How to discipline your child without shaming them?

A person writing on a piece of paper about discipline

A lot of people believe that only being harsh with kids is the right way of controlling them. What they usually end up forgetting is that being publicly humiliating takes a huge toll on the confidence of a child. This ranges from toddlers to teens. The parents should try to implement respectful parenting.  This blog post is for parents who want to build a strong, lasting relationship with their children based on mutual respect and understanding. We’ll explore ways to discipline effectively without resorting to shame, promoting the development of healthy social-emotional skills and positive behaviors. 

A healthy relationship is formed by several things. These include:

  • Safe boundaries
  • Open communication
  • Sense of safety
  • Mutual understanding of each other’s feelings.

These are some simple ways that can help you in creating a very healthy parent-child relationship. Read the blog further for elaborated tips while dealing with kids belonging to a particular age.

Why shame hurts:

Shame can damage a child’s self-esteem and hinder their emotional development. It focuses on the child’s worth as flawed rather than addressing the specific behavior. Building a healthy parent-child relationship is very important, no matter the age of the kid. 

Positive discipline encourages learning and growth through respectful communication, clear expectations, and natural consequences. This approach fosters cooperation and empathy, ultimately leading to better self-regulation.

Age-appropriate strategies for positive discipline:

1. Toddlers (2-4 years old):

Toddlers are deeply impacted by how they are treated. It is very important that parents make a positive impact through their behavior. They should practice effective ways to discipline without yelling at the kid. 

Trying to Focus on redirection and positive reinforcement makes a big impact. Pay attention and praise positive behavior, no matter how small. “Thank you for sharing your toys!” or “I love how you helped clean up!” reinforces their good choices and encourages repetition. Go beyond “good job.” Point out specific actions: This helps them connect positive feedback with specific behaviors. Even baby steps deserve recognition. This helps in building your baby’s confidence and encourages them to continue on the right path. Age-appropriate discipline strategies for toddlers should be adopted 

2. Preschoolers (4-6 years old):

Preschoolers are young kids and are new to the outside world. Age-appropriate discipline strategies for toddlers will help you raise them into well disciplined individuals. It becomes important to deal with them patiently and not shame them. 

Instead of resorting to shame-based tactics that damage self-esteem, we can guide them towards desirable behavior with empathy and understanding. Imagine their world: they’re still developing impulse control and understanding social norms, so “misbehaviors” may simply be explorations, emotional expressions, or attempts to communicate needs. By validating their feelings, even if we disagree with the behavior, we create a safe space for communication. Gentle redirection, like offering engaging alternatives when toys fly, helps shift their focus and teaches them acceptable ways to express themselves. 

Setting clear, consistent boundaries around safety, respect, and kindness empowers them while natural consequences, like feeling cold without a jacket, teach cause and effect in a safe way. 

3. School-Aged Children (6-12 years old):

These kids in elementary school start to gradually learn more about the world. This is the age that starts building the character of the child. It is important for parents to ensure that they catalyse high self esteem for the kid. This is also the time where they build a strong self esteem. It is very important to make them feel good about themselves. Shaming them is the worst thing you can do as a parent. 

Focus on building your kid’s confidence by praising their cool skills. As a parent, you should motivate them to try new things, even if they make mistakes. Instead of shaming them, you should try to tell them, “that’s how we learn!”. Spend quality time playing games, talking, or doing stuff they love. Hugs and high-fives show them you care, and don’t forget to tell them you believe in them. This is the right time of teaching social-emotional skills through discipline.

4. Teenagers (13-18 years old):

At this age, parents need to be careful and sensitive about their child’s feelings. Parenting teenagers can be a task but the parents need to understand the different issues their kid might be dealing with. Overcoming common discipline challenges with teenagers involves understanding and sensitivity towards their feelings. 

It is a time for self-exploration and the creation of identity in the world. Teens are often considered irritable in nature but it is important to take their perspective in such a situation. Shaming them for their mistakes will lower their self-esteem. As parents, it is your responsibility to openly communicate with your kids. This will help them open up about their struggles. Once you get into their shoes, It will help you in looking at things in a different way and thus, building a healthy parent-child relationship.

Common discipline challenges and solutions:

As parents, you may often stand at points which may seem difficult. No matter what age your kid reaches, there will always be some clash of opinions between the two of you. To deal with them smoothly, having open and honest communication with your kid is very important. These are some common discipline challenges that parents usually face. 

1. Tantrums:

  • Stay calm, acknowledge feelings, and offer choices. This will help in positive parenting for your kid. Understanding each other’s perspective will give you a reason to justify each other’s behaviour. 
  • Provide a safe space for emotional release. Once the kids grow a little, they often think that their parents will not understand their struggles. It is very important that your kid trusts you and is not afraid of you. Only then, will it be possible for him/her to be emotionally vulnerable.

2. Defiance:

  • Make them understand that your actions are for their betterment. Help them realise that both of you are supposed to be a team and work together to make them into good human beings.
  • Offer positive attention for good behavior. This will give them a sense of accomplishment and make them feel acknowledged for their efforts. This will motivate them to act right ahead.

3. Lying:

  • Focus on understanding the motivation behind the lie. Usually, when a kid lies, it is because of fear of being ashamed or punished. Understanding why your kid lies will not only give you an insight into their thinking, It will also assure them that they can trust you. 
  • Teach about honesty and trust through open communication. Openly communicating helps in building mutual trust. Open communication helps greatly in building a positive discipline.

Every child is unique, and finding the right approach takes time and patience. Seek professional help if needed and celebrate your successes along the way! You can also take the help of books like ‘positive parenting books for beginners’ to get more ways of building a healthy relationship with your child.

It is important that parents understand that shaming is not the right way of disciplining a child. Doing so only induces fear and a lack of trust in the child’s heart. 

I hope this article will help you in understanding why positive parenting is important along with maintaining healthy and open communication with your child.