There are a huge number of methods to educate and develop children. From all sides moms and dads are bombarded with various kinds of recommendations that sometimes contradict one another. As in life, in raising a child, one should strive for the middle way, balance, and harmony.
What is Positive Parenting?
Positive parenting is a sensible way of interacting with children, prompted by love. When you use positive parenting techniques, it means that you are treating your kid with respect to his feelings, emotions and individuality. You also reckon in their ability to think, make judgements and take their time to do what they are up to or finish the process they were into.
Just as positive optimistic thinking helps adults overcome difficulties with more ease, positive upbringing helps children grow and develop positive aspects of their character.
I was growing in times when it was normal for a parent to say “You will do that because I said so”, “I am an adult and I know more than you do”, “That’s how it should be and I am not interested in your opinion”. These phrases break a child’s heart and hurt the soul. Hearing them means my parent disregards my opinion, my individuality and my emotions altogether.
I am really happy that the times a parent could say things like that to a child are long gone and current parents are more centered on their kids personalities. They want to raise psychologically healthy and emotionally stable, resilient kids.
Why is Positive Parenting So Important?
Kids are not angels but when we pay our attention to what’s good in them, we create favorable conditions for even better qualities to be developed in young children. They strive to be good, kind, and positive inherently.
Therefore, focusing on the positive, we act together with the child and nature. No wonder, it gives excellent results.
Most importantly, children learn by example. If we show them how to deal with situations, resolve conflicts and build a healthy communication with calmness and positivity, they will learn and model it.
How Do You Discipline Your Child in a Positive Way?
You start with yourself.
With considering the topic of positive thinking in general.
It is difficult to notice anything good in a child’s behavior, being a pessimist in life. So let’s reconfigure ourselves.
We need to create and keep in mind a positive image of our own child and transmit it to others, including the kid, with all our behavior and words. We look at the child and pronounce it out loud and to ourselves: you are needed, you are loved, you are capable and you can do it. And we do it regardless of the child’s behavior.
On the contrary, in the most intense moments, it will help you act in the most proper way possible. Whatever the child is up to, he is always enveloped in parental love. And even when it is necessary to be strict, if you do it with unconditional love in your heart, such measures will benefit and will not offend the child.
Unconditional love is the foundation. Achieving it, is not so easy, especially with an older child. In order to maintain a calm and harmonious state of mind, adults should work on the peace in their soul. Spirituality, prayers, meditation, or at least regular relaxation could help with it.
RELATED: 20 Habits Of A Patient Mom
What Are Some Positive Discipline Techniques?
On the foundation of unconditional love and tranquility of an adult, you can build the whole system of raising children. As part of a positive approach to it, there are effective methods that give excellent results.
You might have already been using some of them in your life as positive parenting recommendations are based on common sense and parental experience. It would be even better to apply them consciously and consistently.
These positive discipline techniques, combined with patience, perseverance, firmness and, of course, love will help create good, positive relationship between parent and child. So let’s dive into them.
The tools and concepts of Positive Discipline include:
- Setting boundaries
- Using time-outs
- Mastering a poker face
- Giving freedom within a learning process
- Acting more, talking less
- Giving choices
- Having quality time together
- Using encouragements
- Holding family discussions
- Solving problems together
What Are Positive Parenting Techniques?
1. SET BOUNDARIES
Boundaries consist of a dividing line between what is still possible and what is not possible anymore. At each age, clear, understandable, and invariable boundaries provide the child with psychological comfort for sustainable development.
Setting boundaries is an educational event and a tool for the development of young children. Parents should start doing it from the day their child is born. A newborn should be taught to latch to the breast correctly: so that the entire areola gets into the mouth. Time after time the mother should take the breast away and give it back again until the latch is correct.
This is the first and vital boundary. The success and duration of the breastfeeding period depend on it. Every new mom should be firm, patient, and persistent.
She is going to need these qualities many times. The kid will test how strong these boundaries are. And it’s very good because that’s the way children develop. The parent’s task here is to confirm permanent boundaries and to remove those that should change as the child grows.
When a baby grows into a toddler, he is faced with new boundaries set by everyone at home. It is very important for all the adults in the family to agree with one another about what can and cannot be done in their home. Otherwise a lack of unity can provoke disobedience and manipulation in children.
If all household members are in agreement about their requirements and clear rules of behavior are set, children feel comfortable. They love order and rules and agree easily with the existing boundaries, but boundary tests are still inevitable. Take them calmly, paying more attention to the positive moments in the behavior of the growing child.
