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Positive Discipline Strategies

When you have adopted a child, it’s important to understand any past injuries or traumas they may have dealt with — this will help you develop a positive discipline strategy. When seeking out healthy methods of discipline, consider your child’s age and personality. No matter what, it is vital that you create a safe and open environment, even when disciplining your child.

Sometimes a child’s emotional age is significantly lower than their biological age, which is why it is important to tailor your discipline strategies, language, communication, and expectations to their emotional age — this will help them better process the discipline and allow for a more connected experience with your child. Some examples of positive disciplinary action are below:

  1. Have predictable routines. Creating structure and routine will help a child understand expectations of them throughout the day. By keeping meals, bath time, and bedtime the same each day, you create a predictable routine and help alleviate stress caused by unplanned activities. Help your child understand that while we try to create routines, sometimes change can arise throughout the day. By communicating a change in your schedule and reminding them that their schedule will return to normal, you help them set expectations and learn how to handle change in a more productive way.
  2. Provide choices: By giving your child a choice you avoid a power struggle and create a sense of autonomy. You don’t give too many choices for this to work! A deluge of choices can often backfire, and lead to your child becoming overwhelmed and frustrated. Should your child try to introduce a third, or subsequent choice that was not originally given, remain firm and repeat the original choices. Remember: only give choices that you are actually comfortable with.
  3. Communicate: As adults, we may not realize that sometimes our child is not understanding what we are communicating. What makes sense in your head, doesn’t necessarily make sense in theirs. Keep in mind that you’ve had a lot of time to consider what you’re saying, or how you want to discipline your child. For your child, this information could be coming out of the blue and with very little time to process or comprehend. If you find that your child is consistently misunderstanding what you’re saying, do the work. Talk them, understand how you can communicate more clearly and in a way that suits their comprehension. It’s only proper communication if the other person is able to understand, interpret, and then act upon what you’re saying. To avoid control battles, try turning negative statements into positive ones. 

Employing consistent and structured discipline routines will encourage children to make positive behavioral choices, supporting a happier, healthier child, and a happier, healthier family.