At a time, not so long ago, parenting was about being the leader, absolute authority and disciplinarian. Today we see a very different version of this. Look around you, parents are asking their children for their choices and preferences. They are handling difficult situations much like they would mediate adult conflicts. They are setting goals and providing opportunities to their children much like how it happens in the corporate world. Have parents today gone nuts and living in some crazy bubble? Or are these techniques showing positive results on the development of the child? Positive parenting is seeming to raise happy, healthy kids and showing similar results on the parents too.
Tell me more about positive parenting
Positive parenting focuses on the child and parent relationship. It creates a mutually satisfying relationship between the adult and child, such that both parties are happy with the outcomes and how to get to them. It sees children as thinking being who know (somewhat) what their likes and preferences are. So offering of choice and providing the tools and capability to choose the right ones is the modus operandi the parents use. This is done not just to get the day-to-day things done, but also to mould children towards the more difficult goals in life.
Disciplining is also achieved in this manner. In fact, in most places, positive parenting is interpreted as positive discipline. While it may be a sub set of it, it is not the entire thing. Positive discipline focuses on making the child understand the consequences of his actions and learning the cause-effect relationship between the elements that led to the situation. One of the biggest tenets of positive discipline is that it believes there are no bad children, just good or bad behaviours. These are not permanent character traits but something which happens in the moment. And these behaviours are tackled in a kind, sensitive and collaborative manner.
One of the biggest pillars of positive parenting is honest and open communication and lots of it that too. The parent- child relationship is healthy, happy and positive. Both parties benefit from basking in the pros of communication. This can tackle a lot of issues in relationships which the child has with parents, other close people in his circle and in the world tomorrow.
What are some of the techniques to practice positive parenting?
Modelling the right behaviour
The first principle of positive parenting tells parents that they need to model the right behaviours. If parents want their children to have the right values and behaviours they need to display these themselves. Everyone knows that children do as they see, not as they are told.
So whether it is inculcating a positive habit or the way you interact with the world outside, your children will only learn when they see you doing the same.
Make exclusive time with children
As is common knowledge by now, time with children is of utmost importance in raising sensitive happy and connected (not to a power source!) children. This time should be devoid of technological devices like the TV, mobile or such gadgets. It should involve you spending quality time, reading, playing – setting their imagination and curiosity on flight mode.
It need not involve any props like toys or books too. But telling them stories from your childhood, painting pictures of the time you were growing up work too. Children learn to develop self-esteem and confidence when they see how their own parents were one little and grew up, learnt many things and become responsible adults. Seeing a healthy path of growth gives children the confidence they need to set on this path themselves. You could even get your children to visit here to learn some social skills and develop their self esteem. Creative learning is super important for your children!
One important tip that I found from my reading on positive parenting is to get down to the level of the child. So for babies it could actually be holding them close to your chest and face as you talk, sing or babble to them. Does this ring bells of Attachment Parenting anyone?
For toddlers this could be sitting down on the floor to where they are or sitting in their playroom at their play desks. This not only helps in making them get a sense of this person is down at my level and not a threat but a supporter. It also helps them touch, feel and view to make sense of the adult and emulate them better.
It goes without saying that parents possess unconditional love for their children. But is that really what we portray to our children?
There are countless times when parents tell children things like, “you are a bad boy, I will not talk to you”, “If you don’t behave I will leave you and go away/ to office.” “If you don’t let me do my work I will leave you in daycare.” Yes I have said all these things at some point to my child. I am definitely not proud of it. But I know better now. I choose my words carefully and even when I am mad at him, I choose my words with thought. My tone is under control and my facial expressions are neutral. I constantly remind him that he is my baby and I am his mother and I love him forever.. our favourite rhyme goes like this…
“I’ll love you forever
I’ll like you for always.
As long as I am living, my baby you will be.”
from the book Love you forever by Robert Munsch
Talk & Listen
It may be easy for people to say that they do talk to their children. But do they really listen? Are we really listening when our kids are calling out to us to come quick and see what they made in their playroom? “I’ll be there in 5 minutes.” The moment is lost forever.
And talking to children is also a different ball game altogether. It should be constructed to elicit the right responses from them, lead us into their minds and help us see where their impressions are coming from.
I would love to talk more about talking and listening. But I shall leave you with the bible of it all – “How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk” You can view and purchase this book here.
(This is an Amazon affiliate link. I earn a teeny tiny commission if you make a purchase from this link. However it costs you nothing extra.)
Positive relationships with spouse and other important people
Children who see their parents as a happy couple are more confident, secure and have high self-esteem. This does not mean the adults bottle up everything and save the ugly arguments for when the kids are not around. That could in fact be harmful.
Children need to see that there is conflict in the world and it is ok. They need to know that a conflict does not mean the end of the world and that people and relationships tide by hard times and go on to win. Bringing a conflict to a logical and sound solution is a valuable skill which children need to see. How a child perceives and internalises parent’s conflicts can have deep impacts on the child’s own development and mental well-being.
Similarly children need to see the small squabbles which sometimes happen with people in the family – like your own parents or siblings. There are plenty of black sheep in every family, but kids need to understand that even extended friends and family relationships need to be nurtured.
This also helps children view and adopt gender roles and how to respect members of all genders. They know that respect for everyone is important.
Positive parenting is a lot many more things. Positive discipline is a very big aspect of this too. I touched upon it in this post here – Discipline.
The benefits of positive parenting are manifold
It leads to a harmonious and happy household. The environment is conducive for both children and adults alike to thrive.
Many times parents delve into parenthood, with a lot of self-doubt about whether they are doing a good job of it or not. Much of positive parenting is instinctive (this word crops up so much in New Age Parenting, I love it!) When parents and caretakers follow principles of positive parenting they see the satisfaction and happiness that can be derived from parenting. Parenting is guilt-free.
Positive parenting also leads to confident, mentally healthy and abundance of self-esteem. Children also become more independent and responsible for their actions. But not at the cost of their childhood. There is a parent around who will let them be children always. For further information on a how to be a positive parent, I would recommend you read this positive parenting solutions review. It supports this blog and provides other ideas on how to keep your relationship with your children positive!
This blog post is part of a series for the #AtoZBloggingChallenge where my theme is
New Age Parenting: Parenting in 201x.
Read my theme reveal post here.
To read all the posts for the #AtoZChallenge go here – #AtoZ2018
You may also find this post on Negotiating with kids very interesting too.