What Is Positive Parenting And How Does It Work?
Parenting positively is a parenting style characterized by empathy and having a strong parent-child connection. Growing up, you probably experienced at least one parenting style (or more). Each style is formed based on different opinions about parenthood, discipline, and childhood development. As you may have guessed, some parenting styles tend to have better outcomes for children than others.
According to Deborah Godfrey, a certified parent educator, parenting positively is a way for parents to teach self-control positively and discipline their children without taking away their sense of self. Other parenting styles can fall short in these areas, leaving both parents and children feeling frustrated and unheard.
Many parents and professionals are starting to see how a positive, mindful parenting approach has benefits over stricter or more permissive parenting styles. Strict or physical discipline undermines the lesson you're trying to teach and can backfire, leaving children with things like behavioral problems. Permissive parenting, on the other hand, often leads to children who like to push their limits.
So, How Does Parenting Positively Work?
Parenting positively(also known as peaceful parenting) is not as easy as deciding you're going to be more positive without any follow-through. Being a positive parent takes commitment and effort, but it does get easier once you get its hang. As a positive parent, you're committing to three things, says Aha! Parenting:
1. Regulating Your Emotions
After a stressful day, do you find yourself feeling drained, irritable, and short-tempered? Sometimes when parents are having a bad day, they unintentionally create a more negative environment at home. You may find yourself yelling or being frustrated by your child's crying or whining. On days like this, sometimes things seem to escalate from bad to worse quickly.
Parenting positively is a little different. As a positive parent, it's important to acknowledge your negative thoughts and feelings, but you should try not to let them affect your overall mood and interactions with your kids. When situations come up, try to think of things from your children's perspective and figure out what they need. Taking a few deep breaths before reacting to things can help keep the home calmer and happier.
2. Maintaining And Strengthening The Parent-Child Connection
Being a parent is a day, long-term commitment, but it shouldn't feel like a job or a chore. Think of each day as an exciting new challenge, where you get to see your child grow, learn, and interact with the world. Your job as a parent is to keep your kids safe, nurture them, and encourage them to be the best that they can be. Are you up for the challenge?
When you come to parenting from a more positive perspective, a lot can change. When your child does something wrong or acts up, think about why it's happening. Instead of yelling and making the situation worse, get on your child's level and talk to them. Rather than getting angry and repeating what your child shouldn't have done, take the time to explain why what they did was wrong and what they could have done instead.
3. Loving The Child Unconditionally
From childhood to adulthood, the parent-child relationship is an important one, so parents should make sure their kids know that they are loved unconditionally.
Some parents put so much pressure on their kids to do good in school, follow the rules, or live up to certain expectations. Over time, kids can start to think that their parent's love and acceptance are dependent on those things. As a positive parent, it's important to let your children know that you will always be there for them. Through good and bad, success and failure, your kids should know that they are loved.
Examples Of Parenting Positively In Action
The commitments you make as a positive parent involve being empathetic and taking on the role of providing guidance instead of punishment. Positive parents need to improve their self-awareness to control their emotions. They know that how they treat their children now directly impacts how their children see and feel about themselves as they get older.
To give you an idea of how the principles of parenting positively can be applied to your daily life, here are some examples of parenting positively in action:
- Get down on your kid's level when you talk to them, hold their hands, and wait for eye contact, so you know they're listening.
- Thinking about their needs when they act up: are they hungry, tired, or bored?
- Pausing before reacting negatively (instead of saying, "Stop whining right now!" say, "Please use a calm voice to talk to me.")
- Using positive language("You're helpful," "You make me proud," "It's okay to make mistakes")
- Listening to your kids with empathy and paraphrasing what they say so they feel heard.
- Going outside and doing something together as a family when your kids start to misbehave
Taking on a new parenting style is hard, especially if you've just learned about it. In addition to reading up on the subject, parents struggling to change their relationship with their kids can seek help from a counselor who works with families and is knowledgeable about parenting positively.
Online counseling services like Regain are an affordable, convenient alternative to in-person counseling. With online counseling, you get ongoing support for as long as it's needed. For busy working parents, it's nice to know that you can connect with an experienced professional from the comfort of your home or on the go.
Parenting Positively Studies And Statistics
Parenting positively is a strategy that parents can try for themselves at home, but that's not the only place that it's used. Parenting has been studied extensively, and it even forms the basis of several interventions for parents who report that they're struggling to raise children with behavioral problems. These programs are designed to help teach parents how they can reduce behavior problems at home.
According to Sanders, M.R. (1999), the Triple P-Parenting Positively Program "is a multilevel system of family intervention, which provides five levels of intervention of increasing strength … The program aims to determine the minimally sufficient intervention a parent requires to deflect a child away from a trajectory towards more serious problems. The self-regulation of parental skill is a central construct in the program." So, do these programs work?
One review and meta-analysis conducted by Thomas, R. and Zimmer-Gembeck, M.J. (2007) revealed that the Triple P-Parenting Positively Program is associated with improvements in observed child behaviors. Bor, M., Sanders, M.R., and Markie-Dadds, C. (2002) on 87 preschoolers found that the program resulted in significant improvements in children with disruptive behavior and attention/hyperactivity issues.
Still need more convincing to believe that parenting positively works?
