- Positive parenting is nothing but common sense parenting built on strong family values. It is about raising your children in a warm, loving, caring, supportive, positive environment built on the foundation of trust and respect.
Positive parenting focuses on teaching your child the who, what, where, when, and why of a situation.
Create Consequences that make sense
- Children need consequences. It is important for them to understand consequences to their actions, whether they be good or bad, positive or negative. When we make consequences for our children’s actions to help teach them valuable lessons, they need to make sense.
- If a child has not cleaned up when they were supposed to clean up and they were given clear instructions, warning, and timeframe, then a consequence that makes sense to that situation is having those toys removed for a while.
- If a child threw their meal down on the ground, telling them they can’t go outside because they threw their food down.
Validate, empathize, sympathize
- Make sure your child knows that you have heard them. Validate what they want and how they feel. You will not be able to successfully get across your point unless they too feel respected.
- If your child is crying because they want an ice cream, but dinner is in 15 minutes, first repeat them so they know you understand them:
- Kids under 3- “I want an Ice cream!” “I hear you! When we eat our dinner, we can have our Ice cream.” Your child will probably still be upset and that is understandable. Let them be. After a few minutes, try to distract them or have them get involved in something different.
- Kids older than 3, you could say “I see you really want that ice cream. I understand. We can have the Ice cream just as soon as dinner is done.” Children who have gained the mental insight to reason can have explanations and not be so heavily steered by distraction.
Talk at the child’s level
- Physically, get down to their eye level. When speaking to your child eye to eye at their physical level, this shows compassion, sincerity, and respect.
- Speaking at their eye level will also serve as a great tool in having them hear your words.
Explain & Help them learn from their mistakes
- When we discipline our children, it’s important to explain why. Children need to learn from their mistakes. They need to understand the consequences of their actions.
- Sit on the chair because you can fall and get hurt if you stand.
- We use our hands for gentle touches because hitting hurts.
- Talk to your child like an individual. Use age-appropriate language. Do not assume your child is too little to understand.
- Respecting your child is to communicate with them appropriately throughout the day. As an individual yourself, you enjoy knowing what will happen in your day, so you can plan and predict. You also like understanding why things occur. It helps us process our world around us.
- Children are the same. Be open and communicative with your children throughout the day.
- We are going to the store because we need to buy some tomatoes. You are such a great helper; can you help me pick them out?
- When we get to school today, we will only have 5 minutes to play, then I will take you into the classroom and kiss you goodbye.
- By giving your child the information needed to predict their day, will greatly help eliminate tantrums.
Clear expectations of what is wanted
- We want to set our children up for success, we want them to know what is expected of them and what we are looking for in their actions.
- “I need you to put your books away,” as opposed to “clean up.”
Tell them what they should do as opposed to what they shouldn’t
- This is a way of phrasing our instructions that take time to get used to. But this type of instruction and phrasing work better with how the human mind processes information.
- Rather than saying “don’t hit your brother,” we should say “we use gentle touches with our brother.”
- Rather than saying “don’t throw your food,” we should say “food stays on our plate.”
- When the brain hears “don’t throw your food,” the brain processes the “throw food” part before the “don’t” part.
Keep it positive
- How we respond and act effects our children. If we are negative, it will rub off and affect their mood. If we try to maintain positivity, that too will affect how they think, feel, and respond to situations.
- It is important to remain positive and talk positively to our children who are going through new experiences.
- If they are starting school for the first time and you are projecting your fear onto them, then they will have a harder time adjusting to this new experience in their life.
Be consistent and keep your word
- Children are smart, and they have good memories! They will learn very easily if you are not consistent and do not keep your word, and they will learn what they can get away with.
- If you tell them “Be quiet with the books. If you are loud, you will not be able to look at books before bed.” You must follow through with it. Sometimes it feels as though you are punishing yourself, but it is crucial for them to know your word means something.
- When your child realizes you are full of empty threats, then it will be hard for them to listen to you in the future.
- The same is true if you promise something special “If you have a good day at school, we will go to the park when I pick you up.” Keep your word. They will remember!
Be Loving and firm
- It’s important to have a loving but firm tone throughout your parenting. A relationship built on mutual respect. Show them love throughout the day; both physical and verbal.
- Give your child lots of hugs, kisses, embraces, rubs etc. expressing specific ways you love them: “I love coloring with you,” “I love going on walks with you,” “I am so happy when we read together.”
- But be firm when disciplining them. Keep your word and follow through. If you tell them there will be a consequence for not listening, then follow through on the discipline. They will respect you for being loving, truthful, and trusting.
- Not everything has to be so serious. There have been so many tantrums I was able to nip in the bud because I joked around with my kid. Humor is important to use while parenting, it teaches your child to have a sense of humor, builds personality, and helps develop insight.
- Parenting is something that you will be doing for a long time, make it fun and enjoyable for you and your children.
Keep your own feelings and judgments in check
- When we feel stressed, our children feel stressed. We will be unable to handle our children calmly if we really need a break. But, it is important to remember, children learn by modeling. When we model appropriate behavior, they learn appropriate behavior. If we model how to self-regulate, then they learn how to self-regulate.
- Communicate with them, say something like “Mommy is feeling a bit stressed right now, I need a few minutes to calm my body down. I am going to put on some music for you and your brother to dance to, while I sit on the couch for a minute and calm myself down. This will help me to feel better.”