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Parenting

Positive Parenting: The A – Z Guide

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“Eat your food. How many times must I repeat? Eat your food!” Hello, stop yelling! Have you ever heard about positive parenting? Maybe it’s time you change your parenting approach. As a mom, I can attest that babies can drive you nuts. However, let me mention that there are no good or bad kids. How we raise them makes all the difference. The good news is that it’s never too late to change. In this article, I will explain what positive parenting means, how to practice it, and why you should join the positive moms and dads club. Let’s get started.

What Is Positive Parenting?

I would define positive parenting as a style of parenting that focuses more on positive correction methods, rewards, and gentle reminders on our children as opposed to a punitive approach. For example, instead of always saying “no”, “don’t do that”, “stop” etc., I find myself saying “yes you can but not right away”, “do it this way”, “that’s my good boy”. Sounds familiar?

Understanding Your Kid

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I mentioned before that there are no bad or good kids. However, psychology categorizes kids into two groups: The compliant type and the spirited type. Some kids can be an extreme of one type while others lean mildly.

The compliant kid is what most people refer to as “the good kid”. They always know what to do to make mommy happy. They are also the best performers in school because they follow the rules and are afraid to say no. The spirited kid, on the other hand, is not afraid to challenge you. If you try getting on their way, they will stop you. These are the type of kids that most parents have trouble with.

Approaches to Positive Parenting

  1. The Straight Talk

This approach works best with compliant children. All you need to do is to tell them “I don’t like 1, 2, and 3. How about doing 4, 5, and 6?” And they will remember and respect the rules. However, as a parent, I always emphasize being more cautious with the compliant children. Since they are so afraid of offending you as a parent, they will hide things from you even if those things hurt them.

At some point in life, you need to teach the compliant child how to say no. They also need to learn that pleasing everyone is not necessarily OK. And that they should also expect something in return. Consequently, they will grow up knowing the difference between being obedient and being used negatively.

  1. The Choice Technique

The choice approach works best with spirited children. I usually bend low to my kids’ level when issuing instructions and give them a choice. For example, when I need them to exercise the dog, I will tell them; “you can go play outside with the dog, or stay indoors and help me clean up your room.” Isn’t it obvious that they will choose to play with the dog? And I don’t have to shout.

When I need them to eat, I tell them; “If you finish your food before 2 pm, we’ll go to the market together. But if you don’t, I’ll have to leave you at home.” The trick is to work with your children’s weaknesses. If they love the outdoors, or gaming, then use that to your advantage.

  1. The Reward Method

In this approach, I emphasize on rewarding good behavior and having zero tolerance for bad behavior. This is a common approach for many parents I have interacted with. However, most of them make a grave mistake. There is a difference between a reward and a bribe.

I hear parents tell their kids “If you do your homework, I will buy you a new PlayStation tomorrow.” That is bribing. The best approach is to explain to them why doing their homework is good and then let them do it without further pushing. Once they do it as per your instructions, offer them the PlayStation. Now that’s a reward.

Advantages of Positive Parenting

It builds self-esteem and self-discipline:

When I let my children decide, they tend to feel more responsible for their actions. And if they make an independent choice on their own, they gain more confidence.

Positive parenting builds trust:

Father and son blowing bubbles Image

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to build trust with your children. Let them know that in case they get hurt, bullied, or molested they can trust you. This trust will only develop if you stop behaving like you rule their world. Instead, find common ground with your kids and communicate often.

Your children become psychologically aware of negative and positive energy:

I see very often that when a mother shouts or gets angry, their child throws even more tantrums. But when you change your tone and become gentle, the child retaliates. Practice positive parenting from the day your baby is born and you’ll enjoy smooth parenting all the way.

Your spiritual connection intensifies:

Every time you argue or shout at your kid, you become angry, frustrated, and sometimes depressed. This draws you further away from your spiritual realm. Positive parenting, on the other hand, intensifies your spiritual connection; both you and your children.

Parents can appreciate parenting:

I believe that the less a parent shouts, the more their subconscious is at ease. I don’t have to apologize every time I discipline my kids. It also makes me appreciate our moments together. Less arguing and shouting creates a quiet and conducive environment for all of us.

