Being a parent is like constantly riding a roller coaster of emotions. You love your children unconditionally one minute, then need a break from them the next. You start off the day with the mindset that you’ll be extra patient and understanding towards your toddler, and then find yourself shouting at your child 30 minutes later. We all want to be the best parents we can be, but it’s HARD.
One approach to parenting that can change how we relate to our children, and make parenting more manageable, is positive parenting. Chances are you’ve heard or read about this concept already, but you have no idea how to go about it or how to apply it to your daily life.
Here are some important points to know about this approach to parenting:
Positive parenting believes that “all children are born good, altruistic, and desire to do the right thing.” For some parents, this definition alone can change their whole perspective of their children. Sometimes, we view our kids as small people we constantly need to discipline, fix, and correct. When they do something wrong, we need to punish them – time outs, “no more playground for you”, or worse. When you shift your perspective and view your child through the lens of positive parenting, your aim now becomes more to teach and guide, as opposed to punish and reprimand.
This approach also puts emphasis on a relationship built on trust and mutual respect. It is a relationship that starts from birth and continues until adulthood. There are important terms to remember when thinking about how to practice positive parenting – caring, teaching, leading, communicating, and providing for the needs of a child consistently. It focuses on encouragement, support, and affirmation.
What are the practical ways we can apply this to our daily life? One way is to help your child understand the reasons rules are made, which makes it more likely for your child to follow them.
For example, why can’t your child leave your house without letting you know first? It shouldn’t be just because “I said so!” Positive parenting encourages you to explain the reason behind the rule, “You need to tell me if you’re leaving the house. It is my job to keep you safe and I can’t keep you safe if I don’t know where you are.”
Another way is to practice parental modeling and learn how to control our own actions and emotions in front of our children. If your child is having a temper tantrum and speaking disrespectfully to you, you can leave the room and tell him that you’ll be in the next room and will listen when he is ready to talk in a calm and respectful manner.
This is much more positive than getting angry at your child and screaming at him to stop immediately. Through our example, we show our children how to react to others and how to manage their own emotions.
Lastly, parents can focus on using kind words, loving and affectionate gestures, and working with their children to solve problems together. These are all building blocks of positive parenting. When we keep these in mind, we can start to build a more peaceful relationship with our children, resulting in both happier and healthier children and parents.