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Positive discipline: educating from mutual respect

Positive discipline: educating from mutual respect

December 1, 2022

In recent years there has been a change in education on the part of fathers and mothers, who work for an increasingly conscious education and that takes into account the global well-being of young people. This has resulted in more and more families becoming interested in finding a different way of educating their children, leaving aside the most authoritarian traditional punitive methods.

But on this transition path we also find ourselves fathers and mothers lost, disoriented, who have fallen into overprotection in trying to avoid authoritarianism, because they lack tools that allow them to find a middle ground between both educational styles. And these parents, mothers, and also educators, ask themselves, is education possible without rewards and punishments, without my son ending up being a tyrant?


Fortunately, it is possible, thanks to the methodology of mutual respect, positive discipline .

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What is positive discipline?

Parents, mothers and educators. We have the responsibility in our hands to improve the world, promoting an education based on respect for the other , an education based on love, on understanding, and on the use of error as an opportunity to learn ... and not in anger, not in blackmail, not in vertical relationships that only generate discomfort and power struggles between parents and sons. This pretension of humanistic character is what forms the basis of positive discipline.


This discipline has its origin in the individualistic psychology of Alfred Adler. Adler already explained that all people, in all situations, have the right to be treated with the same dignity and respect. And for that reason he understood that the person, as a social being, is you need to forge the feeling of community through some key aspects, namely: belonging, and significance. That is, the human being has the need to belong and be part of the various systems that make up (the family, groups, the community ...) and to feel that it is important in this system, that what he does contributes and is useful .

Likewise, Adler was able to verify through his work that children who lacked affection and love, developed behavioral problems; in the same way that children who grew without limits, could also have many difficulties in the development of their long-term skills.


When the child feels that these aspects of belonging and meaning are not guaranteed, what we understand as "bad behavior" appears. Dreikurs, a disciple of Adler, went further and said that a child who behaves badly, is only a discouraged child , and coined the term we know as "democratic education".

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Understanding democratic education

This democratic education is based on the application of the fundamental principle of kindness and firmness at the same time . Kindness as respect towards the child, firmness as respect towards myself as an adult and towards the situation. With both things in balance we can carry out an education that is respectful for all, and teach the most important to children, life skills.

In this way we create a respectful environment in which we can teach, and in which children can learn, freed from negative feelings such as shame, guilt, pain or humiliation, and therefore, feel, through the connection, that belonging, significance, and contribution , it's possible. This is how we contribute to the child exploring for himself the possible consequences of his actions, empowering him to create capable children.

The objectives of positive discipline

Positive discipline puts the focus on the long term , understanding that the behavior of the child, what we observe (crying, having a tantrum, ...) is only the tip of the iceberg, but that below it, there are deeper feelings, needs and beliefs that are forged in the child in function to the decisions that they are taking.

If we abandon the urge to immediately correct bad behavior , we can go on to validate the feelings of the child, and connect before correcting, trying to understand the interpretation that children make about themselves and the world, and what they are feeling, thinking and deciding at every moment to survive and prosper in the world . One more step to approach and empathize with them!

Positive discipline is based, then, on or An education that does not use prizes, but motivates and encourages. An education that does not punish, but it does focus on solutions. An education in which limits are so necessary to guide children as love and respect. Because, as Jane Nelsen said, maximum figure in the dissemination of this methodology, whose was the absurd idea that for a child to behave well, first you have to make him feel bad?

And that's what we make a child feel when we use punishment , which can be summarized in 4 Rs: resentment, desire for revenge, rebellion, and withdrawal (feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem).

In short, an education that model skills, which teaches the courage to be imperfect Accompanying through trust, which takes into account the needs of children and respects the nature of childhood, which encourages the child to gradually learn self-regulation skills and become an adult with competences, capable, and self-motivated.


Positive Discipline Webinar (December 2022).


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