“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
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.