Parenthood can be extremely rewarding, enlightening and enjoyable. Yet at times it’s hard to see the rainbows and fairy dust through the thickness of thunderstorms and hail. Parenting can be demanding, frustrating and exhausting. As parents we have the most important role of raising the next generation, yet most of us begin our parenting careers with little preparation through trial and error. The challenge for us all is to raise healthy, well-adjusted children in a loving, caring environment.
Positive parenting is an approach to parenting that aims to promote children’s development and manage children’s behaviour in a constructive and non-hurtful way. Positive parenting is based on good communication and positive attention to help children develop their skills and feel good about themselves, isn’t that how we all like to feel? Children who grow up with positive parenting are likely to develop their skills feeling good about themselves; they are less likely to develop behaviour problems.
There are five key points to establishing great behaviour through positive parenting.
The first one is ensuring a safe and engaging environment. Young children need a safe play environment, especially once they are on the move. Accidents in the home are the leading cause of injury in young children. By providing a safe environment means that you can be more relaxed about allowing your child to explore and keep busy through the day. An environment that is safe and full of interesting things will promote brain development and other sensory skills which will then reduce the likely hood of misbehaviour. Bored kids look for trouble. Supervision is always a must.
The second point is creating a positive learning environment; parents need to be available to their children. This doesn’t mean being with your child consistently, it means being available when they need your help, care or attention. When your child approaches you for help or to show you what they have done in their play; Stop what you were doing and spend a few moments with them. Encouraging your child to try to do things on their own will help them to become independent. I’m now talking about the pre- schooler who can pack away their own belongings not an infant that needs you to feed them safely….so no bottle propping. Encouragement and positive attention will help your child to be motivated to learn. When you see your child doing something you like, tell them, praise them. By showing your child you like what they are doing they will be likely to do it again.
The third point is using assertive discipline. Assertive discipline involves being consistent, acting quickly when a child misbehaves and teaching the child to behave in an acceptable way. When parents use assertive discipline, children learn to accept responsibility for their behaviour and develop self-control. Children are less likely to develop behaviour problems if their parents are consistent and predictable all the time. You can value your child’s individuality and still expect reasonable behaviour. When your child is misbehaving or having a tantrum/meltdown; it’s best for you to remain calm and avoid yelling, name calling, threatening and smacking.
The fourth point is having realistic expectations. Parent’s expectations of their child will depend on what they consider normal for children at different ages, remember a two year old with limited language will not have the same understanding or physical skills as a four year old. Children are individuals and develop at different rates. Children need to be intellectually and developmentally ready before they can learn new skills, such as toileting on their own, feeding, or dressing themselves. Seek professional advice if you are unsure. Problems can arise when parents expect too much too soon from their children. Don’t expect your child to be perfect, we all make mistakes and learn from them. Most mistakes aren’t intentional.
The fifth point is taking care of you! Parenting is easier when your own personal needs are met. Being a good parent is not about being with your child 24/7/, your child should not dominate your entire life. If your own needs as an adult are being met, it’s much easier to be patient, consistent and available to your child. It’s important for parents to have realistic expectations of themselves. It is good to want to do your best as a parent, but trying to be a perfect parent will only lead to feelings of frustration and inadequacy. Don’t be hard on yourself, everyone learns through experience.
References to this article have been taken from Triple P Positive Parenting Program
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