Most adults become parents at some point in their lives and in modern society, parents should apply positive parenting. So, what is positive parenting? What are the basic principles of positive parenting? Let’s answer all these questions with Jessica.
What does positive parenting mean?
According to the study of Positive Parenting of Positive Psychology, many researchers came up with different definitions of positive parenting. Seay and colleagues (2014) pointed out that: Positive parenting is the continual relationship of parent(s) and a child or children that includes caring, teaching, leading, communicating, and providing for the needs of a child consistently and unconditionally.
In another viewpoint revealed in the same study, positive parenting is defined as “…nurturing, empowering, nonviolent…” and which “provides recognition and guidance which involves the setting of boundaries to enable the full development of the child”.
Positive parenting plays an important role in encouraging personal development and self-growth in a child. In general, many aspects of positive parenting nurture the child’s self-esteem, ability to get along with others, creativity, belief in the future.
6 principles of positive parenting
1. Validate your child’ effort
This is the first among the positive parenting solutions. Dealing with children’s feelings of inadequacy is one of the hardest things to navigate as a parent. Some phrases like “I cannot do it” or “I’m not intelligent” root from the sense of not being “good enough”.
Here, an effective way to deal with this problem is to stop comparing your children to anyone else. Especially, do not compare your child with a sibling or other family members. This action may discourage your children.
Instead of that comparison, try to emphasize your child’s effort and growth in all that they do. You can say like “You’ve done very well”, “Tell me how you do that!”, “Last week you swung on the second monkey bar, and this week you reach the third, fighting”! This growth-mindset will surely help your children see that success is not instantaneous and their efforts matter.
2. Bring to your child the respect you want them to express to you
In the parenting world, many people often misunderstand this principle. Just remember that giving your child respect doesn’t mean you are being “permissive” or passive.
Just think simply about this principle. Giving your children respect means you listen to them anytime they have something to say. You validate their feelings and talk to them the way you talk to an adult. However, keep in mind that if you don’t speak to your colleague the way you do with your child, you might need to tone things down.
When you talk to your child the way you talk to an adult, it doesn’t mean you will ignore their need for guidance. Of course, your child still needs much help and direction from you. And here, the way you speak to them should communicate respect. Chances are that the tone you talk to your little ones is how they will speak back to you.
Your calmness will comfort your child. When they begin to escalate, you become quieter. As they lose it, you will be their pillar of strength. This principle is regarded as the most difficult part when it comes to positive parenting. Our children know how to push us to our breaking point. And our ability to stay calm during your child’s tantrum will set this parenting method apart from all the rest.
3. Do not punish your child for their big feelings, support them
Belittling our children’s feelings is one of the biggest mistakes in parenting. Sometimes, we tend to treat our children’s feelings as if they don’t matter.
You should always keep in mind that your children experience the same feelings as you do. It can be jealousy, shame, sadness, anger, guilt. However, your child is too small to have the words or skills to deal with all those feelings. As a result, outbursts and tantrums occur.
Now, it’s time to help your child to name their emotion. Also, don’t forget to validate it by indicating “Feeling angry is ok”. Let’s give them another way to deal with that emotion. For example, you can advise them to go by themselves and take 3 deep breaths when they are angry. The key is to teach your child that experiencing all kinds of feelings is natural. And there are always great ways to overcome all their emotions.
4. Show your confidence in their abilities
Your child will surely feel happy when they know you believe in their ability to be an obedient, helpful, and kind person. And although they have made every effort, your little ones are going to “lose it” every day as they are still building up their resilience.
No matter! Let’s give your child the opportunities to “do-over”. Yes, let them try again something they can’t achieve the first time. When your child gets success after a “do-over”, they are proud of themselves and they will surely want to repeat the positive behavior in the future. This is one among the best tips for young mothers these days.
I usually choose to model this when I start to raise my voice at my daughter. I’ll say: “I’m upset and I need to calm down. Give me a minute to take some breaths and try again.” Nothing is better and more powerful than letting your child see you use the same calming strategies when you are trying to teach them.
5. The worse your children feel, the worse they behave
Sometimes, parents make mistakes when degrading their children for their shortcomings. We incidentally make our child feel bad for having a tantrum, not being able to follow directions, or for making poor decisions.
And remember, the more negatively we react to our children, the more they misbehave. This is bad. Our children will start to get used to the pattern of misbehavior and punishment. Brooke Hampton said: “Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they will become”. When it comes to positive parenting, this is one of my most favorite quotes.
Your little ones are trying to determine what kind of person they are. This means everything we say to them is important. The more you build them up, the better they behave, and the better their self-image will be.
6. Misbehavior means your child is getting an unmet need
It is one more among key positive parenting techniques. Your little ones will surely want to please you more than anything. They want to do what you want, follow your directions, and also worthy of praise and attention. However, there are quite many overwhelming feelings that your children are trying to explore. As they can’t articulate how he is feeling, their communication is often through misbehaving.
For example, there are times you are on the phones and then your son throws a toy across the room. It is because he wants to draw your attention but he doesn’t know any other way to do that. In this case, do not punish the child or lecture him. Instead, you can try to say “I know you want my attention. Next time, just gently touch my arm and I will know that.”
Anytime your child misbehaves, first ask yourself: “What does this behavior mean” and try to find a suitable way to deal with this. This will let your child make the connection between their emotions/behavior and how they are feeling internally.
With their positive parenting, warm, loving, and supportive parents are ready to feed children’s inner spirit while empowering their knowledge and essential tools to approach life. I hope that my blog is helpful and wish you success as parents.