I always use this term “positive discipline”, and I never thought of researching where it came from, and what it actually meant. Until someone asked me today. I think it might help clear some misunderstanding about positive discipline versus permissive/lazy parenting, because they are NOT the same.
And here is why:
“The Positive Discipline Parenting and Classroom Management Model is based on the work of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs. Dr. Adler first introduced the idea of parenting education to United States audiences in the 1920s. He advocated treating children respectfully, but also argued that spoiling and pampering children was not encouraging to them and resulted in social and behavioral problems.
The term, positive discipline, has now become very popular. Many parenting books and programs that claim to be positive discipline are based on the philosophy of “Behaviorism,” which is very different from the original Adlerian based Positive Discipline. Behaviorism promotes “external” locus of control. Positive Discipline promotes “internal” locus of control, as indicated in the Five Criteria for Positive Discipline.
There are 5 criteria for effective positive discipline:
Helps children feel a sense of connection. (Belonging and significance)
Is mutually respectful and encouraging. (Kind and firm at the same time.)
Is effective long-term. (Considers what the child is thinking, feeling, learning, and deciding about himself and his world – and what to do in the future to survive or to thrive.)
Teaches important social and life skills. (Respect, concern for others, problem solving, and cooperation as well as the skills to contribute to the home, school or larger community.)
Invites children to discover how capable they are. (Encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy.)
Studies of implementation of Positive Discipline techniques have shown that Positive Discipline tools do produce significant results. A study of school-wide implementation of classroom meetings in a lower-income Sacramento, CA elementary school over a four-year period showed that suspensions decreased (from 64 annually to 4 annually), vandalism decreased (from 24 episodes to 2) and teachers reported improvement in classroom atmosphere, behavior, attitudes and academic performance.
Programs similar to Positive Discipline have been studied and shown to be effective in changing parent behavior. In a study of Adlerian parent education classes for parents of teens, Stanley (1978) found that parents did more problem solving with their teens and were less autocratic in decision making. Positive Discipline teaches parents the skills to be both kind and firm at the same time. Numerous studies show that teens who perceive their parents as both kind (responsive) and firm (demanding) are at lower risk for smoking, use of marijuana, use of alcohol, or being violent, and have a later onset of sexual activity. Other studies have correlated the teen’s perception of parenting style (kind and firm versus autocratic or permissive) with improved academic performance.”