Guidance Approach: How to Help a Child Without Punishing Them

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What is the Guidance Approach?

Young children are still learning about the world, so many of the social behavior rules are unfamiliar to them. For a baby, crying is a natural form of emotional expression that they do not worry about when they are in the park, classroom, or store. Thus, the child is still deprived of social background and reflection on their actions and consequences. The same is true for those events when a toddler deliberately does some of the wrong things to express their own emotions: to have fun or be sad.

From the point of view of an adult observer, such actions seem unacceptable for social behavior. Therefore, caregivers, teachers, or parents try to admonish the child about how they should not act. For this reason, the child may develop, from childhood onward, an ongoing strategy of acting to please others or to be right. The danger of such parenting is suppressing the individual’s deepest ideas and feelings if they do not conform to societal norms.

For parents and guardians concerned about this problem and wishing to raise a psychologically healthy and stable member of society, it is important to find an alternative teaching method. Such a pedagogical example can be a guidance approach, the central tenet of which is not to punish but to encourage the child’s actions. In particular, while many methodologies are based on working with the consequences of the child’s behavior, the guidance principle, on the contrary, emphasizes the characteristics of attitude and personality perception to design in advance an environment in which the child can choose their path (Montana, 2019). In this development, the adult must accompany the child.

A concrete recommendation for a parent who has caught their child in the act of misbehavior — breaking furniture, being aggressive toward people, or behaving inappropriately in public — is not to punish but to empathize and focus on helping their child. It is important to acknowledge children’s emotions and offer strategies for managing emotions: creativity, fun, learning.

The Benefits of the Approach

There are many positive effects from parenting techniques, such as the guidance approach, directed at the child and the adult. Listed below are the major benefits for the parent who chooses to use the guided parenting approach in raising a toddler.

  • it develops the child’s moral attitudes;
  • it makes it possible to distinguish between good and evil in the world;
  • it increases the child’s level of responsibility and independence;
  • it stimulates the development of the skill of self-regulation of emotions;
  • it helps the child cope with failures and misfortunes;
  • it develops cooperative skills;
  • it does not allow excessive pride or vanity to develop;
  • it encourages the child to follow established rules;
  • the child becomes more attentive and responsive.

Creating a Safe Environment

Whether it is a kindergarten or school: in all of these places, a child usually does not hold back their true feelings and seeks to express them. There is certainly nothing wrong with this, but often a child’s emotions can lead to unwanted episodes of behavior, so it is important to work with the child’s skills. The basis of guideline instruction is the understanding that there are other places for emotions and playfulness than school or kindergarten classes.

Thus, a guidance principle, properly and timely executed by an adult with a child, allows for a safe and, most importantly, highly effective environment for the child’s learning. It is worth recognizing that working in a team, on the contrary, encourages the child to behave more correctly and morally if a culture of not punishment but encouragement has been adopted in the environment beforehand.

This does not mean that the child will tend to commit more disorderly acts, knowing that he or she will go unpunished. On the contrary, the guiding approach aims to change the child’s mind so that they do things not despite but for their comfort and the comfort of those around them. As they develop, especially in a collaborative and learning environment, children adopt new moral attitudes and gradually show pro-social behavior. In this case, the teacher should not play the role of a supervisor but of a coach, emphasizing the most important and effective traits of the child to develop the right behavior.

What a Teacher Can Do

In response to a child’s challenging behavior, the teacher can offer an alternative activity that will still have a pedagogical effect and engage the toddler more (“Positive guidance,” n.d.). For example, if a child becomes bored 15 minutes into a lesson (this is an initial sign), perhaps the teacher should pause and offer a more active activity that considers the toddler’s interest.

On the other hand, the teacher must adjust expectations for children’s learning: a public approach is possible for this purpose. In particular, the specialist can articulate micro-goals with a limited time limit for each of the children to correspond to their skills and abilities. Such a strategy will create a competitive spirit and direct the vector of students’ development in the right direction.

What a Parent Can Do

The most important strategy for family parenting is to talk to a child as an equal so that they feel part of the adult community (“Using the guidance,” 2017). It is necessary to recognize a child’s feelings, ask them about their emotions, and look together for the causes of possible problems. In doing so, all parties must remain calm.


  1. Montana, A. (2019). Positive responses to children’s behavior: Guidance approach in ECE. EDUCA. Web.
  2. Nelson, S. (2019). How Art therapy tames impulsivity, distractibility, and anxiety. ADDitude. Web.
  3. Positive guidance: A guide for parents. (n.d.). Bright Horizons. Web.
  4. Promoting guidance: Experiences and activities. (n.d.). VLS. Web.
  5. Using the guidance approach with children (part 2). (2017). My First School. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. (2022) 'Guidance Approach: How to Help a Child Without Punishing Them'. 4 May.


ChalkyPapers. 2022. "Guidance Approach: How to Help a Child Without Punishing Them." May 4, 2022.

1. ChalkyPapers. "Guidance Approach: How to Help a Child Without Punishing Them." May 4, 2022.


ChalkyPapers. "Guidance Approach: How to Help a Child Without Punishing Them." May 4, 2022.