Ten positive parenting techniques
Positive parenting suggests a gentler approach to raising your children, by reinforcing good behaviours instead of punishing the not-so-good ones. Here we run over the basics of this parenting style.
Raising a child, as enjoyable and rewarding as it is, can be very challenging. Sometimes the responsibility over your little one’s life is overwhelming and daunting. As parents, we all want what’s best for our children and to bring them up in a happy, positive and ambitious way.
Positive parenting is a way to support your child as they grow, that results in a much more harmonious household and less stress for all. The thesis behind positive parenting is to focus on encouraging good behaviours rather than punishing bad ones. Studies have shown that when children feel safe, supported and loved they’re better able to tell right from wrong, which enables them to behave better. This suggests that shouting at your child or overly punishing their bad behaviour may actually result in further bad behaviour – the opposite of the desired result!
TEN WAYS TO START POSITIVE PARENTING
Positive parenting has been proven to improve cognitive skills, as well as social and emotional intelligence. It also offers a platform that fosters self-development, independence and creativity. We want to build our kids up to be confident, capable and full of self-belief. Let’s look at a few ways to get started.
Set the standard
One of the keys to raising children who behave well and don’t lose their temper is to set the standard you expect of them. Try to set an example of how you would like your child to react in different scenarios, by keeping your own behaviour measured and positive. Talk openly with your child about the decisions you make and why you make them. With a healthy model like this to follow, your little one can see how their thoughts can lead to actions and then consequences. Warmly encourage them to try to be positive in all that they do.
Punishment isn’t the answer
One of the goals of positive parenting is for your child to be well-behaved without ever being punished. There is no need for your child to feel afraid of you or threatened by punishment – discipline is the answer. Explain to your little one how you hope they behave and that there will be consequences if they don’t. If they begin to misbehave, calmly remind them what you expect of them and that they will have to make amends if they continue. Remain clear and consistent with your message while keeping your love for your child at the forefront of your mind.
When it comes to building a healthy relationship with your child, there is no replacement for spending quality time with them. Sit and talk with them, listen to their stories and encourage them to talk about their feelings. Engage with their hobbies and pastimes. Most of all, take them seriously! Let them know that you are there for them, through thick and thin. This will mean that, through the good times and the bad, the connection between you will remain strong and unbroken.
Stand in their shoes
While being an adult is difficult, so is being a kid! It may look easy now but cast your mind back to when you were a child – things weren’t so easy. The world was big, scary and confusing. Things that may not seem like such a big deal to us adults may be really challenging for our little ones. So through positive parenting, we learn to take a step back and to try to empathise with our child and their particular struggle. Also, remember that we all make mistakes. While our child messing something up may be very frustrating, they are almost always doing their absolute best. Praise their effort and encourage them to keep going.
Walk the walk
As the saying goes – don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk. Back your words up with your actions. This is an important behaviour to showcase for your child. They need to learn that if they say they’re going to do something, people are going to expect them to do it. Likewise, your child will expect you to do what you say you’re going to do. If you threaten punishments and never follow through, or promise treats but again don’t come through, your child is going to stop taking you at your word.
Be the safety net
Build trust with your little one. One aspect of positive parenting is encouraging your child to grow and explore as much as they can. It can be hard for them to do this, if we’re constantly shadowing them to make sure they don’t do anything wrong. As parents, we should show our children that we trust them to figure things out for themselves, and that we will be on call if they need help. You don’t have to hold their hand through everything they try and do, but always try to be the safety net that they can fall into if they stumble.
Behind the behaviour
Within positive parenting, we try to see our children as their individual selves, not just a sum of their behaviours. Next time your little one is acting up, instead of reacting, try to see what is behind this behaviour. Did something happen at school that upset them? Are they feeling overtired or hungry? The vast majority of the time, children act out because something isn’t quite right and they’re not able to express it. So pause for a moment, calm your child and ask them to try to explain exactly how they’re feeling. Following this process will usually lead you to the cause for their upset.
Positive parenting is not about letting children do whatever they want. There are still house rules, as well as family and societal standards to uphold. When you lay out your family rules or standards to your child, do so in a gentle and loving manner. Be sure to explain the reasoning behind these rules and any consequences for breaking them. There shouldn’t be any threats or fear-mongering here, just an open conversation that remains clear and calm. You little one should be able to understand what’s expected of them without feeling pressured or stressed.
Reinforce positive behaviour
Here is one of the core principles of positive parenting – praise the positive rather than focusing on the negative. Next time your child tries hard at something or simply behaves well, praise them for it. Let them know that you noticed, that you appreciate it and that you’re proud of them. Encourage your child when they are acting in a positive way and try to bite your tongue when they’re not acting so nicely! This emphasis on reinforcing positive behaviour will keep pushing your child in the right direction while not shaming them for any poor decisions they make.
Turn mistakes into learning opportunities
Your child will mess up and that’s okay! Sometimes it’ll only be a tiny mistake and other times it might be more serious. At the end of the day, the main thing to focus on is learning from this mistake and moving forward. In the aftermath of a mistake, gently approach your child and open a dialogue about what happened. Use your wisdom to help them identify what they could have done to prevent this mishap and inspire them to make the correct decision next time. This opportunity for growth can equip your child with the mindset they need to tackle the ups and downs of life.
ONE LAST THING
With the basics of positive parenting covered, you are now ready to adopt this method in raising your child. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself on this journey. It can be hard to change, particularly if you’ve been using a different parenting style all along. The main thing to remember is that you want what’s best for your child and that you are doing your utmost to set them up for adulthood. So take it one step at a time and watch as this positive approach shrinks any tension between you and your children, and you all grow together!