Home Parenting Positive Parenting and the Value of Discipline

Positive Parenting and the Value of Discipline

by Vidya Sury February 11, 2013 36 comments
Positive Parenting

I believe in positive parenting. When I wrote a post on the Joy of Compassionate Parenting at Parentous last month it seemed natural that the next thing I would focus on would be the value of discipline in positive parenting.

One of the building blocks of positive parenting is Kindness and since it is Random Acts of Kindness Week from February 11 to 17, I want to focus on that today.

Your greatness is measured by your kindness; your education and intellect by your modesty; your ignorance is betrayed by your suspicions and prejudices, and your real caliber is measured by the consideration and tolerance you have for others.


William J.H. Boetcker (1873-1962)
Religious Leader, Influential Public Speaker

When we show kindness towards others and when others are kind to us, an obvious outcome is happiness.  And so, when we show kindness to our children in our actions and motives, it makes for a joyous relationship. Children are ready to listen and be responsive when we ask them to do something, especially if our requests are logical and make sense to them. Being considerate never hurt anyone.

My post today is about positive parenting and the value of discipline. I touch upon why children welcome routine and discipline and the problems likely to crop up with discipline. I share how we implement discipline, with some of the ways that have helped me, elaborating on the following:

  • Why we should emphasize the value of cooperation
  • Why focus on what we want and not what we don’t want
  • Why one should never discipline in anger
  • How we can help children cooperate by asking them for ideas

Ultimately, behavior is a choice. We all have the power to choose good – or bad – behavior. Handholding children through the consequences of each choice and the response it was likely to evoke in others keeps their dignity intact instead of making them feel bad.

Positive parenting, finally is all about being able to answer this question honestly”Can I take this if I were a child?”.

Positive Parenting: The Value of Discipline

In my last post, The Joy of Being a Compassionate Parent, I mentioned that “compassion is not about allowing children to do whatever they want. It is not about letting them get away with anything they do” – which gave me the idea for today’s post – the value of discipline.

Just like you and me, children need discipline in their lives to be their best selves. The good news is they actually want it. Children love routine. Without it, they feel alone and unloved. While they expect parents to set the limits, they also think it is their birthright to rebel against them. That being said, it is the parent’s job to set limits related to safety, health, education, morality, and inspire cooperation.

Easier said than done, you might say. It is not that hard, though. Problems with discipline usually crop up in the form of irritation from a physical cause such as hunger, lack of sleep, or some feeling of discomfort. Have you noticed that when you meet your child’s physical needs and yours, the world looks like a better place?

The same goes for emotional discomfort due to restlessness and usually, disappointment over something. Parents who yell or put down their children and worse – use physical violence – will only make things worse, causing pain for both and messing up this beautiful relationship forever.

How to implement discipline?

“Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes”. – Chinese Proverb

Obviously, discipline is a long-term job. Unless it has to do with safety-related issues, discipline is almost always related to more than one behavior. The idea, then, is to nurture a set of behaviors over time. Here are some ways that have helped me:

One major issue at my place, for a short while, was the time my son spent at the computer. So my son is not a fan of computer games, thankfully, but at that particular time, he was crazy about folk tales and could spend hours looking for new ones. He sometimes went way beyond the time cap of two hours.

Controlling my urge to let off steam, I cooled down and asked him what we should do the next time he did this. Promptly came the answer “refuse to let me sit at the computer”. Deprivation. Hmm. Out of the mouths of babes. Enough said. He also became conscious of keeping track of time.

My most important tip – and learning – would be something my Mom taught me in the way she related with me. Whenever she had to pull me up for something, she would tell me that my behavior is a choice. I have the power to choose good – or bad – behavior. She would handhold me over the consequences of each choice and the response it was likely to evoke in others. This kept my dignity intact instead of making me feel bad.

As I said earlier, we all want to be seen as positive people with good qualities. Children are no different.

