It’s the goal of every parent to nurture and develop their children into positive, well adjusted and healthy adults capable of both wonder and creativity. And for many of us, those same values have been passed on from generation to generation. But what is positive parenting? How is it different from the parenting tips that most parents know?
Is it simply a new label thrown onto tried and tested parenting methods? Or is it an entirely new approach to child-rearing—one which could have deep and profound social effects?
Where to start with these positive parenting tips?
Central to positive parenting is the idea of mutual respect, one in which children are treated as individuals with their own natural curiosity and needs—not as personal property to be molded in the image of a parent. It’s a method which encourages parents to lead by example, not by mandate. A method which encourages tolerance, not condemnation. And a method which has grown increasingly popular over the past fifteen years.
But the effects of positive parenting neither begins or ends with our children. The effects can force us to reimagine our relationships, both to children and to one another, leading us to healthier and more supportive decisions.
What are the positive parenting tips you need to know?
Change begins as much with our children as ourselves. If you’re ready to make a fundamentally life altering effect in the development of your children, here are eight steps you can take towards more positive parenting.
1. Encourage Consequences Based On Reason, Not Demands
Far too often, we assume the best interests of our children are those based on our own personal decisions and vested interests. And while those interests can often be positive, encouraging children to make their own decisions based on rational consequences teaches them both independent and critical thought—values which can steer their course well into their adult lives.
2. Communicate As Equals
As parents, we have a tendency to speak to children under the false assumption they’re too young to understand age appropriate language. This helps to establish a one way form of communication, phrasing requests and suggestions as personal dictates.
Children are much wiser than we give them credit for. Encourage their understanding of the world around them by speaking to them just as you would an adult. This will not only encourage them to see things around them in a much richer light, but can help deepen their love for you as a person as much as a parent.
3. Clarify Your Expectations
Simple demands can often result in two words that never seem to lead anywhere: “but why?” By being clear and concise when you set a chore or task, you’re establishing ground rules as well as teaching your children about cause and effect. Encourage direct and positive action by avoiding unclear and vague language.
4. Laughter Can Be The Best Medicine
Help diffuse potential meltdowns and confusion with simple, light-hearted laughter! It doesn’t matter if a joke seems forced or hopelessly corny; laughter is one of the most intimate human expressions we can possess, and one which can teach your children that not everything has to be taken seriously. Laughter can teach resilience as much as it can be a release. And chances are, you could use a good belly laugh as much as your kids.
5. Avoid Stressing The Negatives
It’s easy to get caught up in a fear of reprisal as an adult. But for a child, it can be devastating. It can foster insecurity, not independence, and help create complexes which can last a lifetime. Rather than teaching them negative reinforcement, teach positive outcomes. Encourage them to think creatively, and focus more on solutions—not on consequences.
6. Self Expression Means Self Trust
There’s no better way to encourage your child’s sense of security and trust than by releasing their feelings, even when they’re angry or sad. But there’s a time and a place for self expression. Learning how to channel their feelings of fear, frustration and anger can be inherently positive where appropriate. Allowing them a free space of self expression at home can enforce a sense of boundaries, and give them a safe zone where they can feel secure to vent their frustrations.
7. Teach Them How To Learn From Their Mistakes
While it should be a natural progression for a child to learn every action has its consequences, it should be equally natural for them to discover just why and how they made a mistake—and more importantly, how they can learn from it. Explanation is a critical part of the learning process, and one that can take a lifetime to master. Even as adults, we’re still constantly learning. As a parent you have a fundamental need to lead by example.
8. Give Yourselves Both A Breather
There’s no doubt that, even with the joy and fulfillment it brings, being a parent can be frustrating. But if you feel like you’ve reached your limit, there’s an equal chance your child may be feeling so even more acutely. “Time outs” are as applicable to adults as they are for children—sometimes, even more so. Learn to give each other a breather if you feel like you’re at your wit’s end. Walk away for five minutes. Take some deep breaths and come back to confront a meltdown or tantrum. You’ll feel much more refreshed and clear headed without letting your emotions flare up. Remember, the goal is to teach your children by example. And the calmer you seem, the calmer and more reflective they’ll feel.
Parenting is never easy, but with the aid of this guide, you can adopt an approach that will help you raise positive, healthy and successful children.