Parents always wants to give their children guidance as they move through childhood. How can you help your kids develop good behaviour and learn positive habits? Furthermore, how can you accomplish this kind of development while having a positive relationship with your kids?
You can find an infinite number of parenting tips on the internet, but an increasing number of studies show that a specific style of parenting consistently brings better results. This style of parenting is known as “positive parenting.”
How does positive parenting work? Instead of harsh discipline and punishment for misbehaviour, positive parents focus on positive discipline. When a child misbehaves, you try to focus on developing the desired behaviour rather than opting for punishing the child for bad behaviour. An advantage of this approach is that you can work on desired behaviours at all times, not just when the child misbehaves.
Furthermore, the positive parenting approach teaches children independence and helps develop self-esteem because the kids are active participants in their own behavioural development. A welcome side effect is that the children also learn to better communicate with their parents, and studies have shown that positive parenting also leads to great trust between children and parents.
Studies have proven the benefits of positive parenting. A research project published in the Journal of Clinical Adolescent Psychology showed that positive parenting led to much lower instances of childhood depression compared to harsher styles of discipline. The study also showed that parents who experienced harsh discipline as children had higher instances of mental health issues in adulthood. They were more likely to pass these problems on to their children. This study shows that positive parenting can affect multiple generations. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also points to the opportunities that positive parenting offers to teach children self-reliance and decision-making skills and to develop self-esteem.
Here are additional benefits of positive parenting.
Stronger Parent-Child Relationships
Positive parenting helps to develop stronger parent-child relationships. This approach to behavioural development increases trust between children and parents. The reason for this trust is that children have positive interactions with parents as a result of positive parenting. These positive interactions and the positive outlook attribute to a strong relationship and are contrary to the harsh or negative interactions that studies show can lead to mental health issues in childhood or later in life.
A strong relationship will make your child feel more comfortable coming to you with questions as they get older. As they reach middle school and high school, children will have a more-complex social life and will experience different pressures at school. Children do not always want parents to be a part of this phase of their development, but they will be more willing to communicate about their lives if their parents have laid the positive parenting groundwork and developed a relationship where open communication is welcomed.
More Effective Communication
Communication is an essential part of positive parenting. In a sense, the primary focus of a positive approach to parenting is finding ways to communicate with your children in a positive, action-oriented way instead of a negative or harsh way. You can bring about this positivity by encouraging children to talk about their feelings, and explaining to them how good behaviour choices can bring about good feelings and positive outcomes.
Encouraging children to communicate in this way can help develop a more trusting relationship. While many parenting tips focus on how to talk to children, being able to listen to your children and even encouraging them to talk about their feelings is a vital part of the positive parenting process.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that you can start to develop communication skills very early in life. You can do this by interacting with your child, reading with them, and being attentive when they try to communicate with you. For young children, things like tone of voice, eye contact, and physical contact can build a positive rapport that can make communication easier as they grow.
Self-Esteem and Happiness
The focus on positive action, trust, and communication will lead to a greater level of happiness and help your children develop a sense of self-esteem. The focus on encouragement and improvement instead of punishment and avoiding negative behaviours will help your child have a positive approach to life in general. They will develop positive behaviour because they will see mistakes and imperfections as opportunities for improvement rather than negative things that bring punishment and detract from their self-esteem.
According to Psychology Today, the idea of positive parenting can even bring happiness and reduce stress in parents. Parents can change their negative reactions to a misbehaving child into positive thoughts. For example, instead of focusing on a failed attempt to get your child to behave, you can focus on what you would do differently when the next opportunity presents itself. Or, when a child does not seem ready to go to bed, focus on letting them expend extra energy before getting them to perform their bedtime routine. This approach will not only help you avoid clashes with your children, but it will also give you a happier, action-focused outlook on parenting and keep you from getting overwhelmed by negative thoughts.
Negative Behaviour Diminishes
Parenting can become a kind of power struggle with kids trying to get away with bad behaviour while avoiding punishment. Keep in mind that positive parenting still requires you to set limits for your children. The difference is that rather than focusing on negative behaviour, you offer positive alternatives to unwanted actions.
In a sense, the positive behaviours and desired actions leave less room for negative behaviour.
Parenting can be challenging regardless of your strategy for raising your children. However, the effort that you put into positive parenting will be rewarded with positive results in the long term.