Marriages are restored:

When you co-parent using positive parenting techniques, you’ll get along better. You also reduce anger problems and the blame game. “This child turned out like this because you always defended him, or you always shouted at him” and so on and so forth. And there is nothing as fulfilling as partners who appreciate each other’s input in a marriage.

The Downside

If not used correctly, positive parenting can spoil your children’s behavior. All the praise and rewards can backfire if you’re not careful. I reserve praise and rewards for actual accomplishments. And not every time! The child needs to know that being good is not doing mommy or daddy a favor but rather a way of life.

The Bottom Line

I am a firm believer that positive parenting imparts our children with better morals and skills. However, I can’t help but feel over-protective of my parents when every other article on the internet keeps condemning how they raised us. I mean, we turned out fine. That said, let me remind you that today’s life is nothing compared to our life back in the days. The internet, revised education curriculums, and our children rights activists changed everything. So stop clinging to the unorthodox methods used in the past. Keep up with the generation and embrace positive parenting for a more prosperous future generation.

Rachel is a mom of two boys, a wife, and a part-time chef. By trying and testing new parenting trends she takes her motherhood to the next level! She finds that she processes things better when she writes about them, which has unleashed her passion for sharing her thoughts on life and parenting through her articles for SOLANCHA Magazine.

Parenting

Signs That You’re Raising an Empath Child with Tips to Handle Them

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An empath child is very unique and special. However, initially, most parents don’t understand how to deal with them.  Therefore, this confuses the child even more. You see, the child is going through new emotions and strange things. They need time to understand, appreciate, and deal with all this. As a parent, the best gift you can give an empath chid is supporting them emotionally and assuring them that it’s normal for them to be different. As they grow older, teach them how to harness their empath abilities and make use of them.

How Do You Identify an Empath Child?

They Are Overly Emotional and Sensitive

Does your child cry when another kid is in pain? Do they react strongly to criticism? Empath children are highly sensitive to other people’s emotions. They also don’t like being corrected harshly.

However, you don’t have to raise a spoilt brat just because they possess empath qualities. Just try to understand why they do what they do and correct them with love. Sometimes you can ignore wrongdoing but make sure you have a candid talk about such behaviour later on.

They Have Strong Connections with Nature and Animals

The choice approach works best with spirited children.

Naturally, empath kids don’t make friends with their age mates easily. They stand out as too mature for their age. However, they have a strong bond with animals. If your kid prefers to take a stroll in the neighborhood with their dog, let them be.

Occasionally, they will describe to you several aspects of nature after such strolls. For example, they want specific flowers growing in your garden. Or they will ask why particular trees appear like they are whistling. Empath children can be full of surprises. Wait till they tell you they talked to a tree!

They Don’t Blend Easily in Crowds

Inner Child Image

Does your little one scream aloud when you suggest going to the public park to play? Do they prefer to stay locked in their room instead? Don’t worry. She’s/he’s an empathic child. Generally, empaths find crowds to be suffocating. When in such places, their brains are working full time trying to process all the mixed energies in their surroundings.

Over time, an adult empath learns how to cope with such situations. But this is not always the case for a child. This sensation is a thousand times harder for a child because they are still discovering new things in their surroundings.

They Love “Me-Times”

Me-Times Image

As your empath child fights off the overwhelming energies of a crowd, they find it peaceful staying indoors. This tendency should not worry you. If your child loves spending time on his/her own, make his/her surrounding welcoming. 

Fill his/her room with interior decorations and the colors she loves. Encourage him/her to discover his/her creative side. Above all, let him/her know that it is okay to spend his/her time on his/her own.

They Can Be Control Freaks

Most parents of empath children always expect them to be moody and oversensitive. However, they never imagine them as control freaks. Well, they can be.

Think about it. Does your empath child like everything to be done in a particular order? Do they get agitated when you challenge their ideas? Or, do you notice your child counterchecking the door locks or washing their hands too many times? That is normal for empaths.

They Like to Develop a Routine

Often, an empath child knows the things that get him/her anxious. In turn, they develop an obsession for control to keep the anxiety triggers away. This way, they can easily cope with the anxiety build up.

If your child happens to be a control freak and anxious most of the times, try to look at situations in their perspective and sympathize with them. Develop simple routines that will reassure the child.

