avera Certified Family Life Educator Doniese Wilcox said.

Some examples of positive communication include saying you need to walk instead of don't run or you need to color on that paper instead of don't color on that.

"As they get a little older you can add the negative and say, 'You need to keep your feet on the floor. No jumping on the couch.' If you say that to a toddler, jumping is the word they're going to hear and that's what they're going to do," Wilcox said.

Wilcox says at age four, you should add in why children are disobeying.

"You need to keep your feet on the floor. No jumping on the couch. That will wreck the couch, or you will get hurt or whatever the reason," Wilcox said.

Wilcox says you should use positive discipline about 75 percent of the time because how you reprimand them when they're pretending to be a grown up will impact what kind of person they will actually become as adults.

"Positive, respectful discipline results in a higher self esteem. They can be more curious, feel more capable and control their own behavior," Wilcox said.

"Some tricks I've learned are take a deep breath and just having empathy toward them, understanding they're not going to be perfect. They are going to make mistakes, and it's my job to train them," McCrary said.

And of course Wilcox says parents have to pack plenty of patience. You have to discipline a toddler around 30 times for doing something before they understand it.

If you would like to learn more about parenting, Avera is hosting a free parenting program.  For information on how to take part, call 322-3663.

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