6 Childraising Alternatives to Prohibition

There are many times when, as parents, we prohibit certain things when it comes to our children. However, today we want to suggest 6 alternatives to prohibition.
6 Childraising Alternatives to Prohibition
Mara Amor López

Written and verified by the psychologist Mara Amor López.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

It’s becoming more and more apparent that prohibition in childraising isn’t at all effective, especially with adolescents. When we prohibit, children tend to respond with opposition and rebellion. Therefore, we’re going to look at 6 childraising alternatives to prohibition that are much more effective.

If we raise your children in an overly authoritarian manner, the reactions from our children often aren’t what we hoped for. Rather, the situation tends to become even worse. More democratic childraising alternatives are proving that prohibition isn’t the solution.

So, would you like to discover 6 childraising alternatives that you can use to replace prohibition? Why is prohibition so ineffective? We’ll look at these questions and more in the article below.

A few childraising alternatives to prohibition

What do we mean when we talk about an authoritarian approach to disciplining children and adolescents? It’s an approach where children and adolescents do what we ask out of fear of the consequences if they don’t. In other words, they don’t obey voluntarily or because they think it’s the right thing to do.

It’s important to have a more democratic approach to parenting, in which there’s a balance in the authority we exert. To achieve this, we suggest the following:

6 Childraising Alternatives to Prohibition

Educate your children with kindness

If you base your childraising on imposition, you won’t get anywhere. In the long run (or even much sooner), your children will respond with opposition and rebellion. Therefore, it’s much healthier and more positive to educate your children with care and kindness. Of course, we’re not talking about going to the extreme of excessive permissiveness. You need to find the right balance.

It’s important to always be sure to explain the reasons behind everything. At the same time, let your kids know that you’re always open to discussing and negotiating rules and restrictions. And, of course, let them know that they can count on you all the time.

Raise your children with an open and flexible mind

We need to have an open mind and understand that our generation is different than that of our children. They’re growing up in circumstances that are distinct from those we grew up in. Therefore, it’s important to be up to date regarding current news and trends in order to put ourselves in their shoes. Furthermore, we should never criticize their tastes.

Teaching children self-control from the time they’re young

Children and adolescents with a good sense of self-control will be successful adults in the future. When we establish rules, we need to all be in agreement and always help our children comprehend the reason behind the rule. It’s important for our kids to understand that we don’t set rules to make them angry, but to establish order.

In the end, norms are a way of raising children and adolescents with positive habits they can maintain over time. That way, they’ll learn to be responsible for doing things without needing reminders.

Speak positively about grades

When we talk about grades, it can be a complicated issue – especially when they’re poor. But, if this is the case and your child’s grades are less than satisfactory, avoid authoritarian responses. For example, don’t respond by grounding them to their room for 2 months of pure studying. You’ll only make your child’s attitude toward studying worse.

According to the democratic model, you should talk with children and analyze why they didn’t do well. And, from there, go on to look for solutions. If you don’t understand the grade, then you can talk to the school or teacher to find out what’s going on in order to help your child improve.

Value effort more than ability – another good alternative to prohibition

This means that you shouldn’t just talk about how skilled and intelligent our kids are. Rather, we need to praise their effort. All parents know that their children’s abilities – no matter how intelligent they are – need reinforcement in order to produce results.

6 Childraising Alternatives to Prohibition

When adolescents become overly confident in their abilities, they may stop making an effort. As long as demands are low, they may do well. However, when school is more demanding, their grades will suffer.

Teach children to enjoy the learning process

It’s important to help children have fun while they learn, as this produces a pleasant environment that’s conducive to learning. For example, we can enjoy fun activities with them and create a healthy parent-child bond. If they like comics, you can visit a comic exhibit together. If they like art, take them to an art museum, etc.

Why is prohibition ineffective?

If you continue to use prohibition as a way to educate your children, you’ll only fail in your attempts. What’s more, you’ll damage their self-esteem. It’s much better to give them information and offer explanations rather than prohibit. Educating your children this way will prepare them to make better decisions on their own.

When it comes to very small children, you shouldn’t prohibit them from climbing on the slide, for example. Rather, explain that they could fall but that you’ll help them climb so they can stay safe.

In short, as you can see, the authoritarian childraising method is ineffective and has proven to be counterproductive. Fortunately, there are alternatives that we can use as an alternative to prohibition which are much more effective. These involve a democratic method where authority and permissiveness are in balance.

We hope that you can apply today’s suggestions in your day-to-day interaction with your children. We’re sure the results will be positive.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • (1993b) Estilos educativos paternos, en QUINTANACABANAS,J. M.ª (coord.). Pedagogíafamiliar. Madrid, Narcea, 45-58.
  • WINSLER, A.; MADIGAN, A. L. y AQUILINO, S. A. (2005) Correspondence between maternal andpaternal parenting styles in early childhood, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 20, 1-12.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.