Parenting is a rollercoaster. One minute you are delighting in your child’s milestones and the next minute you are frustrated and feel like giving up. The little joys of playtime, cuddles, pure love and joy make parenting a wonderful journey. For something that doesn’t come with a manual, parenting can for sure drive you up the wall especially when you can’t figure out exactly what your child needs. Not forgetting how annoying their tantrums are and the myriad challenges that come with each developmental stage and age.

Different Parenting Styles

There are many contributing factors to a child’s development like their educational background, environment, and social experiences but parenting style is the most significant. Your parenting style determines the kind of adult your child will become. There are different parenting styles:

  • Authoritative – loving and nurturing parenting but controlling of children’s behavior through strict limits and rules.
  • Authoritarian – unaffectionate parenting style that is guided by extreme rules and high expectations. There’s an emphasis on obedience and discipline.
  • Permissive – highly responsive parenting that aims to be the child’s friend instead of the guardian. The parent doesn’t set rules nor give responsibility.
  • Neglectful – detached and unavailable parenting that doesn’t respond to the child’s needs. It doesn’t offer guidance, attention or structure.
  • Tiger – harsh and demanding parenting style that is more focused on the high achievement of the child. Enforces rigorous routines and unrealistic expectations.
  • Attachment – parenting that emphasizes birth–bonding, breastfeeding, babywearing, bed-sharing, and being responsive. It’s sensitive to the child’s needs.
  • Helicopter – parenting that overprotects the child from pain, disappointment, and harm. Parents are constantly around the child and pay a lot of attention to them.
  • Outsource – parenting that depends on others to raise the child like their nannies or other family members. Aims for perfection.
  • Positive parenting – the continual relationship of a parent(s) and a child or children that includes caring, teaching, leading, communicating, and providing for the needs of a child consistently and unconditionally. (Source)

Understanding Positive Parenting

Some parents frown upon the idea of positive parenting because their understanding is that children have no autonomy or the right to their feelings and choices. Their idea of discipline is physically or verbally assaulting the child. In extreme cases, children are to be seen but not heard, obeying every command of their parents without question.

  • Positive parenting seeks to build a mutually respectful relationship between parent and child through reinforcement of good behavior in a way that strengthens the character and esteem of the child. It’s sensitive to the child’s needs, sets boundaries, rewards accomplishment, is full of guidance, is consistent, emotionally secure, and affectionate.
  • Positive parenting honors the individuality of a child. It nurtures, empowers, and corrects the child in nonviolent ways. A positive parent is conscious of how their emotional state affects their child and encourages emotional honesty and vulnerability. Empathy is a key ingredient of positive parenting because the parent needs to connect with their child’s feelings and understand things from their perspective if they are to respond appropriately to the child’s needs.

“It is better for your children to come to you by a feeling of respect and gentleness, than by fear. ” — Unknown

 

How to Practice Positive Parenting

  1. Spend quality time with your child. Get to know them and form a genuine connection with them. This is easy if the child is still very young because you respond to their cues but if they’re teenagers it can be a bit more difficult. For the latter, do more shared activities, hobbies, and fun things to do together.
  2. During those tough moments, try and understand where your child is coming from instead of reacting with anger or other negative emotions. Imagine how they must also feel. Ask them if something is disturbing them or how you can be there for them.
  3. Be very gentle with yourself because parenting is difficult. You’ll make mistakes and you might not always be a good parent. Learn to forgive yourself and see your errors as learning opportunities and a normal part of parenting.
  4. Praise your child for things well done, encourage their strengths and abilities, and encourage them to keep trying when they don’t do things right the first few times. Teach them to view life as a learning curve with ups and downs.
  5. Discipline, don’t punish your child. Punishing is about inflicting pain, penalties or suffering for mistakes and faults. Discipline is using the mistake or fault as a learning opportunity for the child. Teach your child through positive instruction to follow rules instead of blaming or shaming them.
  6. Provide consistent, age-appropriate guidelines and limits for child behavior. How you correct a preschooler is not how you correct one in middle childhood. Understand the developmental stage of your child to guide you on how you should discipline them. For better understanding, read this guideline.
  7. Balance your needs and the child’s needs. Parenting can demand everything out of you until there’s nothing left because you’re giving all your time, effort, and attention. The best thing you can do for your child is to take care of your needs so that you have the emotional capacity to take care of them. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
  8. Model positive behavior. Children learn through observation and they’ll treat you and others how you treat them. Become the example of what you’d like your child to become. They reflect what you show them.
  9. Learn emotional regulation. You may not have control over your kid’s behavior and emotions but you can control yours. Tune in to your emotions, process them, then give an appropriate response to your child instead of a reaction. This way you end up also helping the child regulate their own emotions. For more on emotional management, here’s a resource.
  10. Seek support and resources on positive parenting. We figure out how to parent by becoming parents and learning in the process but it’s much better to be a knowledgeable parent so that you can be the best one for your child. Therapy is a great place to start because you can unlearn harmful ideas of parenting while learning how to be a more positive parent.

 

You hold so much power over your child as a parent and it’s a privilege to guide a growing human in this world. It’s a hard task with rich rewards when done right. Positive parenting makes the experience one full of learning lessons because you learn so much about yourself in the process. If you’re ready to learn more, we are only one call away.

 

“Every day, in a hundred small ways our children ask, “Do you hear me? Do you see me? Do I matter” Their behavior often reflects our response.”

— L.R. Knost