How to Master Your Emotions and Use Your Energy to Empower an Empath Child

empath children image

As long as you are not a narcissist, you are the best gift that your empath child has. However, you need to understand when to correct them, when to let it go, and when to teach them. Sadly, with an empath child, most of the time you as a parent are the one learning, not the other way round. If you can keep your emotions in check, it is simple to have a child-centered educational approach. Let me show you how.

Learn To Listen More

As your empath child discovers his/her likes and dislikes, always offer a listening ear. At this stage in their lives, the children will have many questions without proper answers. Some of these questions may look petty to you. However, never dismiss empath children when they approach you.

Instead, let them know that they can always run to you to express the way they feel. As a parent to an empath child, you need to be their cheerleader as they go through the motions of life.

Teach them to Use Affirmations

mother and daughter image

Do you enjoy starting your day with meditation? Why not do it with your little one? Teach your child to be grateful for the little things that happen in their life. Let them know that their sensitivity is a gift which they can use for the benefit of others and themselves. Let them learn to accept and love themselves through constant affirmations.

Finally, Enrol Them in the Right Education Programme

Empath children thrive best in child-based curriculums such as those offered in Montessori systems. The reason is that they like being in charge. If you enroll them in schools that push them around to do what the school dictates, that child might never realize their full potential.

They might also lead a very boring school life. Yes, most of us hated school anyway, but we were never really depressed by the curriculums offered, right?

The Bottom Line

I hope the above discussion has shed some light on how to handle your empath child. Nurture them from their tender ages and support them emotionally. And when you feel like giving up, remember that the empath child feels even more weight than you do. So hang in there! Once they understand their unique personalities, they will be easier to handle and mentor.

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Parenting

Why Is Yoga For Kids Becoming So Popular?

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Yoga for kids is recently becoming a norm. We live in a fast-paced world. Every day, we have deadlines to beat, targets to achieve, places to be and so on. These demands can be very stressful. And indeed they are. But did you know that even our children undergo a lot of stress? From the anxiety of upcoming examinations, illness, the death of a family member, change of schools, to the simple gestures we make about the child’s appearance?

All this put excessive pressure on children. Far much more than their physical and mental capability! And when these children can’t handle it anymore, you notice a lack of concentration, throwing tantrums, sleeping problems, eating disorders, headaches, and even drug abuse. In fact, research shows that stress is the leading cause of mental health problems in children and teens. And we the parents can play a crucial role in helping these children cope with stress through yoga.

Why Yoga?

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Yoga is based on the principle of prevention rather than treatment. It emphasizes the body’s ability to heal itself. The best part is that it can be customized to fit the specific needs of any child. With activities such as relaxation techniques, the assumption of postures and many more, a good yoga instructor can quickly make these activities fun and effortless for any child.

As a parent, your emphasis at home can supplement the instructor’s efforts. This is because yoga’s benefits build up through regular practice. Soon, your child will be living a stress-free life because he/she has learned alternative ways to cope with stress.

However, the major concerns among most parents I have interacted with remain; what can my child gain from yoga? How can I choose the best instructor for my kid? How can I assist my child at home to practice yoga as a way of coping with stress? I have answered all these concerns and more in this article, let’s get started, shall we?

The Benefits of Kids Yoga Classes

Yoga introduced at an early age builds a child’s self-esteem and physical awareness. In addition, attending kids yoga classes will benefit your child in the following ways:

  • Relaxation

yoga for kids image

Have you ever noticed how children forget about their worries when they do an activity they enjoy? A sweet, captivating story told by a person they trust can do the trick. Yoga has similar activities. In the kids’ yoga classes, they tell stories, play games and music, mimic animal postures and much more. These capture the child’s attention and momentarily let them forget about their anxiety and worries.

  • Weight management

Obesity in children presents a vicious cycle. Obese children tend to have low self-esteem. And in extreme conditions, they suffer from depression and anxiety. These, in turn, push the child to indulge in more poor eating habits that again worsen their obese condition. Kids yoga classes are less strenuous for the overweight child who feels ashamed of exercising with his peers at the sports grounds. They help them distract their mind from unhealthy habits and provide relation techniques, should the need to snack unnecessarily arise.

