According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, by the time children have reached the fifth grade, around 80 percent of them have been physically punished. They also report that physical punishment, which includes spanking and hitting, has been shown to be ineffective and lead to more aggressive behavior. They recommend that parents use more effective parenting practices, which is something that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) refers to as positive parenting.
Positive Parenting Solutions
“Positive parenting solutions focus on teaching children what type of behavior is acceptable through means that are more effective and positive”, explains Reena B. Patel. “When the focus is on positive parenting solutions, parents may get the desired behavior they want in order to help to create children who are mentally healthier and better adjusted.”
Parenting styles, including whether or not parents take a positive or punitive approach to discipline, can have an impact on the child’s development. According to recent research published in the journal International Quarterly of Community Health Education, parenting styles influence whether or not adolescents have poor self-esteem, and those who do have poor self-esteem are prone to experiencing many challenges. Their study, which included over 500 pupils, concluded that there is a significant association between parenting styles and an adolescents’ self-esteem.
Positive parenting is a style that focuses more on using positive parenting solutions to teach children right from wrong. It places the focus more on what they are doing right, setting the right example, and using constructive and effective ways to address unwanted behavior. According to Psychology Today, positive parenting “refers to warm, nurturing, and responsive parenting, the kind of parenting that reinforces good behavior and avoids using inconsistent or harsh discipline.”
They also report that positive parenting has been associated with higher grades, fewer behavior problems, less substance use, better mental health, greater social competence, and more positive self-concepts. Positive parenting helps to create children who have a healthy self-esteem, are less aggressive, and who tend to have better family bonds. Yet many parents are not sure where to start when it comes to carrying out positive parenting practices.
11 Positive Parenting Solutions
1Give Nurturing Physical Attention
Children like hugs, cuddles and holding hands. It makes them feel secure, protected, and loved. Physical attention is more than just touching. It sends a message to your child that you are giving them your attention and sending them love through your touch.
2Provide Engaging Activities
Children are more likely to misbehave when they are bored, so provide lots of engaging indoor and outdoor activities for your child such as play dough, coloring, cardboard boxes, dress ups, blanket tents, etc.
3Set Limits on Behavior
Set clear limits on your child’s behavior. Sit down and have a family discussion on the family rules in your home. Let your child know what the consequences will be if they break the rules. Rules should be few, fair, easy to follow, enforceable, and positively stated (ex: Stay close to dad in the store; Use a pleasant voice; Wash your hands before meals.)
4Give Clear Instruction
If your child misbehaves, stay calm and give them clear instruction to stop misbehaving and tell them what you would like them to do instead. (ex: “Stop throwing. Play with the truck on the ground.”) Use specific praise with your child if they stop (ex: “Thank you for playing with the truck on the ground.”)
5Have Realistic Expectations
All children misbehave at times, and it is inevitable that you will have some discipline challenges. Trying to be the perfect parent can set you up for frustration and disappointment.
6Look After Yourself
It is difficult to be a calm, relaxed parent if you are stressed, feeling anxious or down. Try to find time every week to let yourself unwind or do something that you enjoy. As parents this may be difficult to do, but give yourself permission to take time for yourself.
7Provide Positive Attending
Children need positive attention. If they do not receive positive attention from family, they may choose to seek out negative attention. This is because negative attention is still attention, and any attention is better than being ignored. Remember to communicate with your child. Love and care are the greatest healers.
8Use Praise and Rewards
Punishing a child is not as effective as using praise and rewards. Rather than focusing on weaknesses, find ways to assist your child in developing to his or her full potential. When encouraged, children will acquire talents to compensate for any deficiencies.
9Avoid Negative Reactions
Avoid negative emotional reactions, such as anger, sarcasm, and ridicule. If your child has problems with control, negativity will only make him or her feel worse. Use short and mild verbal phrases/acronyms to remind your child to focus, like “L.P.A.,” for “let’s pay attention.”
10Parent by Example
Parent by example. (Model what you expect) Think of your kids like a copy machine who will mimic everything you do. If you make poor choices in behavior, you are giving them permission to act in the same ways. Check in with yourself, and don’t lose it in front of the children.
11Don’t Give Up
Don’t give up on your child, ever! All of your child’s problems can be worked through with humor, goodwill, and perseverance. With proper parental support, even the most troublesome teens can become amazing people.
Benefits for the Whole Family
“When compassion and kindness are incorporated into parenting practices, the outcomes will be much better and the whole family will be happier and healthier” added Patel. “If you are not used to using positive parenting solutions, it may take a little adjusting, but stick with it, and you will see and love the results.”
Positive parenting solutions can be used at any age and are effective even with the youngest of children. Try parentingwith the mindset that all children are good, but sometimes make bad choices. It is our job as parents to help teach them the best way to problem solve situations using a positive approach. Limiting punitive discipline when addressing negative behaviors. Thus, increasing a child’s self esteem, while decreasing misbehaviors. We can discipline our children and teach them acceptable behaviors with love and guidance.
All consequences to behaviors should be paired with positive reinforcement opportunities. For example, if your child needs to take a break because he/she was not sharing, then make sure to provide an opportunity to demonstrate the acceptable sharing behaviors and be praised for that positive behavior. Since this is a parenting style, you can implement positive parenting solutions and techniques right away when your child is born. Infants can hear our tone of voice and see our calm behaviors so start early.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Raising Children with Respect.
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Reena B. Patel (LEP, BCBA)
Based in the San Diego area, Reena B. Patel (LEP, BCBA) is a renowned parenting expert, guidance counselor, licensed educational psychologist, and board certified behavior analyst. For more than 20 years, Patel has had the privilege of working with families and children supporting all aspects of education and positive wellness. She works extensively with developing children as well as children with exceptional needs, supporting their academic, behavioral and social development. She was recently nominated for San Diego Magazine’s “Woman of the Year.” To learn more about her books and services, visit the website at www.reenabpatel.com and to get more parenting tips follow her on Instagram @reenabpatel. Patel is the founder of AutiZm & More, and as a licensed educational psychologist and guidance counselor, she helps children and their families with the use of positive behavior support strategies across home, school, and in community settings. She does workshops around California, where she provides this information to health professionals, families, and educators. She is also the author of two children’s books that teach compassion and kindness, called “My Friend Max: A Story About a Friend with Autism,” and “Winnie & Her Worries,” both available on Amazon.
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