Of course, they will drive you crazy, but don’t stay mad for too long. Above all, ask yourself, “Can I take this if I were a child?” If you said yes, congratulations!

Happy Valentine’s Day. Don’t forget to say your “I love you’s” to those you love.

What is your experience in introducing/implementing discipline? 

So you have probably read the following poem countless times, and so have I. But I feel fresh inspiration each time I read it:

Children Learn What They Live By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

 Wouldn’t you say the same holds good for adults?

Love does make the world go around!

And here are some lovely quotes on positive parenting:

All children behave as well as they are treated
– Anonymous

Praise your children openly, reprehend them secretly
– W. Cecil

Always kiss your children goodnight – even if they’re already asleep.
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
— Charles R. Swindoll


What are your views on positive parenting and introducing discipline?

Please share.

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Debbie February 11, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Positive parenting is a great way to parent and you have listed the result to expect when parents do this.

We are our children first teacher and what we teach them is going either make for a happy life or confused and sad life.

As a child would say, “Help me not to form bad habits and i am counting on you to detect them for me at an early stage.”

Love does make the world go around and positive parenting brings out that love. Whether it is in the form of hugs and kisses or discipline when we do it out of love only good shows it face.
Thank you vidya for sharing this post.

Vidya Sury February 13, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Thank you for your comment, Debbie. I love how children make us conscious of our actions – and encourage us to put our best foot forward! I am blessed with a very affectionate son!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Positive Parenting and the Value of Discipline

Julie Barrett February 11, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Vidya, I hope you are on the mend. As to parenting, I don’t have much to add…the only thing that seems to work to resolve conflicts amongt the brothers is to give choices.
Julie Barrett recently posted…What Scenes Will They Show You At Your Life Review?

Vidya Sury February 13, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Dear Julie, thank you for asking. My wounds are taking their time…and now I also have a throat infection and painful cough. Better everything together rather than in series, eh? 🙂

Yes, you have a point about the siblings resolving things among themselves – my Mom had 12 siblings and always described what fun it was squabbling!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Positive Parenting and the Value of Discipline

wendy February 12, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Thanks for the valuable and thoughtful insights, Vidya.
wendy recently posted…The Mouse Whisperer

Vidya Sury February 13, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Thank you, Wendy! You keep my spirits up!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Let’s Be Friends

Rahul February 12, 2013 at 10:17 am

Vidya, I agree with observations on positive parenting and those lovely quotes were icing on the cake!

Vidya Sury February 13, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Thank you, Rahul. Appreciate your kind words!
Vidya Sury recently posted…With Love and Gratitude

Kaarina Dillabough February 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm

The Dorothy Law Nolte poem hung on the wall of my child’s bedrooms from birth to teenager. They both now have copies for themselves as young adults. Great post! Cheers! Kaarina
Kaarina Dillabough recently posted…Business Lessons from a White Tiger – “The Way of the Tiger” by Lance Secretan

Vidya Sury February 13, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Thank you so much, Kaarina. That poem is very dear to me! Hugs!
Vidya Sury recently posted…I am Enough – An Affirmation

Glynis Jolly February 13, 2013 at 1:10 am

My children are grown now. I made my share of mistakes as a parent, but from what I see now in them as adults, nothing I did wrong was too serious. I found that if you tell a child why they are being corrected and how the act of correction is going to help them, they are a lot more receptive to it. For instance, if a child has treated a friend wrong, I would make the corrective act to be that the child must apologize. I would explain that this is what the child would want for his/herself. Yelling never works. It just creates bad feelings between the parent and child.

