With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, parenting can feel like a marathon of managing schedules, juggling tasks, and addressing misbehavior. It can feel like there is little time to be the fun, caring, and attentive parent you want to be, causing feelings of frustration, shame and guilt. Despite all your efforts, it can be easy to feel as though you have lost control of your home. If you have ever felt this way, you are not alone. Our team often works with our families on these very same concerns, and we want you to know that it is possible to regain control and begin feeling more positively about yourself and your family. Here are a few tips to help you shift your focus and begin creating the positive home environment you want to have.
Focus on the Positives
It can be all too easy to focus on the things your child is not doing right, but your child is so much more than their mistakes. Remind yourself of your child’s creativity. Think about how great of a leader she is by being so headstrong. Remember how kind and caring he can be. As parents you want to ensure your children are learning right from wrong, but you can get caught in the trap of only responding to negative behaviors. By putting more attention and focus on the things your child does well, you can spend more time encouraging your child and in turn, creating a more positive environment.
- Build positivity into your daily routine by starting your child’s day with a positive affirmation.
- End each day writing one or two things you love about them before bed.
The more you focus on your child’s strengths and abilities, you will find it easier to have patience with them as they figure things out on their own, and you can give yourself more grace in helping them along the way.[ld_fancy_heading tag="h3" use_custom_fonts_title="true" fs="20px"]Praise, Praise, Praise[/ld_fancy_heading]Many parents feel drained by discipline. You want your child to enjoy the toys and experiences you’ve provided them, not take them away. While consequences are a necessary tool to teach responsibility, finding ways to reward positive behavior can be more effective and more enjoyable for you and your child. Praise is a great reward because it is something you always have to give. Praising your child makes them feel good and motivates them to seek your praise again. Genuine and specific praise tells your child exactly what behaviors you like and want to see more of.
- Thank your child for listening the first time.
- Tell him how proud you are that he set the table all by himself.
- Celebrate with her when she sleeps through the night in her own bed!
When children learn they can receive positive attention for good behavior, they have less motivation to seek out attention through negative behaviors.
Give Quality Time and Affection
As a parent, you are the most important person in your child’s life. Spending quality time together strengthens your bond with your child. You can show your child how important they are and how much you love them in small but meaningful ways throughout the day.
Spend time together
- Preparing dinner
- Watching a movie
- Playing a favorite game
It doesn’t matter what the activity is as long as you’re together. If you feel like you don’t have a lot of time for activities, even a few short minutes of dedicated attention can have a positive effect.
- Give a hug
- A kiss on the cheek
- A pat on the back
- Take 5 minutes to tuck them into bed and tell them you love them every night
Big or small, your time and attention means so much to your child. They will benefit from the security your affection provides and you will continue to feel the positive effects in your home.
Respond with Feeling
Children don’t have the same ability to communicate their feelings and needs the way adults do. Crying is a way of expressing sadness or fear. Tantrums are a way of expressing frustration, anger, or disappointment. But you can help your child build their vocabulary and learn to communicate their needs. You know your child better than anyone- you know when they are sad, angry or tired, and by reflecting that to them you are teaching them how to talk about their feelings and letting them know you understand how they feel. You can respond with feeling any time during the day –
- When you notice how happy he is while playing with friends
- Or how surprised she is when her blocks tumble to the ground.
Inevitably, there will be times when a rule is broken, your child doesn’t get their way, or a tantrum is thrown. Before attempting to solve a problem or address a concern, let your child know that you understand how they feel. By acknowledging your child’s feelings, you are letting them know that you care for them and understand them, both when they do what is right and when they make a mistake.
The best parenting tool anyone can use is the one you already possess – your relationship with your child. Each of these skills serve to build upon the bond you naturally have with your child. By focusing on your relationship, you can create a positive home environment where you feel more in control and better equipped to handle whatever is thrown your way. The more you build upon these positive parenting skills, you will find that many of the negative behaviors you are concerned about will correct themselves on their own. When a child feels empowered to focus on their own strengths, is rewarded for positive behaviors, receives consistent attention, and knows their parent understands their own experiences, they have less reason to act out or misbehave. Most importantly, when you are able to spend less time correcting, redirecting, and addressing problems, you will find that you have more time to do the things you love most as a parent – having fun together, showing love and affection, and watching your child grow.
If you would like additional support in learning more positive parenting skills, consider seeking help from a trusted therapist. Carolina Pediatric Therapy has a team of experienced and qualified behavioral health therapists ready to work with you and your family.
Positive Parenting Promotes Positive Behavior
Ari Brown is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor on the Behavioral Health team at Carolina Pediatric Therapy. Ari is passionate about helping children and their families achieve mental and emotional wellness and success.
Adapted from Triple P Positive Parenting Skills and Child Parent Relationship Therapy skills developed by Garry Landreth and Sue Bratton.
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Call (828) 398 0043 or click on the schedule button.