There are many styles of parenting, and each style has its advantages. That is why I feel it is important to understand the different parenting styles and take the best aspects of each. One such style is positive parenting. The words “positive parenting” tend to be thrown around a lot these days. Some people think it’s simply being loving to your children and avoiding punishment. Well, they’re partly right, but the important thing to remember is through the positive reinforcement there are consequences for behaviors and you are always working toward the goal of having happy, well-adjusted children. Children who live in positive environments don’t turn out to be spoiled brats! They grow up to be intelligent and successful in all aspects of their lives.
Guidelines to Positive Parenting
Whatever your goals for positive parenting might be, here are a few guidelines to keep you on track to being a positive parent:
Show Unconditional Love: Unconditional love means we accept our children completely as they are. We accept their physical characteristics, their talents and skills and even what we might consider to be their shortcomings. If you have childcare for your children, make sure they follow the same philosophy of unconditional love.
Try to understand your children and provide them with the care and love they need. Not all children are exactly the same and they may have different needs. But whatever their needs are, show them you love them in all situations.
Even when your child misbehaves, remember your child is not bad. Instead, it’s the behavior that needs to be corrected. When you can still show unconditional love when a child is misbehaving you can better understand why they are behaving that way.
Most importantly, unconditional love gives your children confidence and shows them that it’s okay to make mistakes.
Be Consistent: Your behavior with your children should be consistent and predictable. Set limits and expectations your children can understand and are aware of.
For example, bedtimes should always be the same. If you let your child stay up late a few nights and then you expect them in bed early the next night, you’ll run into problems. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a special stay up late night now and then, but expect there to be some adjustment to an earlier bedtime after.
If your child misbehaves, consequences should always be related to the behavior. For example, if your child is coloring and proceeds to draw on the walls, coloring time is over. Taking away another privilege, unrelated to coloring just doesn’t make sense. The consequence should be employed each and every time they behave that way. Sometimes it’s easier as a parent not to go through with the consequences, but with consistency it’s easier to get the behavior to cease.
What’s better – not dealing with the situation or dealing with a few times to get it to stop? You’ll probably agree it’s the latter.
Allow room for change. Sometimes, we as parents, make decisions that we might discover are too strict or are no longer age-appropriate. It’s okay to re-adjust and then reinstate consistency.
Protect Your Children: Be involved with your children and ensure they are always in a safe (both physically and emotionally) environment. Comfort them when they need comforting so they feel secure.
If they see something that frightens them, talk to them about it and help them work through that fear. Never ridicule them, but show them how things that can seem scary really don’t have to be.
On the other hand, if your child is afraid of something like a roller coaster, it’s not necessary to force your child to get over that fear. Riding roller coasters are not a necessity in life.
Then there are some things that might be necessary. If you require childcare and your child is uncomfortable with staying with a new caregiver, spend some time with your child and the caregiver together.
Empower your children with knowledge to deal with unsafe situations. Whether it is a stranger approaching them, an earthquake or simply crossing a busy street, make sure they know what to do in each situation.
Encourage your children to surround themselves with positive and safe people.
Next Sunday, part 2 will explore giving children choices, role modeling, playing and interacting with your child.