Positive Parenting

There can’t be a more rewarding experience than adopting positive ways to guide your child towards growing up into a well-rounded individual. Read on to know more about positive parenting.

By Arun Sharma

Positive Parenting

Most parents try to bring up their child in the best possible way. However, few pay attention to the methods they adopt. As a result, not every parent is successful in grooming their child into a balanced individual.

Positive parenting can help you raise a child who is emotionally intelligent. Let’s read on to understand it better.

What is positive parenting?

Positive parenting is an approach which helps parents increase their self-awareness, and try to make a conscious effort to know what, how and where they want their children to be in the future. It encourages parents to participate in and support their children’s physical, mental and behavioural growth.

What are the main elements of positive parenting?

Positive parents possess these eight attributes. They:

  • Have an Essential understanding of Child Development.
  • Listen to their child and are aware of their child’s feelings, behaviour, actions and words. This helps them understand their child’s needs and act accordingly.
  • Provide Effective emotional, cognitive and behavioural guidance to their child to help her develop well.
  • Master emotional stability to help their child understand and correct his behaviour, emotions and feelings.
  • Are able to Empathise with their child’s feelings, needs and wants.
  • Nurture the parent–child relationship.
  • Think of disciplining as an opportunity to teach instead of punish.
  • Provide a Supportive environment for the child to explore his feelings, nurture his emotions, try out his cognitive abilities and display appropriate behaviour.

How can parents switch over to positive parenting? How difficult is it to adapt to the change?

Our childhood experiences, and what we observed our parents do, play a vital role in shaping our parenting style. But, we can add to our parenting abilities if we have a clear understanding of the type of parent we want to be. You can begin by analysing your own relationship with your parents and try to understand –

What went right? To know this, ask yourself the following questions: Were your parents involved with you during your childhood? Did they empathise with you? Did they listen to what you had to say?

What didn’t go so well? For example, your parents used to yell at times, they had the habit of comparing you with other children, or they resorted to hitting when you didn’t live up to their expectations.

How would you do things differently for your child? I am going to understand why my child made a mistake and then help him rectify it.

If you were raised by parents who were very strict and used punishment as a tool, it might be a little difficult for you to switch over from your acquired parenting style to positive parenting. But, by consciously trying to be different, you can come up with your parenting style. You can do that by –

  1. Being prepared and ready to try out something new.
  2. Organising your emotions and being in control of yourself.
  3. Trying to be a role-model.
  4. Being aware of what you want your child to learn from her mistakes .
  5. Teaching your child about her feelings by helping her identify and name them.
  6. Ensuring your child knows that you are trying to change to a more positive approach, so that she doesn’t feel confused. This way, you will be able to elicit her cooperation as well.

What changes do positive parenting bring in a child, and the family?

Adopting the positive parenting approach allows you to shower your child with unconditional love, support, and care . Consequently, your child feels loved, safe, cared for, heard and respected. This results in:

Your child

  • Having a higher sense of self-esteem
  • Being able to maintain good and healthy relationships
  • Feeling encouraged to try out new things
  • Trying to find solutions to his problems
  • Being able to perform better in academics

Your family

  • Experiencing a positive environment
  • Learning to support each other
  • Beginning to trust each other and developing a healthy relationship
  • Feeling more attached and bonded to each other

What are the few important qualities that parents should try to inculcate in themselves?

  • Show unconditional love: A child needs lots of love and affection from parents to realise his full potential.
  • Develop trust: When your child trusts you, he will come back to you even when he has done something wrong.
  • Nurture understanding: It leads to a healthy and smooth parent–child relationship.
  • Show support: Your child desires your support for everything he does. You can do it by just being there for him. Guide him only when it is necessary.
  • Offer encouragement without overdoing it: Encouragement helps to boost your child’s self-esteem. It would also motivate him to explore his talents by trying out new things.
  • Be patient: Although it’s difficult to manage your emotions when your child behaves in an unreasonable manner, being calm and patient is the most appropriate approach.
  • Show empathy: Remember that you were also a child once. So, try to look at things from your child’s perspective. This will help you understand why he indulges in something and connect with him in a better way.

Parenting mantra for modern-day parents

Connect with your child. Connecting with your child will help you understand him, cement your relationship and guide him towards being a better individual. Let’s place you and your child in a difficult situation to understand this point better.

You are attending a party. It is way past your child’s usual dinner time, and this is making him irritable. All of a sudden, he pushes another child away.

How would you react?

Like most parents, would you ask your child to apologise ‘right away’?

If your answer is yes, then you should try out a different approach. Take your child to a quiet corner, give him a hug and ask him why he acted that way. This will help you establish a connection, encourage your child to confide in you, and help you get to the root of the problem.

If your child gives reasons like, “I am hungry and tired, and he kept irritating me,” you can explain to him why it is inappropriate to push someone no matter what the reason is.

If he says he was hungry and tired, and that his friend kept pestering him to play with him, you could apologise to him saying that it is your fault to not have noticed that it is past his dinnertime. Tell him to remind you the next time he feels hungry. Then, ask him how he would have felt if someone had pushed him.

Give him a few moments to answer. If your child says, “I wouldn’t have felt good,” ask him, “I forgot your dinnertime, so I said sorry. Is there anything that you would like to tell your friend?”. This question would help him realise what he needs to do when he makes a mistake. Also, instead of directing the child to apologise for wrong behaviour, it would help him reflect on what he needs to do and act on his own. 

With these points in mind, happy positive parenting!

With inputs from Geethapriya Manoharan, Counselling Psychologist at ParentCricle

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