10 Characteristics of Positive Discipline

There are many moving parts to effective discipline and if you have been trying out Positive Discipline you may be surprised at the steep learning curve. Hopefully this list will help you to gain a little more clarity and direction.

10 Characteristics of Positive Discipline


  1. Views problems and challenges as opportunities for the child to learn. “Discipline is teaching.” It helps children better understand cause and effect and the outcome of their choices. Curiosity questions help here. “Can you help me understand what just happened?” “What did you think would happen?” What were you trying to do?”


  1. Parents hold reasonable and age appropriate expectations of their children and clearly communicate them in a variety of situations. Understanding the ages and stages will help you to more easily understand the behaviors and challenges. Setting the stage about what you expect before you go into a grocery store, the park, etc. will help the child understand his or her role in the situation.


  1. Separates the deed from the doer so that the child understands that the parent may not like his or her behavior but still loves the child unconditionally. The child will remain trusting and open if you maintain this unconditional positive regard.


  1. It introduces and uses problem solving to create solutions that involve the child. Involving the child with finding solutions automatically gets the child on board to work toward a positive outcome.


  1. It focuses on the needs and the feelings of the child beneath the behavior. You’ve been reading your child’s behavior since infancy and seeing that there is more going on than “naughtiness” will help you get to the root of the issue.


  1. Employs natural and logical consequences properly, not as an alternate way to punish. Tone of voice, being emotionally neutral and kind but firm will allow for the most effective implementation.


  1. Parents set limits and maintain consistency and follow through with what they said or what was agreed on. Negotiating, debating and changing your decisions will encourage more limit testing by your child.


  1. Uses encouragement rather than praise to recognize effort, progress and attitudes. This gives the child helpful feedback and invites the continuation of positive behavior


  1. Encourages the full expression of the child’s feelings but will limit the behavior. “You may be angry and yell but I won’t let you hit your sister.”


  1. Encourages parents to maintain a high level of respect for the child’s dignity as a unique individual, making no comparisons to others. Comparisons set up competition and undermine relationships within the family.  When you are respectful you are modeling it for your child and will receive respect in return.


L.Olson 04/16

About The Author

Lois Olson

Founder of The Montessori Children's House Inc. Laramie, Wyoming Montessori Primary Certification 1973
Systematic Training for Effective Parenting facilitator certification
Thirty eight years of experience working with children ages 3-6
Twenty five years facilitating parenting groups
Ten years facilitating teacher training
B.A In Psychology