coaching, homework, Working with teens

A positive discipline approach: How to be respectfully firm with your child

A positive discipline approach.

I believe that it is up to us as the parents to discipline our children so they can learn to discipline themselves.

To do this well we need to act tough, stay respectful and remain consistent with them and I encourage you to remain respectfully tough while consistently expecting high standards of behaviour and of work, however they behave.
But this can be easier said than done!

Many families waste valuable energy and time because they either listen to their child too much and feel powerless and exhausted by the excessive arguments and discussion, or they are afraid of losing control of the coaching situation so don’t listen enough, and their child feels powerless and resentful. If either scenarios sound like you and your child, read on. You can change how you discipline or don’t discipline with some small changes in how you think and how you act.

I have called this discipline approach ‘a positive discipline approach’ because rather than feeling powerless and frustrated, you will both feel that you have enough power and control in your lives. Your child is in charge of their behaviours and they choose any associated consequences. You are in charge of monitoring their behaviour and making sure that the consequences happen as agreed. You can use these ideas when you are developing the homework habit with your child too.

Many of my ideas come from the Assertive Discipline method as taught by Lee Canter (1992). I like his simple and practical explanations. Lee Canter (1992) has taught many classroom teachers how to use discipline wisely and well with students and I have adapted many of his ideas so that they work with our children in any coaching situation. What is excellent about his discipline method is that the focus is not on ‘bad student’ behaviours but on recognising ‘good student’ behaviours. As well, you are never the bad guy punishing them; instead your child chooses the agreed-upon negative or positive consequences through their own actions.

Your child takes responsibility for their behaviours and responses.

An important and exciting side-effect of using a positive discipline approach is that your child learns that they have the power to change their behaviours in an acceptable way to create the natural outcomes or consequences they want. Your child might be poorly behaved in class, and the more distant negative consequence of failing to learn is not important to them yet. Over time as they learn to control their thoughts and emotions and behaviours with you when coaching, you will help them change negative and unhelpful behaviours at school too.

You can stay in control of your own responses more easily too.

Another major strength of a positive discipline is that you can respond quickly and assertively and with confidence to your child’s negative behaviours. Before you may have reacted emotionally when your child wasn’t cooperating with you, and expressed anger, resentment, sarcasm or helplessness. Now with an agreement about what exactly are acceptable and unacceptable behaviours and their consequences you will find it much easier to be fair and consistent and calm and reasonable when your child chooses ‘bad student’ behaviour.

You will no longer come from a position of weakness where you chose moment by moment how to respond to your child’s ‘bad’ or ‘good’ behaviours and you don’t need to get involved or highly emotional about what they are doing or not doing anymore. Instead you both will understand that they have made a choice knowing the consequences of that choice and as their coach, all you have to do is step out of the way as your child experiences the results of their behaviours.

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails because I only write every week or so as I’m very busy working with children and their families, tending and growing my own life, and writing my book.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on

Twitter; and share this post and the website with other like-minded families.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s