How Physical Affection Helps with Discipline

Editor’s Pick. Written by Kelly Bartlett.

A group of fifteen moms and dads were gathering for their weekly parenting class, when one mother shares a moment from the previous week. “My daughter had a fit the other day when I told her it was time to get in the car.” Every head in the room nods in recognition and understanding. Another dad commiserates, “My son once threw Legos at the TV because I said he couldn’t watch TV!” These types of exchanges are shared by the most well meaning parents; despite even the most positive parenting efforts, kids get mad! Their immature brains do not have the capability to remain calm while working through challenging feelings.

Author of the Positive Discipline series, Dr. Jane Nelsen educates parents on non-punitive discipline strategies, many of which are centered on the use of touch. Physical affection is as equally important to older children as it is to infants, and it has an effect on brain chemistry that is conducive to positive behavior. As Dr. Nelsen says, “Children do better when they feel better.”

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