  • Improves sleep

Every parent can relate to a night when their child had difficulties sleeping. I do. But when this routine happens more often, yoga comes in handy. Yoga Nidra, for example, is a form of yoga technique designed to help with sleep-related anxieties.

  • Increases concentration

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Stress can make a child forget to even brush their teeth! Yoga for kids helps by calming a child’s mind. By taking a child on an imaginative journey where they can imagine riding in a balloon, swimming with the dolphins, etc. they tend to have a calm mind and can concentrate better. A good instructor will go the extra mile to print pictures of the imaginative places they went to visit with the children.

The benefits of yoga for kids go beyond just coping with stress. Yoga enhances physical flexibility, self-discovery, body balance, better breathing among other significant benefits. Work with a reputable kids yoga instructor and do your part at home to make yoga as natural as possible.

How to Choose a Yoga Instructor for Your Child?

Yoga for kids is entirely different from yoga designed for adults. A good yoga instructor should be able to tailor the yoga lessons to suit your little one. Tick the following boxes as you shop around:

Does the teacher understand your child’s way of communicating?

The effectiveness of yoga lessons is enhanced when the instructor understands the gestures and anticipates the needs of your child.

Do they make the lessons lively?

yoga for kids instructor image

A good yoga instructor will make use of the children’s high energy levels instead of suppressing them.

Has the teacher set clear boundaries?

Children tend to respect adults who are clear in their instructions. A good instructor will ensure that they have captured the attention of the child before giving directions.

Do they handle small classes?

A class size of fewer than 30 kids is ideal since the instructor can closely monitor the personal journey of each student.

Finally, attend a trial class with different instructors and compare their styles of teaching yoga. Watch your child’s reactions as you move from one instructor to the next. You will learn a lot.

How Can Parents Complement The Yoga Instructor’s Efforts At Home?

kids yoga image

I normally set healthy patterns for my kids to help them continue with the meditation and other yoga practices every day. I believe that this practice will set them to continue with yoga even into their adulthood. You can make yoga a part of your daily life too.

  • Focus on the fun – Carry out activities that your child enjoys. Don’t dwell on one activity for too long.
  • Provide your child with the equipment they need – This can be as simple as just getting a mat for meditation or a comfortable pair of pajamas if you meditate before bedtime.
  • Be easy and learn to let go – Yes. Children have a hard time learning in a military style class. Guide our kid to achieve their daily goal instead of emphasizing on perfection.
  • Encourage imagination – Parents tend to be rigid and want to be realistic at all times. But when you are conducting yoga classes, you need to make use of your imagination to create a conducive environment for the child to relax.

In conclusion

Don’t wait until your child is overwhelmed with stress for you to take action. Immediately you notice a significant behavioral change, lend them a helping hand. Yoga for kids could be that helping hand. Book a kids yoga classes and be consistent and creative in teaching yoga at home as a coping strategy for your child. You will be amazed at the transformation.

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Meditation

Walking Meditation for Kids: Doing It the Right Way

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“But mum, I’m bored. Can’t I just play on the X-box instead?” Yes, that’s what Jason, my son, always said before we’d go for our daily dose of a walking meditation. Until I realized that I was doing it all wrong. So, how do you introduce walking meditation for kids?

Meditation is a way of achieving mental clarity and emotional calmness through focusing the mind on a particular thought or activity. It dates back to India, as early as 1500BCE among the Buddhists. This tradition has now gained momentum among most cultures as the benefits have proven to be way too many.

Other Common Types of Meditation

Body scan or progressive relaxation

Guided Visualization

Mindfulness meditation

Breath awareness meditation

Kundalini yoga

Zen meditation

Metta meditation

Transcendental meditation

I prefer the walking meditation since it is easy to learn and apply with the little ones. Because the current generation has grown up hooked to gadgets and the Internet which have had adverse effects on them, we need to correct that. The ‘Television Nanny’ for instance has robbed kids of their innocence at such a young age. There is no better way to heal and correct this situation than introducing them to meditation.

walking family image

First and foremost, walking meditation for kids is one of the easiest forms that children can start with. Since walking is the main technique of achieving focus here, it should be easier for kids as young as 2 years to master. My little Jason picked it up after just two weeks of practice.

