Parents should beat their children for discipline

Positive Discipline: Parents Tips for Positive Upbringing | UNICEF

Fortunately, there are more appropriate approaches to parenting - and one of them is called positive discipline. How can the approach help parents develop a positive relationship with their child and exemplify skills such as responsibility, collaboration and self-discipline? We talked to Lucie Cluver, professor of child and family social work at Oxford University and mother of two boys.


"Parents do not want to yell at their children or hit them. But sometimes it happens anyway, for example because we are stressed or cannot see a way out of a situation," says Cluver.

One thing is certain, however: Shouting and hitting are no solution. On the contrary, we harm our children with it. Repeated yelling at or hitting children can even be detrimental to their entire lives. The persistent "toxic stress" that children experience can have a number of negative consequences and, for example, exacerbate the risk of dropping out of school, depression, drug use, suicide and heart disease.

© UNICEF / UNI346411 / Panjwani

Rather than punishing children and focusing on what shouldn't happen, the positive discipline approach seeks to build healthy relationships with the child and encourage positive behavior. The good news is it works! And in this way:

1. Spend time together

Time for two is important to any relationship, especially the relationship with our children. "That can be 20 minutes a day. Or just five minutes. You can combine it with other activities, such as singing a song while doing the dishes or talking while hanging up the laundry," says Cluver. "It is important to concentrate fully on your child. The television and mobile phone should be switched off. It's about really getting involved with the child."

2. Recognize positive behavior

As parents, we often turn our attention to the negative behavior of our children, to what is not going well. Children then notice that their negative behavior can attract their parents' attention. This encourages negative behavior instead of stopping it.

But children need praise and encouragement to make them feel loved and empowered. Therefore: "Recognize positive behavior and praise your child for it, even if, for example, they only played five minutes with their siblings," recommends Cluver. "This can encourage positive behavior."

3. Clearly communicate expectations

"It's much more effective when you clearly tell your child what to do than what not to do," says Cluver. "For example, if you ask your child not to make a mess or behave, the child is confused about what to do." However, if you make it very clear what you expect of them, such as "Please clean up all the toys and put them in the box", the child will understand better what you are asking of them and will be more likely to do so.

"But it's important to have realistic expectations. If you ask your child to be quiet all day, it won't do as well as if you asked your child to talk to you on the phone for ten minutes leave, "says Cluver. "You know your child and what is possible for them. If you ask about the impossible, you will not get very far."

4. Distract creatively

In a difficult situation, it can sometimes help to cleverly distract children with something positive. "If you distract your child by, for example, changing the subject, suggesting a game, changing rooms, or going for a walk, their energy will be directed towards something positive," says Cluver.

Timing is crucial. Because it is also about recognizing when a situation could escalate and reacting in good time. If parents are attentive and notice that their child is starting to get fidgety, irritable or angry, or if two siblings are looking at the same toy, tense situations can be resolved in good time.

5. Offer positive solutions and alternatives

It is part of growing up to learn that our actions have consequences. When boundaries and rules are clearly communicated, children learn to take responsibility for their behavior.

If the consequences are announced in good time, children can still change their behavior. For example, if you want your child to stop painting the walls, you can kindly ask them to stop and announce that otherwise you will end their playtime. Then your child knows what to expect and has the opportunity to change their behavior.

If that doesn't help, stay calm and kind, but consistent. "Praise yourself for it - it's not easy," said Cluver.

Then, when your child stops painting their walls, acknowledge it and give praise to your child. "This creates a circle of positive feedback for your child. This is very effective in teaching children the consequences of their wrongdoing," explains Cluver.

© UNICEF / UNI319330 / Veska

In "positive parenting" it is important to be consistent and realistic. "You can forbid your teenage child from picking up their cell phone for an hour, perhaps. But if you announce a week without a cell phone, that's hard to do."

Dealing with Younger Children

Time together for two is fun - and it doesn't cost anything! "Imitate one another, hit spoons against pots, or sing together," explains Cluver. "There is amazing research that shows that gaming promotes brain development."

Dealing with older children

Just like younger children, teenagers crave recognition and praise. Time together as a couple is also important for them. "Many enjoy dancing together or talking to their parents about their favorite singer, even if they don't show it," explains Cluver. "Such moments contribute to a positive relationship that is oriented towards the needs of the children."

When it comes to boundaries, "ask your child to set the rules together," suggests Cluver. "Sit down and define what is and what is not. This way your children will feel respected and understand that children want to develop into independent people."

© UNICEF / UNI321591 / El-Dalil

Tips for parents during the Covid-19 pandemic

The corona pandemic has turned all of our lives upside down, families are particularly affected. Here are some tips that can help you deal with difficult situations.

1. Stop

All parents know how stressful it feels when children act "difficult". Stop and press the "pause button". Take five deep breaths slowly and you will notice that you can deal with the situation in a calmer and more conscious manner. "A short break can be very helpful, parents stress that over and over again," advises Cluver.

2. Take a step back

Many parents forget to take care of themselves. "Take time for yourself, for example when the kids are in bed, and do something that is good for you and calms you down. It's difficult to get everything right if you don't take a break," says Cluver.

3. Pat yourself on the shoulder

"It's easy to forget how many great things you do as a parent every day and you should praise yourself for that." Every day, for example when brushing your teeth, take a moment and ask yourself: 'What did I do particularly well with my children today?' And be aware that you have always achieved something great, "advises Cluver. And says:" Even in difficult situations you are not alone. Millions of parents around the world try to do their best every day and we don't always make it. And then we'll try again. We can get through this together! "

** This blog post has been translated and adapted for you. He appeared here in the original.

To this day, violence against children - worldwide as in Germany - is far too often tacitly accepted, downplayed or even justified. In particular, the extent and consequences of psychological violence against children are often underestimated. With the #Never Violence campaign, UNICEF wants to raise awareness of the issue of everyday violence against children. Learn more