Parenting in the most difficult job in the world. We always want the best for our kids, but there are so many factors to consider that it can feel overwhelming. Although there is no one right way to be a parent, it’s good to consider different parenting techniques to get a feel for which is the right fit for you.
What Is Positive Parenting?
Positive parenting is a sharp contrast to authoritarian parenting. Measures such as scolding and relying on punishments are common with authoritarian parenting, and this approach can leave children feeling low in self-esteem and anxious.
Authoritarian parenting can also involve the child feeling shame. Over time, it can also lead to feelings of anger about not being seen nor heard by their parent. Although it may lead to short-term compliance from children, authoritarian parenting approaches ultimately increase the chances of emotional and behavioural difficulties in adolescence and adulthood.
Positive parenting, on the other hand, is an approach where parents work with children to correct challenging behaviour by focussing more attention on what the child is doing right and taking a more supportive approach to misbehaviour. It involves the following techniques:
- Focusing in on the things that children are doing right
- Creating a feeling of connection
- Being encouraging and nurturing
- Using positive guidance
- Problem-solving with the child (and teaching them to problem solve)
Engaging with children in this way can promote confidence and offer them much-needed tools to cope with adverse situations in the future.
So, where do you begin with positive parenting and how can you implement it in your everyday life? Here are a few tips.
Positive Parenting Techniques For Parents
- Spend quality time with your child, one on one. It doesn’t need to take up too much of your day – just fifteen minutes of time spent really being present with your child (i.e., not scrolling through your phone at the same time) can promote a sense of connection and support.
- Make expectations clear. When your child has a clear understanding of expectations, they know what they need to do to get to the fun stuff. Setting a clear expectation that is followed by free time or something enjoyable lets them take ownership of their responsibilities in order to get to the enjoyment at the end.
- Avoid indulging in too many gifts & rewards – try using encouragement and one-on-one time. Rewards such as toys, extra screen time, or special treats can soon become boring and may no longer be effective if used too often. Instead, trying mixing up rewards with positive encouragement and special one-on-one time. When offering encouragement, remember that it’s best to avoid encouragement that points to their character. For example: instead of saying “you’re the best player on the team” you could say “you played really well today, and I could see you put in lots of effort, well done!”. Similarly, kids love to spend one-on-one time with you, and this can be used to reinforce good behaviour, too. “You did a great job helping to pack away the toys this morning, so now we can spend the next 10 minutes time together playing a game you really like”.
- Explain consequences so that your child can learn to make educated decisions. For example, to help children learn about sharing toys with their friends, you might say: “it’s your choice if you let your friend play with the fire engine toy or not. But remember, if you don’t share your toys with your friends, then your friends might not share their toys with you when you want to play with them. How would you feel if you really wanted to play with his police car, but he said no?”. This may not always result in the behaviour you would like; however, it helps to explain the rationale behind our decision-making as adults, and it builds your child’s understanding of what it means to make a decision about their behaviour, and the related consequences of that decision.
Positive parenting works hard to build children up instead of breaking them down. Some of these techniques may involve more time and effort and attention from the parent than other parenting styles, however the longer-term consequences are more positive for the child AND the parent. Putting in the time now to build a positive parenting connection with your child is a great step towards a connected, caring, and healthy relationship with them into the future. And it is setting your child up for success in their adult years.
Positive parenting is a parenting technique that allows parents to work in alignment with their children, helping them grow and learn through experience and choice, instead of enforcing a pre-determined route or way of being.
At Sydney City Psychology, we have a child and family service that offers parenting support, child therapy sessions, family therapy, assessments for children and adolescents, and parenting groups. Get in touch today if you would like to find out more about positive parenting, or any of our services for young people and families.
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