2. USE TIME-OUTS
Patience, calmness, persistence are wonderful and very helpful qualities to any parent. But we are all humans, and sometimes even the most balanced person can lose his or her composure. To avoid this, make timeouts a part of your daily life.
When you feel like losing your patience because of your child’s behavior, just leave the room and count to 10. You will be able to calm down and refrain from saying and doing something that you can later regret. When emotions arise, any education process ends.
Spending a few minutes not engaged in the situation, which caused your strong emotions, will help you “rise” above it, regain self-control and your regular train of thought. Remember that you are older than your child, that you have much more life experience, that the kid needs to have a strong and loving person by his side to help him get out of this difficult situation.
Time-outs are good for kids as well. Sometimes children would throw a tantrum just because they have an audience, in such cases the child should be isolated from anyone watching him as soon as possible.
Time-outs also help in conflicts and quarrels. Just like in the boxing ring, the participants of a conflict should be taken to the opposite corners. The time-out will help them recover and proceed with a civilized method of finding a solution.
The ability to know when to take a time-out is very good for the growing child in life. After all, this is a great way to regain control of your emotions, to think clearly and to find a way out of the most difficult situations.
3. MASTER A POKER FACE
Children have very intense emotions that get ahold of them entirely. At the moment of an emotional storm, the child needs to rely on something firm not to be blown away completely. It’s very good if his parent will become this island of calmness and equanimity.
Learn to keep a poker face whatever your child is up to. Your calm, equanimous, friendly face will help your child cope with surging emotions faster and with minimal losses.
Besides, if you have to act firmly, for example, to restrain the child physically, your inner calmness and equanimous face will make this process more effective. But if your face is distorted with anger, the child will get frightened and may stop doing anything undesirable purely out of fear.
However, it’s better not to resort to any physical actions. It may not be easy but it’s doable.
The secret is in prevention of a conflict or unpleasant situation. To do so you should pay attention to the positive behavior of the child. The baby must be picked up before it starts crying. An older child needs your attention when he plays calmly on his own: come up to him, sit down by his side, hug him, stay together for at least a few minutes. So being enveloped in your love, the child will not throw any tantrums to get some attention from you.
4. GIVE SOME FREEDOM IN A LEARNING PROCESS
Children’s main occupation they devote all their time to is learning. They learn as they breathe: easily, all the time and without stopping. They observe you and other adults, copy your behavior, try something of their own, make mistakes, and gain experience.
This is an awesome exciting process which takes time. Give your child enough time and opportunity to learn something. There is no better occupation for the development of children.
Surely it is difficult and often inconvenient for the parents. After all, an adult can do anything much faster and better. Another downside of giving your child some freedom in a learning process is that you have to tidy up and clean up the consequences of this kind of a learning process.
But an opportunity to learn and make mistakes is genuinely the best gift you can give to any child. And when you let your kid have this opportunity, he will be able to develop his best qualities: responsibility, dedication, ability to finish what he started, and independence.
What else can be done to help the child learn effectively and joyfully:
- Do not do for the child what he is able to and wants to do by himself; dressing/undressing and eating are the best activities for the development of children.
- Give the child the toys that he can use to make or build something from on his own. Preschoolers enjoy creating something that can later be used in everyday life.
- Be patient and focus on the formation of your child’s personality, on the process itself, not on the image you expect to get in the end. Tell your child as often as you can, “I love watching you grow and learn.”
5. ACT MORE, TALK LESS
Talking a lot is very destructive for parental authority. If you ask or say the same thing time and time again, the words lose their meaning and become just the background noise that the child does not pay any attention to.
It’s great when all adults in the family follow the rule: I follow through on my words. When asking your child to do something, do so only once and make sure that the child has heard you. If you get no response, approach your child, take his hands in yours and start doing together what you asked before.
For example, you ask your child to go wash his hands but he doesn’t move. Do not repeat your request if there was nothing to prevent him from hearing you. Without signs of any irritation, with a smile or playful grunt, just take his hands in yours and wash them together.
This can definitely be inconvenient, and it might be easier to shout at your child a few times, seeking obedience, than putting whatever you’ve been doing on pause and doing something together with him. But believe me, your efforts will have amazing results. Just imagine your child doing immediately what you ask and you don’t need to repeat yourself!
And it is not so difficult to achieve that if you use this method consistently and patiently from early childhood. With young children up to 3-4 years old, all words are best accompanied with action. It helps children understand the meaning of what was said and develop their speech.
With this approach, everything you say will be perceived by the child as something important, valuable, significant. Especially if you do not overuse requests and tasks too difficult for him to carry out and take the age and circumstances into account.