Parenting positively has proven itself to be a great family intervention that benefits children's mental health and behavior. One of the main limitations of parenting positive programs, according to Sanders, M.R. (2008), is that "they don't do a very good job of getting the message out to parents in the community. Taking a public health approach to parenting positively would help spread the word and potentially help more people."
If you're about to become a parent for the first time, or you're having issues with your children's behavior, you might be interested in learning more about what different parenting styles are out there. Some parents aren't even aware of their parenting style. Like most things, there are benefits and drawbacks to all parenting styles, and it's up to you to choose which one is right for your family.
Parents who follow this style aim to create a relationship of mutual respect with their children. Instead of punishing children when they act up, positive parents look for the reasons behind the behavior. They explain why the behavior was wrong and what proper behavior would be in that situation to give kids a positive example.
If you decide that you need to change your parenting style, remember to be patient with yourself. Changing your habits and learning to think more before reacting can take some time, but it's worth it. Keep in mind that resources like books, the internet, and online or in-person counseling, can help you succeed on your journey to becoming a more positive, peaceful parent.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the positive parenting approach?
The positive parenting approach is a set of parenting strategies to raise children effectively, respectfully, and in a caring way.
Positive parenting solutions strike a balance between firm, assertive parenting and more gentle and compassionate parenting. Parents who raise their children in accordance with positive parenting attempt to address behavioral problems and conflict with optimism and a positive mentality; instead of punishment and anger, compassion and understanding are key.
Following positive parenting tips and spending time positive parenting in advance of misbehavior can reduce acting out.
Is Positive Parenting effective?
Research suggests that positive parenting is one of the most effective parenting strategies, as it raises kids who are independent, confident, and capable of taking on challenges.
You may notice some online parenting blogs assume that positive parenting is the same as permissive parenting or involves ineffective parenting tools such as excessive praise, but this is not the case.
In fact, positive parenting strategies are effective because they limit praise and rewards and increase encouragement, leading to personal autonomy.
Studies performed by parenting experts have shown that parents who use positive parenting solutions, including unconditional support, emotional coaching, necessary discipline, and encouragement over praise, raise more confident and self-sufficient children.
As our understanding of parenting evolves, so does our understanding of positive parenting tips and positive parenting solutions.
How do you correct a child’s bad behavior with positive parenting?
Correcting poor behavior using positive parenting strategies is often referred to as connection before correction. This is because positive parenting solutions involve preemptive teaching rather than strict positive or negative reinforcement after a behavior.
Parents of toddlers or children often use connection before correction to teach them that there can be real-world consequences to their actions and grow from making mistakes in positive ways.
This parenting strategy involves taking the time to put yourself in your child’s shoes, offering them gentle physical touch (if desired), choosing to focus on the solution to the problem rather than the accident itself, and reminding the child of a correction in a positive, respectful manner.
These positive parenting tips assume that the child is not acting out because they are malicious, but rather is just a playful kid who doesn’t yet understand the consequences. Following these positive parenting tips will allow your child to learn the consequences of their actions more effectively.
What are some good parenting skills?
Good parenting skills are necessary to raise your child to be an independent, confident person. These skills may look different for every family, but many parenting experts say that positive parenting solutions provide some of the most effective parenting skills.
Some important parenting strategies and skills might include:
- Focusing on encouragement over praise
- Prioritization of physical touch and warmth
- Avoidance of discipline through negative reinforcement
- Attitude is balanced between the firm and lenient.
- Respecting and understanding your child’s perspective
With children of any age, you may run into parenting challenges. However, these positive parenting tips (offered by Amy McCready, the positive parenting method founder) have been proven to work. Spending time on positive parenting and using these positive parenting tips will help you raise a self-sufficient, respectful child who will eventually grow into a capable adult.
How do you discipline positive parenting?
Many online parenting sites will tell you that discipline is the most critical time in parenting, which is no different from the positive parenting strategy.
However, discipline looks very different when using positive parenting solutions than when using a traditional parenting method.
The founder of the positive parenting method, Amy McCready, based her approach on research initially done by Dr. Alfred Adler, who popularized the notion that children behave better when treated with respect.
Thus, positive parenting tips for disciplining come from a basis of respect over negative reinforcement and punishment. This parenting strategy does not encourage coddling or leniency; instead, it encourages parents to use a solutions-based approach to discipline.
When your child misbehaves, they are not doing it to cause mayhem. They may be a high-energy curious kid who doesn’t know yet that it is a mistake or a hard time managing strong and sudden emotions.
You can follow positive parenting tips to help them learn the consequences of their behavior, such as encouraging them to clean the mess themselves or gently encouraging them to do the right thing next time.
Parents of toddlers and children who are just beginning to learn what is right and wrong may find that positive parenting solutions make a difference in their child’s misbehavior. No matter what, taking the time to evaluate your parenting skills and technique is likely to make you a more thoughtful parent.
What are poor parenting skills?
Poor parenting skills can range from physical and mental abuse and neglect to unjust and/or excessive punishment and negative reinforcement.
With the increasing inaccessibility to the internet, many parents seek online parenting blogs and websites to avoid poor parenting and poor parenting techniques. A perhaps more worthwhile search may be to seek out positive parenting solutions instead.
Positive parenting tips help counter the aforementioned poor parenting skills, such as negative reinforcement, by offering a more productive and healthy alternative. Deliberate effort to respect and understand your child is necessary to avoid poor parenting, learn more positive parenting tips, and better understand positive parenting.