Positive parenting may seem daunting at first, especially if your child is expressing behavioural, or emotional difficulties. However positive parenting focuses particularly on your child’s good behaviour, helping both yourself and your child identify the behaviours we would like to see more of.
It is however also not a means of ignoring negative behaviours, rather providing additional options to your child, so he or she may learn to choose behaviours that would lead to quicker and more effective results for both parents and child.
One of my favourite parenting books Children Are from Heaven, speaks about five messages for parents to provide to their children which not only helps a child feel safe, confident and in control, but also helps frame behaviours in a positive light for parents to understand why difficult behaviours occur.
These five messages include saying,
- it’s okay to be different, unique and who you are,
- it’s okay to make mistakes, let’s learn from them,
- it’s okay to express positive and negative emotions,
- it’s okay to want more, more time, more hugs and more space,
- it’s okay to say and hear no, with love knowing mom and dad are still in charge.
By simply saying these five things to your child you can help them see that what they are feeling is “normal” and okay, and that they can express themselves without fear or judgment.
Now that we’ve reviewed five ways of normalising emotion, let’s consider the top five positive parenting techniques that you can implement starting today
- Making eye-contact – this not only helps sustain attention but also provides you with an opportunity to talk on your child’s level, crouch down and seem less intimidating.
- Make your requests as clear as possible, instead of saying “go clean your room”, you can say “please go to your room and pack away your books, toys and clothes, then we’ll continue to play this game”.
- Give positive praise – when the situation calls for it remember to give praise to well-earned positive behaviours, “thank you for cleaning up your room Timmy, you even found all your socks”
- Express yourself – linking to positive praise and the five messages, allow yourself also to model emotions for your child, let them see how you manage anger, joy, stress, and gratitude.
- Use positive phrases – instead of saying “no running” you can say “Sabrina you can walk”, and instead of saying “no hitting” rather say “Brian, we’re using soft/ gentle hands”.
By engaging in these five messages and five parenting techniques with the parenting style you’ve been using it may provide your child with understanding of their behaviours, modifying their responses and meet you halfway.
More resources - Children are from Heaven – Positive Parenting Skills for Raising Cooperative,Confident, and Compassionate Children by John Gray, Ph.D.
- The positive Parent Raising Healthy, Happy and Successful Children, Birth-Adolescence by Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.