Vidya Sury February 13, 2013 at 4:26 pm

You are precisely right, Glynis! I too have realized that it is not important to be perfect – but do the right thing at the moment. I’ve gone through similar feelings, wondering whether what I did was okay – only to be reassured later that all was well. 🙂 I love that being a Mom is a lifelong education, often with children as our teachers 🙂

Thank you – I appreciate your support!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Paradise Found

Betsy/Zen Mama February 13, 2013 at 3:49 am

I am all about positive parenting! It’s the reason I wrote How To Be A Zen Mama and started my blog. But I had to go the opposite way to realize that it wouldn’t work and get back to my core ideas and put them back into practice. Love your quotes and your poem, too!
Great post Vidya!!
Betsy/Zen Mama recently posted…6 Ways To Make People Feel Good On Valentine’s Day

Vidya Sury February 13, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Hugs, Betsy! I thought of you while writing this. In fact I think of you whenever I write a parenting post! Thank you!
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Joy Of Compassionate Parenting

Sandra Pawula February 12, 2013 at 10:39 pm


I love the whole concept of “positive” parenting. Parents need help, encouragement and support just like what you’ve provided here. I especially love the poem. Sorry to have been away from your blog for awhile. My back acted up and kept me away from the computer for a bit.
Sandra Pawula recently posted…10 Life Lessons from Emma Jean

Vidya Sury February 13, 2013 at 4:19 pm

So sorry to hear about your back, Sandra – I know how painful that is. Please do take care of yourself! Love you and thanks for the nice comment! I admit I feel inspired when I read positive parenting posts elsewhere. Hugs to you. Hope you feel better soon!
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Power Of Positive Thinking

Terri Sonoda February 13, 2013 at 4:48 am

Excellent article Vidya! I am always delighted to read about positive parenting. I believe it is the only way to raise a happy, balanced child….one who has the foundation to grow up and help make the world a better place in which to live.
Terri Sonoda recently posted…Oh no you didn’t just give me that for Valentine’s Day!

Vidya Sury February 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Love you, Terri! I know you’re a wonderful Mom! Positive parenting is so worth it. I wouldn’t know any other way, as that’s all I knew from my own Mom! Hugs!
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Joy Of Compassionate Parenting

Carole Remy February 13, 2013 at 1:42 am

Hi Vidya,

I hope you’re starting to mend. I think good parenting stems from mutual respect and example. My father’s favorite phrase was, “I know you’ll make a good decision.” His quiet confidence in my inner voice was something I tried to give to my children as well.

With babies up to about two years, we need to guide. After two years, psychologists say that the personality is basically formed. Lay down a solid first two years (mostly by example), and kids will be off to a great start.

For example, rather than telling a child to apologize, model it. Say you’re sorry to the child when you screw up (we all do!). They`ll want to be just like mommy and daddy, and will soon be apologizing randomly! From that sweet impulse, it’s easy to demonstrate appropriate occasions.

Hugs and best wishes for your health,

Carole Remy recently posted…Twelve Nights! “We’re on Amazon, Boo!”

Vidya Sury February 13, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Wow, Carole! I grew up with my uncles and one of them always sat me down and said “Vidya, you can do it. I trust you” and I think what I am today, is largely thanks to his confidence.

I agree with you about the leading by example in the first two years – I am always amused by how my son does certain things exactly the same way as he did, when he started learning them.

We use something called the “rewind” when a situation seems like it might go the wrong way. 🙂 One of us smiles and says rewind! And we backtrack and start all over again. This is a game my son loves – and it is funny how, even as a teenager now (15 yrs) he is a serene guy!

Thank you for your kind wishes, Carole!
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Power Of Positive Thinking

Carole Remy February 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Your uncle sounds wonderful, Vidya. We all need someone like that in our lives.

We had little rituals too. My daughter was a light eater, and when we went to a restaurant it would be two french fries and she was done, so I asked her to eat her meat first. Now at 33, she still has the impulse to eat the meat first!

Hugs! Are you feeling better today?

Carole Remy recently posted…Twelve Nights! “We’re on Amazon, Boo!”

Vidya Sury February 13, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I am quite a slave to some habits, Carole – and I am lucky they’re good ones! 😀 I have now added a throat infection and hacking cough to my repertoire! This too shall pass! Thank you for your kind words!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Positive Parenting and the Value of Discipline

Carole Remy February 13, 2013 at 5:03 pm

We’re getting skinny! Hee hee. Something is really trying to get your attention, Vidya. Be careful!
Carole Remy recently posted…Twelve Nights! “We’re on Amazon, Boo!”

