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As a parent, we are constantly toeing the line between being assertive and being compassionate. While we want disciplined kids, who listen and who are good humans, we also want children who feel heard and loved.

Disciplining can be difficult, especially if you were raised by parents who were not so gentle or parents who let you do whatever you wanted to do. At the end of the day, neither of those approaches is going to get the results you want. With that said, the question remains, how do you stay firm with your children while remaining gentle and loving?

Here are 5 simple tips that will help you accomplish exactly that.

1. Create an environment that is conducive to what you are trying to accomplish.

Children will rebel against parents who always seem angry with them, it is simply in their nature. So, it is your job as a parent to create a warm and loving environment, where your kids have a voice so that when it comes time to get firm with them, they will trust in you and listen.

2. Keep your posture right.

When approaching your child, you need to maintain yourself. Do not let them see you struggling to be firm, because they will sense that you don’t trust yourself. In turn, they are far less likely to take you seriously. Stand tall, maintain your facial expression, and stay in control.

3. Manage your tone.

Your tone is everything. If you softly tell your son to stop playing and do his homework, and he doesn’t listen, it is likely because he isn’t taking you seriously. Instead, use a deep tone that is serious, loud enough to get the point across but not yelling, and use commands, not questions.

4. Talk less.

If you throw a bunch of commands at your child or use too many words when trying to command them, they are going to get lost. Instead, keep it short and sweet.

5. Look back at situations that didn’t work.

When there are times in which you are not firm enough or your attempts failed, use them to learn. Look back and ask yourself what you could have done better. Identify these issues and then come up with a strategy for next time.