Positive Parenting Tips
We are all striving to do our best as parents, but how many times have we gone to bed feeling unsure of how we had handled a challenging situation with our kids? Afraid that we were too harsh, too strict, too quick to react, and so on?
Parenting is such a complex, trial-and-error, all-encompassing journey filled with responsibilities and emotions and love, and occasionally despite our best efforts, we still feel like we are failing, especially when our children misbehave.
In our frustration at them and at ourselves, sometimes we react by punishing, nagging or disciplining them repeatedly. But there may be another, more effective way to help: by applying positive parenting.
What is Positive Parenting?
Positive Parenting uses gentle guidance – instead of strict, punitive measures – to keep our children on the right path.
According to psychologist David Walsh, PhD, an author and founder of Mind Positive Parenting, positive parenting is more of a parenting “mindset,” based on scientific evidence showing the importance in forming a secure attachment (in which a child feels safe, soothed, seen and secure); not only does it deepen parent-child bonding, it benefits children’s development as well.
Research has shown the lasting impact that positive parenting has on kids. This suggests that when parents practice positive parenting – exuding warmth, affection, consistency in rules, and involvement – their children are more likely to be engaged in school and have higher self-esteem and social-emotional skills. Additionally, this positive approach teaches self-regulation to help kids cope with emotions and control their impulses.
Of course, parenting can be tiring and difficult – when you have to deal with child tantrums, to juggle your own emotions etc., applying positive guidance in the midst of high stress levels can seem tedious. It takes practice – as anything parenting-related does – but positive parenting can pay off. Get to enjoy the joys of your parenting journey as you indulge in the precious moment’s of your child’s growth.
Here are some tips to help get you started.
1. Use Positive Language to get children to listen to you
Positive Language is all about reframing what we say, so that instead of sounding like we are reprimanding our children and focusing on the negative (i.e. what they are doing wrong), we use words that are positive and respectful to encourage them to do what is right.
The use of Positive Language can be more effective if you accompany it with a rationale. This why, you are not just telling them what to do – but why to do it as well. Your child may be more willing to listen if they understand your intention behind your instructions.
Below are some examples:
- Instead of saying "Don't run," say "Please walk. This isn’t a playground."
- Instead of saying "Don't talk to me like that! I'm your mother/father!" say "Please use kind words. Talk to me as you would want to be spoken to."
- Instead of saying "Don't snatch the toy from another kid's hands" say "Please use your words and ask for the toy."
- Instead of saying, "Stop fussing! Stop throwing a tantrum!" say "I'm here for you. Tell me what happened."
- Instead of saying "Don't hit" say "Please be gentle. You wouldn’t want others to hit you either."
- Instead of saying "You cannot play with the ball in the house!" say "Please only use the ball outside. I don’t want to worry about anything breaking in the house."
- Instead of saying “Stop yelling!” say “Please use an inside voice. I can understand you better when you speak calmly.”
2. Model positive behavior
Your child learns from you. As their parent, you are their first teacher, so if you acknowledge their emotions (instead of dismissing it), respond with empathy (instead of with impatience or anger), and act in a thoughtful way (instead of doling out consequences to control them), they will likely mirror this behavior back to you. Keep in mind that if you are negative and harsh, they may learn to be that way too.
Teach acceptable behaviours by setting a good example. Talk to your child in the tone that you would want to be spoken to. This also applies to how you interact with your spouse, your own parents, your helper, and other people in front of your children.
One good habit to inculcate from young is concept of saving, which you can be the role model for by planning and managing your finances sensibly. Demonstrating the act of saving and communicating the benefits of doing so will have an influence on your child’s financial behavior in the long run. One option is Gro Steady Saver, available for purchase online, a flexible savings plan that allows you to save and enjoy guaranteed cash benefits at the same time.
3. Nurture close connections
Let’s face it – as parents, we are always multi-tasking. But positive parenting calls for being present. There is a practical pay-off to daily one-on-one time: It will lead to more cooperative behavior and less power struggles.
Here is why it works: Sometimes when children are acting out, it is because deep down they crave your emotional attention – and thus they may resort to negative behavior to get that attention. To help them feel valued, you need to reassure them that they are worthy of your time.
Try this tip: Make time every day to PLAY with your child: draw side by side, build something, sit on the floor and play toys together, do puzzles, etc. During the period, there should be no distractions and your phone should be out of reach, allowing you to focus on playing with your child. This idea for nurturing closeness to solve behavior problems is based on the book, Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen. PhD.
4. Apply Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement calls for reinforcing what the child is doing right, instead of criticizing them for what they are doing wrong.
How it works: When you comment on specific positive deeds (i.e. “Alyssa, I noticed you remembered to pack your own backpack last night!”), your child feels validated and encouraged, thus their good behavior is likely to repeat.
Positive reinforcement teaches children to behave and do the right thing because it feels good, not out of fear of being punished (i.e. getting their iPad taken away, spanked, or sent to bed early). After all, what happens when our children grow up and no longer fear our consequences? Through positive reinforcement, they can develop a clear sense of right and wrong, which will help them tremendously throughout their lifetime.
5. Be a positive force in fostering their interests
As parents, we want to help our children reach their dreams. Each dream begins with an interest. A warm and loving parent-child relationship incites parents to be a helpful, positive force in identifying their children’s interests, and providing opportunities for these interests to be explored.
Many schools offer co-curricular activities (CCAs), which allow children to excel in non-academic areas that they would like to pursue. Provide positive guidance and commend your child for joining CCAs; acknowledge their determination and hard work, born out of passion (or mere curiosity, which also deserves approval).
6. Positive parenting for a positive life
At the end of the day, positive parenting is about embracing positive discipline in lieu of punishment. We can guide our children to better behaviour by using positive language, modeling what we want them to do, carving out one-on-one time with them, reinforcing what they are doing right, and showing that we care about investing in their interests. Positive parenting ensures a closer parent-child relationship while empowering children to do the right thing – paving the way for a brighter, more positive future.
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This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.