We all want our children to grow into well-rounded, kind, caring adults capable of having meaningful connections with others.  This can, at times, feel like the most difficult job in the world, especially if you have multiple kids or a child with a very different temperament than your own. 
Children certainly need correction when they are behaving in ways that won’t be productive long-term.  Parenting without boundaries and direction leave children feeling scared and helpless. They also need connection.  Children learn how to connect with others partially based on how they learned to connect with their primary caregivers. In the early years (and beyond), we model connection and they internalize it, creating a template for later interactions. 
So how do we balance these two seemingly competing needs? If you feel like you’re teetering moment-by-moment between attempting to fix your child’s behavior and feeling regretful that your primary mode of communication is in the form of demands, you’re not alone. 
This is another case of expanding our view to include both interventions at the appropriate time. We don’t need to limit connection or correction to be effective, we simply need to prioritize their order of delivery. This simple phrase can help us determine what to do first in moments of tension: 
Connect before you correct
Behavior is communication, so anytime a child is acting in a way that requires intervention, they are essentially telling us something with their actions that they are unable (or unwilling) to communicate to us with their words.  When we choose to connect before we correct, we open the door to understanding more of the “why” behind the “what”, which in turn provides us the necessary clarity to offer a more precise correction. 
It can look like this: 
Your toddler is whining and swatting at his older sibling.  Instead of immediately moving to correcting (NO, don’t DO that!) we can begin with connection. This can look like stepping in and saying something along the lines of, “You’re upset with your brother but hands aren’t for hitting.”  
Most of the time, unless a child is pre-verbal in the early toddler years or withdrawn in the teenage years when met with an attempt to validate their feeling, they will emphasize the feeling statement and potentially add even more info. 

YES, I’m so mad because he won’t pay attention to me!” 
Now, since we’ve chosen to connect before we correct, we have the opportunity to tailor our correction more specifically. “It’s hard when we feel like someone isn’t paying attention, but hands aren’t for hitting.  Let’s find a way to show your brother that you have something important to say.” 
It takes more work on the front end, but this type of responsive parenting can oftentimes thwart a drawn-out meltdown.  This process of connecting before we correct helps our children practice learning to pause in heightened emotional situations. Because they saw it modeled when they were upset, they learn to stop, check-in with themselves and determine what they are feeling/sensing before immediately jumping into reactive mode. As we connect with them in their moments of pain, we are invariably teaching them to connect with themselves as well. 
I’d encourage anyone who is curious about this way of parenting to give it a try for a week. It takes some time to un-learn old ways of reacting so be prepared to give yourself grace as you practice.  It may even be helpful to take a moment to connect with yourself first when you get triggered so you can recognize what you need.   From there, you’ll be equipped to re-connect with your child from a centered place moving forward.