What is the Goal of Positive Parenting?
Positive parenting is a parenting philosophy that maintains children are born good and with the desire to do what is right. It highlights the value of mutual respect and the use of positive methods of discipline. Instead of penalizing previous misconduct, positive parenting emphasizes training in correct future behavior.
Positive parenting practices were introduced to the United States by Viennese psychiatrists Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs in the 1920s. Since then, parenting experts and programs all across the world have improved and promoted a variety of positive parenting options. The Baumrind parenting style classifies positive parenting as a type of authoritative parenting.
Why Should You Practice Positive Parenting?
The end objective of positive parenting is to provide children with the tools they need to become healthy, intelligent, and responsible individuals. Positive parenting starts with parents being positive role models for their children. Imparting positive values and principles to your children exemplifies positive parenting. When you decide to practice positive parenting, there are steps you can take to support your efforts, such as:
- Be consistent.
- Creating a caring environment.
- Focus on what you can control–yourself.
- Remember that your ultimate objective as a parent is to develop a well-rounded adult.
8 Ways to Practice Positive Parenting
Many modern parents adopt gentle parenting ideas because they do not wish to parent the way they were raised. Positive parenting entails parents raising happy children in ways that reflect the values and beliefs of their family.
An important aspect of positive parenting is being aware of a child’s growth stage, temperament, and requirements. Below are some ways on how to practice positive parenting at home.
1. Focus on the reasons for the behaviors.
Even though the cause seems trivial to the parents, there is always a reason behind a child’s misbehavior. While you may find the why unreasonable, the child does not feel that way. If parents can immediately address the cause, even if the child does not get precisely what they want, they will feel that their needs are being met. Having emotional support from family is sometimes more crucial than having the desire fulfilled.
When a child feels acknowledged, it reduces their tendency to misbehave. They may still be irritated, but they don’t have to act out just to feel heard. Ask them probing questions to get to the bottom of the issue. Active listening and understanding the reasons for problematic behaviors can also assist parents in avoiding them in the first place.
2. Be kind.
Be kind to your child so that he or she will learn to be kind and courteous to others. Children learn by imitation, and you are their primary role model. When you scream at, humiliate, or call a child a name when upset or throwing a tantrum, you teach your child to do the same.
The opposite is also true. When a parent is kind and courteous even when unhappy, the kid learns to cope with problems with poise and dignity. Being kind also helps a child stay calm, be responsive to logic, and comply more readily. Kindness, however, does not mean giving in or being lenient. Boundaries can still be set in a kind but firm manner.
3. Rethink punishment.
Punitive punishment, according to Jane Nelsen in Positive Discipline: The First Three Years, causes four Rs that do not help a child to learn: resentment, rebellion, revenge, and retreat. Unnatural negative consequences frequently fail to deter poor conduct and fail to teach beneficial ones.
When parents scold or chastise their children, they start a terrible cycle of compulsion. The coercive cycle has been linked to behavioral problems in children, such as oppositional defiant disorder. A pleasant, non-punitive approach is far more helpful in calming a hyperactive child and engaging them in learning a new activity. A positive parenting style emphasizes teaching acceptable behavior rather than penalizing undesirable ones.
4. Be clear and consistent.
Before boundaries are enforced, make a decision and fully explain the consequences of crossing them. Furthermore, parents must be consistent and follow through on their promises. There will be confusion if a parent is inconsistent. The youngster may continue to push or challenge the limitations to see what else happens. To follow through means not saying anything until you genuinely mean it. If your child misbehaves, do not make idle threats to cancel the game unless you are determined to carry them out.
5. Consider age-appropriate behaviors.
What we see as unacceptable conduct is sometimes actually age-appropriate behavior. Tantrums among toddlers, for example, are rather common. Young children are filled with strong emotions that they are unable to articulate verbally. They cannot self-regulate since that region of the brain has not yet fully formed. Children require assistance in learning to control their emotions and impulses.
The stages of brain development influence the selection of a beneficial parenting method. Toddlers and preschoolers (even three-year-olds) may not comprehend the concept of consequences. As a result, redirection should be employed instead of arguing or imposing penalties for them.
6. Begin early.
Positive parenting starts with the parent becoming a positive role model for the kid and learning about child development. As a result, it can begin even while your child is a newborn. Young children learn through seeing their caregivers and how they behave in various situations. Paying attention to your child’s indications and responding favorably may make a significant impact in his or her life. Happy children are fostered rather than born.
7. Make it a learning experience.
Every incident of misbehavior can be transformed into a lesson in problem-solving when children are old enough to think and evaluate the situation (beyond the age of three). For example, when a child throws and breaks a toy out of anger or frustration, ask them about its consequences (they won’t be able to play with it anymore). Consequently, help them in finding alternate outlets for their rage.
It is also essential to teach children how to verbalize and use words to express their emotions. Introduce using phrases such as “I am upset because…” or “It hurts my feelings when….” This improves their ability to communicate and reduces outbursts typically caused by frustration.
8. Be patient.
Positive parenting will often not yield quick results, nor is it about seeing instant changes in your child. At its core, positive parenting aims to teach children the behaviors you wish them to emulate and practice over time. This is something that parents must understand and develop patience for instead of giving in to fear-based parenting.
You may have to do a lot of explaining every day at first. Children require repetitions to learn, and it may take longer to observe genuine changes than traditional punishment. It might take weeks or even months for your child to start getting it. But when that happens, it will be highly satisfying, with long-term advantages.
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