For example, if it’s bedtime for a three year old, don’t even try to persuade him to stop whining and just put the child to sleep. Or you shouldn’t ask (and expect) the child to stand quietly in line for half an hour, and so on.
Such empty words as promises or threats that you are not going to follow through with are the most terrible enemies of parental authority. So think carefully before saying something you are not going to do.
6. GIVE CHOICES
Starting from a very young age, offer your child at least two options to choose from and an opportunity to make decisions on his own. Do it in various everyday situations and don’t try to save him from what may follow.
Let the child experience the consequences of his choices, both good and bad ones. After all, that’s the only way children learn to think independently, make decisions, and foresee consequences.
Usually, parents find it easier to make all decisions for the child and to insist on them. However, if you want to raise your child to be someone who can make decisions and be responsible, you’ll have to work hard and tolerate some inconveniences because learning from his own experience is one of the most valuable gifts you can give him.
7. PUT A ONE-ON-ONE TIME WITH YOUR KID INTO YOUR DAILY SCHEDULE
It’s become a common practice to actively develop children from infancy: going to the swimming pool, all kinds of centers for learning and early age development, and so on. It is wonderful. The thing is that no matter how busy your child and you are, you still need to have time for simple heartwarming communications.
The child needs your time and attention that you can give him only after turning off your phone, TV and the Internet. Even in a large family, each child should get at least half an hour a day of parent’s attention. You don’t have to come up with anything special; sitting next to each other, hugging and being silent together, is already valuable in itself. And if an interesting conversation starts, or you two share a couple laughs, or do something together, your kid’s childhood memories will have another wonderful moment.
Such a “waste” of time for personal communication is actually a great investment into the psychological well-being of the child. You fill him with your attention and love, and he feels much better, develops faster and has fewer and weaker temper tantrums.
8. USE ENCOURAGEMENTS
Encouragement is an important part of positive parenting, however, you should use it wisely and carefully. You need to encourage your child’s good and correct actions, words, and intentions but not the child himself. You should not evaluate the child’s personality with such words as good or bad, just love and accept it as it is.
Here are a few examples of healthy wording:
- It’s not healthy to say, “You’re a good girl as you went to pee in the toilet”, because this way you evaluate the girl’s personality. Such a statement implies that the child will become bad if she pees herself accidentally. Instead, focus on what the girl did and how she feels, “Excellent! You have dry trousers now. How are you feeling?”
- Highlight those moments when the child did right, and not when he made a mistake, “Johnny, you’ve poured milk for yourself and for your sister. That’s great!”. However, if you say, “Johnny is such a good boy”, it may lead to the development of vanity in the child.
- Focus on the process and the end result of what the child has been doing. “I can see you like coloring pictures.”, “You did great.”
- Stay positive. Never forget to teach your child that “the glass is half full, not half empty.” Support the child in any situation, show your friendliness and confidence that the child can do whatever he is up to.
9. HOLD FAMILY DISCUSSIONS
Having family discussions from time to time is a great tradition.
They give your child an opportunity to learn how to discuss issues, look for solutions together, and find compromises.
This gets more important by the age of 6 but even before that children can develop a lot of their self-esteem by participating in family discussions. The mere opportunity to express their opinion and be heard by the adults increases the child’s self-esteem greatly and also develops communication skills.
This tradition can become very beneficial for adult family members, too. It brings the family together and allows for critical issues to be solved in a way that is good for everyone. And remember that sometimes children, quite inadvertently, can suggest fresh and wise solutions to some difficult issues.
10. SOLVE PROBLEMS TOGETHER
When your child comes up to you asking for help, appreciate this moment. Children grow up so fast that soon you may start wishing your teenage son shared his feelings and worries with you. Never refuse to help your child, however do not do everything for him, either. The wisest thing you could do is give your child your attention and support, show confidence that they can do it, and simply stand by them.
Learn to talk with your child, ask open-ended questions, listen carefully, and be non-judgemental. While your child is still very young, you can help him develop communication skills, problem analysis skills, and look for solutions together. If you want to give your child the “right” idea, do it tactfully and gently. And when the right solution has been found, say how happy you are for him, as this is such an important win for him!
Some of the most important decisions are better made during family discussions. Having regular “brainstorming” sessions is a great way to develop the child’s mind. Besides, this activity may become very useful for children as they grow up.
Practice techniques and methods of positive parenting every day. What you are going to notice very soon is that your child becomes smart and discerning, you get fewer reasons for fighting, and your family life gets calmer and more peaceful.