There are plenty of theories on parenting and child-rearing. Every day as a parent, you are inundated with blogs, parenting groups, and articles on the do’s and don’ts of being the perfect parent. But parenting, like most things in life, isn’t one-size-fits all. With that being said, however, having some guidance in what direction to go can always help. Think about the kind of parent you want to be. Do you want to nag and yell less? Do you want your child or children to be able to make decisions independently? Do you want to improve communication between yourself and your child? Do you want to spend more time enjoying your children and your family? Positive parenting helps you achieve all these things. Research shows that a positive parenting approach results in secure attachment, decreased misbehavior and defiance, improved emotional regulation, and improved adjustment and self-efficacy in children and adolescents. (Lonczak, 2020). Positive parenting helps you focus on what’s going right. Praising positive behaviors, spending quality time together, and encouraging open communication creates an environment where children can thrive, and parents can feel confident in their own abilities. Positive parenting is not merely a set of skills and techniques with which to discipline your child, rather it is a collection of guiding principles for building your relationship with your child. A parent’s best tool in parenting is their relationship with their child. By approaching the parent-child relationship in a more positive way, you’ll find you have a better understanding of your child and more peace in your household. So how does one become a positive parent? According to Triple P – Positive Parenting Program – a positive parent does the following:
Have a Safe Interesting Environment:
In order for your child to grow and develop, they need to be able to do so in a space that is free of danger and interesting enough to keep their attention. Children are natural explorers, so when they have opportunities to be curious and have fun, they are less likely to misbehave or need redirection.
Have a Positive Learning Environment:
Being open and available to your children when they express interest and curiosity not only encourages them to learn effective problem solving skills, but also teaches your children that they are free to explore and try new things without fear of reprimand. Showing your child you are there to explore with them, answer their questions, and encourage their abilities, strengthens your bond and your child’s feeling of security.
Use Assertive Discipline:
Being assertive when disciplining your child doesn’t mean you have to be loud or aggressive. Rather, aim to be calm and consistent in what you say and do to limit your child pushing boundaries. Too often parents state that there will be a consequence for misbehavior, but either give too many chances for their child to change their behavior or lack follow through. While it doesn’t always feel good to have to take away privileges from your child, this teaches them that there are consequences for their actions and helps them learn to make more positive choices. Following up with praise when your child has listened or appropriately redirected themselves, also helps your child better identify positive behaviors.
Have Realistic Expectations:
Sometimes, we can mistake defiance or misbehavior for a lack of developmental appropriateness. Is your child not listening to you, or are you giving too many instructions at once? Of course, it is easiest for us to understand a child’s behavior when they can tell us what happened and why they did it, but that isn’t going to happen if they don’t yet have the verbal or developmental ability to explain themselves. Before getting frustrated with your child or yourself, make sure what you are asking is realistic. It may be necessary to use simpler instructions, help them find the words for what they want, or simply just have more patience as your child learns and grows.
Take Care of Yourself as a Parent
In order to be the best parent you can be, you have to first take care of yourself. Granted, this isn’t always the easiest task. Parenting, by definition, is stressful, but limiting your stress in any way will make all the difference. Remember that being a parent isn’t your only identity and that it’s ok to have date nights with your partner, explore your own hobbies and interests, or even take a personal mental health day. Though at times this may feel selfish, remember you have more patience and grace when you’ve taken care of yourself which leads to more consistent and positive parenting.
Becoming a more positive parent doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Find small changes to make along the way that make sense for your own household. If you would like to learn more about positive parenting or participate in a Triple P program, contact us at carolinapeds.com.
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