With so much parenting advice swirling around, it’s difficult to know what to try with your kids. If your current parenting strategies aren’t working or if you’re looking for some new techniques to add to your toolbox, positive parenting may be worth exploring.
Positive parenting ideas focuses on interacting with your kids in a way that promotes respect, working together as a team, and using discipline instead of punishment.
Here are some positive parenting tips with your kids:
Focus on connection: Build a strong parenting foundation by building or repairing the relationship with your kids. Take time to talk, listen, and play together. Spend one-on-one time together with each child. Meltdowns and tantrums are often a sign that your child is feeling disconnected from you.
Discipline, not punishment: Discipline focuses on teaching, while punishment means to inflict pain. Teach your children the behavior you would like to see, instead of “inflicting pain” on them for the behavior they display. Set limits with fairness and use empathy to keep the connection strong.
Calm yourself first: Many consequences are given out of anger or feeling overwhelmed. Often, these decisions are extreme and discourage connection. Take a deep breath (or two) and give yourself an opportunity to get back to a calm state of mind before responding to your child.
Respond with empathy: Put yourself in your child’s shoes and respond with empathy instead of lecturing or reasoning your child into compliance. When your child expresses a big feeling, put their experience into words: “You’re angry that I said ‘no cookies’” or “You seem worried about the dentist.”
Work together: Instead of being the “expert,” brainstorm together to create workable solutions to challenging situations. This gives your child an opportunity to practice critical thinking and creates a “team” mentality in your home, which helps kids feel like a valuable part of the family.
Be imperfect: Positive parenting doesn’t mean perfect parenting. Making mistakes, changing your mind, and apologizing after yelling, is part of the process. Repair the relationship and move forward. Show your kids that you are learning and growing as a parent, just like they are learning and growing as kids.
Implementing positive parenting strategies may seem uncomfortable at first. Even your kids may be a little unsure. That’s OK! Positive parenting is not a step-by-step system, it’s a lifestyle. It might take time to figure out how to make it work for your family. Be patient with yourself and the process.
Nicole Schwarz is a mom to 3 little girls, a Licensed Therapist and Parent Coach. Check out her blog, Imperfect Families for more positive parenting tips and learn more about how Parent Coaching can help you find solutions to your parenting challenges