How to Perform Walking Meditation for Kids

This is best practiced in a quiet place free from any distractions to enhance mental calmness and emotional awareness. We do it in the park when traffic is minimal. It is easier for the kids to achieve calmness and harmony within a short span if well guided. And they also enjoy the cool breeze, vegetation, and everything else that nature has to offer. Encourage them to take off your footwear for optimum experience. Remember that the goal is to achieve calmness and total awareness.

Now take slow relaxed breaths together and help your young one do so. Our usual routine starts by momentarily closing our eyes and enjoying the air as we breathe. I then ask my boy how or what he is feeling at that moment.

meditation for kids image

At the back of your mind try to answer the following question during this meditation period: “Is the child now aware of their immediate surrounding? Do they notice any calming effect?” And you can also ask them directly if they are old enough to understand.

Guide your loved one in making slow informed steps. Do not rush it. Step by step walk with them and teach them to feel the pressure on their feet. Does the child feel it? That is how you can tell for sure if you are in this together.

Moreover, children will live for the simple interesting things. Make the process fun. Jason and I sing Sponge Bob Squarepants’songs while at it. And he loves it. Kids are more likely attracted to fun activities. And if you could integrate a little fun into meditation then you sure will win over your little one.

A Gentle Reminder

With kids, you need to constantly check that the little one is alert and present in the moment. Take a ‘royal stroll’ with more slow steps and feel the inner you. What is the child feeling? Ask them. Can he/she feel as they lift their leg off the earth?

mother and daughter walk

Their attention naturally might wander off at times. But hey, do not scorn them. They are just kids. Monitor them and help them back to the present moment whether they have been away for ten minutes or just a second. Just like training a puppy. Well, except this puppy is your adorable sweet little angel. Do this for thirty to forty minutes. But after some time you can integrate this meditation into simple activities such as errands or your usual walk to the mall. If you make it fun the kid should find it easy doing it on their own.

Simple Meditation Techniques for Kids

So how then do you get your child to take onto meditation? It is not an easy task at first but once they pick it up then it should be a ride in the park. The following strategies did the trick for me:

  1. Keep it Simple. Philosophy is not a field any kid will venture into. At their age, they do not need to understand the complexities and modus operandi of meditation. I noticed that relating the walk with the simple surrounding improved focus.
  2. Curiosity. Kids are by far the most curious creatures. Frequently asking my son how he feels strengthens our bond and he is less bored.
  3. Do not compel them into it. Yes, let them be. My son was not into meditation initially but I realized that forcing him was not the best option but rather working together as a team. I stepped down to his level, just a little bit, and that worked for me.
  4. Make it a norm. We have made it a habit to meditate every Friday and Saturday evening. I was surprised that he still meditates even when I’m not around.
  5. Nature Watch. This is the beauty of it all. Ask them what they see. Visualize the experience. Not a minute passes without my boy asking me to name a certain bird or just random objects. “Mom look, that parrot is pecking at us.”
  6. Chant and sing. Recite mantras and sing their favorite play songs. This takes the monotony out of the whole walking meditation for kids.

Benefits of Walking Meditation for Kids

  1. Meditation helps reduce anxiety and hyperactivity among children. They are better equipped at dealing with stress and handling other situations in life. Studies have shown that children exposed to meditation at a prime age grow into healthier adults.
  2. Brain development. Meditation helps kids mature mentally and even their concentration span is increased. My son’s performance in class has steadily shot up and I have meditation to thank.
  3. Self-control. Meditation has an effect of turning kids into fully grown rational individuals. Chances of them making asinine decisions or actions for that matter are almost impossible.
  4. Self-esteem. Children attach a greater sense of self-worth and even associate more openly with their parents. We relate more closely with my son than we did before.
  5. Reduced panic disorder. Children who meditate are better equipped at handling whatever difficult situations they may face in life.
  6. Children who meditate handle pain better and also mentally strong thus decision making is no tall order for them.

In Conclusion

I started meditation with my boy when he was 6years and seeing the many perks I only wish I’d have started earlier. However, kids will not always respond positively to meditation at first but be sure to take them at a friendly pace and soon enough they will pick up. Walking meditation for kids is one of the simplest forms of meditation and if done properly the outcome won’t disappoint you.

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