Positive parenting is a type of parenting behavior that uses kind and firm positive discipline to teach children to correct future behavior. It is different than other techniques that rely on negative behaviors like yelling, physical force, or harsh consequences. Effective positive parenting can help create a more peaceful, happy home.
At Rooted & Rising, we regularly work with parents on various parenting techniques and how they may approach different situations with their children. Positive parenting often comes up as a method that has seen successful results in building the parent/child relationship, creating healthy self-esteem, fostering resilient and well-mannered children and healthy confident parents.
Here are some tips our counselors and therapists share for positive parenting:
1.) Determine the reasons behind the behavior.
There are many reasons why children may act out or misbehave. All too often we look at the behavior rather than the reason why the child may be acting that way. It is important to remember that children don’t have the emotional capacity to process things in the same way that adults do. So, while some things may seem silly to us as parents, they are very serious to the child. By acknowledging why a child is acting out, you are showing the child emotional support. They may not get what they want, and that is ok, but they will feel heard.
A way you can do this is by asking the child questions and practicing active listening. For example, if a child hits a sibling, you may find out it is because that sibling took a toy without asking. As a parent, you can encourage the sibling to ask before taking the toy and explain to the child that hitting is not ok.
2.) Be kind and firm.
Set a positive example for your child. They are looking to you as a model for behavior. If you are yelling at your child every time they do something wrong, or you humiliate them or call them names then your child is likely going to do the same when they are upset. They don’t know any other way. Instead, talk to them with kind, firm language and explain why things are right or wrong.
Remember, though, being kind is not the same as giving a child everything they want. It just means showing your child the same respect you expect them to show you.
3.) Be clear and consistent.
Explain expectations and consequences to your child ahead of time so there are no surprises. They should expect consequences for wrongdoing and should understand what those consequences are. If a parent is not consistent or clear, there will be confusion, sometimes causing the child to act out more. The child may feel the need to test or challenge the parent to see what else might happen. Avoid making empty threats that you never intend on following through with.
4.) Learn about age-appropriate behavior and brain development.
Most parents have not taken a child development course. We don’t know what is age-appropriate. The good news is a quick internet search can give you some valuable information about what is and what is not appropriate at your child’s age. For example, tantrums are very common for toddlers. They aren’t fun for parents but they are a way for a toddler to express their emotions when they aren’t sure how else to get their point across. Children at this age need to learn how to regulate their feelings. Tantrums provide that emotional release they are looking for. As a parent, you can teach them healthy ways to react. You can give them time to cool off or encourage them to take deep breaths or walk away. You can help to redirect their attention.
5.) Give yourself a time out when needed.
It is easy and OK for a parent to feel overwhelmed or frustrated by their child’s behavior. Rather than reacting in stress and exhaustion, give yourself a time out. Let a spouse take over. Lock yourself in a bathroom or bedroom to breathe through it for a moment and then approach the child. This is an important moment for you and your child. If you can calm yourself down and approach your child with kindness and firmness then they will learn how to handle anger and disappointment with grace.
Help is available
If you are unsure what parenting techniques you would like to use in your household or if you need some guidance in how to implement certain strategies, consider seeking the help of a licensed mental health professional. We can help to guide you as you navigate the many challenges of parenthood.
Ready to begin counseling in PA?
The professionally trained and licensed counselors at Rooted & Rising Therapy in Bridgeville have openings. Our practice specializes in treating individuals through years of experience, we’re confident that no problem is too great to overcome. Through therapy, there is always a way to address the issues you face and learn coping strategies to help you both right now and in the future. Just call our office at (412) 228-8489 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started to feeling better today. We are here for you.