Ariadne February 13, 2013 at 8:43 am

We are talking about the same things this week as I wrote a whole post on Kindness as a building block for positive parenting in my ongoing series! Really enjoyed your words on this as well!
Ariadne recently posted…What Should Your 3 Year Old Know? A Development List.

Vidya Sury February 13, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Hi Ariadne – I went over to read your post – and it is just beautiful! It adds such fantastic value to my post – I linked the phrase, “building blocks of positive parenting is Kindness” to your post. This was my Mom’s most favorite phrases, you know.

Thanks so much for your comment. I look forward to following your blog!
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Joy Of Compassionate Parenting

Someone is Special February 15, 2013 at 5:31 am

Back here after a long gap to read an excellent article.. I loved it Vidya Mam.. Also, want to tell you that I like this template a lot.. 🙂

Someone is Special
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Vidya Sury February 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Saravana, Welcome. And congratulations! 🙂 I’ve been enjoying your lovely photos on Facebook. I fondly remember last year’s February – and the month of haikus!

Thank you for the kind words. Looking forward to seeing you again!

Ken Wert@MeanttobeHappy February 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Wonderful article, as always, Vidya! Everything we do is a lesson, an example, a pattern we lay down for our kids to follow, whether we want them following that example or not.

I think it is so sad that many parents treat their neighbors and even strangers better than their own children. But you can see it in their eyes and later, in their lives.

Thank you so much for this reminder of a kinder way to raise our kids.
Ken Wert@MeanttobeHappy recently posted…The Meaning of Love (quotes on love from name-brand bloggers)

Vidya Sury February 20, 2013 at 11:12 am

Oh Ken, I know what you mean. I had an uncle who was like that. Always kind to the neighbors, always yelling at and terrorizing everyone at home. The good thing was, he mellowed a great deal as he grew older. He actually became nice.

One of Vidur’s classmate’s Mothers is a fabulous person. She always praises her children in a very subtle way and the love they share – it is obvious. Point is, she never complains about them.

My Mother, she was always loving, no matter what. 😀 so you can see I have some very easy footsteps to follow.

Hugs and thank you – always appreciate your comment and presence!
Vidya Sury recently posted…The Gift Of Friendship

Unknown Mami February 16, 2013 at 9:42 pm

We’ve been having some issues with Put Pie and I remind her that she can choose to be happy and remarkably it works most of the time.
Unknown Mami recently posted…Possibility (Fragmented Fridays)

Vidya Sury February 20, 2013 at 11:13 am

Ah, the choice to be happy! The word “choice” works wonders in my house, too! 😀 What a nice habit! Hugs. You’re a great Mom, I know!
Vidya Sury recently posted…I am Enough – An Affirmation

Jodi @ Heal Now February 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm

I like the always kiss your children goodnight even if they are already asleep! So dear. I don’t htink I do that enough, but it starts today. And I want to make more time to greet them with a smile in the AM. And a hug! Thanks for this inspiration.
Jodi @ Heal Now recently posted…Writing To Heal-Words To Heal By

Vidya Sury February 20, 2013 at 11:14 am

Jodi, there’s a special joy in kissing a sleeping child. Oh, they look so different, so innocent. 😀 Hugs! Your kids are gorgeous!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Let’s Be Friends

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peter parker January 30, 2020 at 2:45 pm

one thing I want to mention here.
in our society I’ve seen many parent putting the examples of other children in front of them
I have also been through this phase.
A Child A is good at arts, he has wonderful talent of drawing and arts. but parents want their child to be a doctor without asking him,
then that child ruin their skills and start some thing which he is not good at.
he did all just to make their parents come true not his, resulting this mentality our society do not perform well and that’s the reason many people are not satisfied with their job


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