Your parenting methods, philosophy and techniques will make a difference in the lives of your children. Learning positive parenting skills can be of tremendous help in raising your family. No parent is perfect and mistakes will be made. Through the art of positive parenting, however, parents can learn how to raise their kids in a positive, loving environment while getting the most from their parenting experience.
What is Positive Parenting?
According to parenting expert Dr. Laura Markham, positive parenting is “simply guidance that keeps our kids on the right path, offered in a positive way that resists any temptation to be punitive.” A positive parenting program entails teaching children right from wrong through guiding their actions and encouraging good behavior. Parents are taught to treat their children with respect, be a role model for them to follow and raise their families in a peaceful, loving environment.
Positive parenting doesn’t eliminate all the problems and challenges of raising children. However, it does offer practical tips and solutions to resolving problems with discipline, power struggles, poor eating habits, stubbornness, sensitivity and more. Positive parenting with a plan to raise happy, well-adjusted children will also help you feel more fulfilled in your role as a parent.
Raising kids is a full time job for which many parents feel ill prepared. New parents can greatly benefit from gleaning parenting tips and techniques from those who are more experienced in this area. Studying about parenting is no substitute for the “real deal” but it can provide helpful information that parents can use to raise their children more effectively.
When it comes to parenting, perfection is not the goal. Even if you do everything right, there’s no guarantee your children will grow up into happy, well-adjusted adults. All parents make mistakes and experience successes and failures in their parenting efforts. Rather than abdicate your responsibilities as a parent, you should learn from your mistakes and try again. By recognizing your strong points and strengthening your weaknesses, you’ll have greater success in meeting your kids’ needs.
Children have physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs. As a parent, you’ll need to discern what areas are the most important to focus on for each of your children and make an effort to support them in these areas. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Discipline and correction is part of parenting; however, how you discipline makes a big difference in a child’s life. Blaming and criticizing your child for his mistakes and errant behavior will only cause anger and resentment as well as undermine his self-esteem. It’s important parents learn to correct and discipline in love, knowing that they, too, commit mistakes and make wrong decisions in their lives.
The old adage of “loving the sinner, but hating the sin” can apply to parenting as well. You can explain to your children that you dislike their behavior, but still love them. Discipline teaches your kids the difference between right and wrong behavior and encourages them to choose to do what is right. At the same time, you demonstrate your unconditional love for them by accepting and loving them for who they are – regardless of their conduct.
All children need quality time with their parents where they get undivided attention and love. Parents with busy schedules need to make this time a priority. Spending 10-15 minutes alone with your child daily can make a tremendous difference in his or her life. Some parents prefer scheduling a special evening every week or weekend afternoon to spend with their kids in order to stay connected with what’s happening in their lives. Even such small events as watching a video with popcorn together, playing board games, shooting baskets or going out for an ice cream will make your children feel special.
By making yourself available for your children from the time they are small, you can grow closer as a family and learn to love and appreciate each other more. Quality time also opens the door to establish good communications with your children so you can develop a relationship of mutual respect and trust.
Discipline is not an option when it comes to raising children – it is a need. Through discipline, your children learn good behavior and to live within reasonable boundaries. Most children will test the limits and boundaries you set. As a parent, you’ll need to be consistent in enforcing your rules so your kids learn to accept and respect your authority.
House rules give children a better understanding of what kind of behavior is acceptable and what is not. A good guideline for establishing rules is: your children’s words or actions are not allowed to hurt themselves or others or cause damage to home property. This includes such common errant behavior as hitting, name calling, teasing, throwing things, disobedience, talking back, etc. Smart parents will also establish rules for watching T.V., bedtimes, time with friends, dietary habits, etc.
Along with rules, you’ll need to establish a system for enforcing them. An example would be to give one warning and then follow through with a pre-established consequence such as losing a privilege or having “time out.” Being consistent with your discipline is a must, otherwise children will not learn to abide by the rules or respect your authority.
Setting reasonable boundaries is key to helping your children establish good habits and behavior. If you’re having a lot of difficulty in getting your children to obey, check to see if you have expectations beyond their ability or age. Sometimes a change in environment or tweaking the boundaries you’ve set will make it easier for a child to obey. As your children grow, you’ll also need to adjust your rules and extend your boundaries to teach them how to make wise decisions on their own.
Setting Boundaries Helps Children Feel Secure
Contrary to popular belief, boundaries help children feel more secure rather than restrict their learning. Having boundaries teaches your children self-discipline and control which will help them in every aspect of their lives. Self-discipline will help them make progress in their academic studies and develop good work habits. Self-control will enable them to establish good relationships with others and make wise decisions as they grow. The security of having boundaries will enable your child to grow in a more structured and orderly environment, which will only help him adjust to the world around him as he or she becomes an adult.
Positive Parenting Solutions to Behavior Problems
Most parents feel overwhelmed with their responsibilities at some time or other. Whether you have one child or half a dozen, parenting is simply a big job requiring your time and energy. The following positive parenting solutions offer some ideas on how to encourage good behavior in your children.
One on one time: One way to encourage better behavior is to establish a personal connection your kids by having one on one time. Some children misbehave on purpose simply to get your attention. By dedicating 10-15 minutes to them on a personal level, you may see remarkable improvement in their behavior.
Sleep: Make sure your children are getting sufficient sleep. Children who are overtired are more likely to be irritable, crabby and difficult to handle.
Routines: Children do much better when they have a regular routine to follow. Get your kids’ input on establishing their morning, mealtime, after school and bedtime routines so they’re more likely to follow them. Younger children may enjoy decorating a printed schedule and posting it on their bedroom wall.
Jobs: Encourage your kids to help with small jobs around the house as this teaches them responsibility and gives them a sense of accomplishment. You can even reward them from time to time for a job well done.
Problem solving: Rather than trying to mediate all your kids’ squabbles yourself, encourage them to work things out on their own with as little help from you as possible. You can give some suggestions but let them come up with final solutions that they are happy with and agree to follow.
Source of bad behavior: Most kids misbehave for a reason, such as lack of attention, insecurity, need for independence, etc. Finding the cause of your kids’ poor behavior can help you in developing strategies to resolve behavior issues.
Positive parenting techniques, tips and solutions are available to all parents who want and need help in raising their children. Knowing you are doing the best you can to raise your family in a positive way will make all your parenting efforts worthwhile.