Parenting Tip #12 : Playful Discipline

Written by Victoria Berryhill

Did you know that you can correct your child’s behaviors while being playful? How much fun is that?

“Playful engagement” is an intervention parenting skill element from TBRI*, stemming from the truth that a child cannot be simultaneously afraid and playful. So, if you want to ensure your child has positive associations with the corrected behavior—and increase the likelihood of them repeating this corrected behavior—it makes sense to engage your child while they are functioning from the part of the brain where fear is not.

You may ask, “Will my child take me seriously if I am being playful while disciplining?” The better question is, “What is the purpose of disciplining my child for misbehavior?”

If the purpose of discipline is to teach a lesson, then playfulness is a sure fire method. The language of a child is play and speaking their language sure is a clever way to teach them the right action. You may even get a chance to do an action based re-do of the misbehavior in a matrix of playfulness.

Give it a try next time you want your child to learn an important lesson; I bet you’ll see a great result and have some fun, too!

*Trust Based Relational Interventions (TBRI) TCU Child Development TBRI® is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI® uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors. While the intervention is based on years of attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscience research, the heartbeat of TBRI® is connection.