What is positive parenting?
Positive parenting (PP) is not a new fad of parenting. It is taking a different perspective of our children. In essence, it is taking the time to notice that children are people, too. A big contrast from other types of parenting is seeing inappropriate behavior as teachable moments, NOT a chance to punish. i.e. When your child does something undesirable in your eyes, take a moment and think about whether or not you’ve taught your child if that’s acceptable behavior or not.
Well, have you?
The reason I like PP so much is that it focuses a lot on respecting our children. Believe it or not, they are actual people, too. With real emotions and beliefs and desires. We get upset with our kids when those thoughts and desires of theirs don’t align with ours. But, let’s think a minute – don’t we want our kids to be independent thinkers? Don’t we want our kids to feel confident in their beliefs? Do we not want our kids to challenge conventions?
I want that for my own kids.
Here’s my story…
I’ve noticed with my own children (who have plenty of teachable moments) that when the intensity of the big moments have passed, they are much better equipped to simply move on. My 3 year old gets so upset when her 1 ½ year old sister takes something she’s playing with. After helping her understand that sissy is trying to play with her (and letting her get out her tears) she is fully welcoming in letting sissy play with her.
Also, the other night I had laid the oldest down for bed and she began sobbing. I went in to check on her, fully aware of my own tiredness and crankiness, and asked her what was wrong. She told me “I just want you and I just want to cry for a minute.” I said, “Okay, I’m here baby”. And, within a minute or two she was calm and asked me to sing to her for a couple minutes before I left her (fully awake) to go “night night” myself.
I think it’s amazing that at three years old she is beginning to understand her emotions and verbalize them. I still struggle with that as an adult! This drives me to continue practicing positive parenting both with my children and with others.
So, what can I do to implement positive parenting?
Start by actually thinking about the things your children need from you. Not sure? HERE is a list of things that all children need. What’s next? You have to change your mindset about behavior and punishment. If you continue to believe that behavior warrants a punishment, then you will not be able to really get the hang of PP. BUT, if you start to see your children as people looking for help and their behavior as a result of that, then shifting to PP will be much easier.
Once your mindset has changed, really try to look to the root of the behavior. Why is my child acting this way? What lessons can I teach them from this experience? Remember it’s easier to teach after the big emotions have passed. When we, as adults, are angry or upset we do not want to listen to reason. Kids are the same way…
Positive Parenting at School?
As a teacher, I have changed a lot this year with regard to discipline. I have a very rambunctious group of students. Who hasn’t though, right? Well, our school has no behavior system in place, and neither does my classroom. We have class rules to follow but what I do is try to find my students doing something positive. And, that’s what I focus on and point out to the rest of the class. I gave my students specific examples of things that I consider positive, with the allowance that my list was not exhaustive.
What I’ve found is that even though there are times punishment would definitely be warranted, I do not have to referee as many arguments because the students are starting to handle it themselves. There is less negative talk toward each other and more of a focus on doing something helpful for others and themselves.
Kids of all ages are very receptive to the vibes that adults give off. If we can get ourselves to be more positive, then our kids will follow.
Don’t worry, I’m human, too. Check out how I failed at positive parenting here!
Your Challenge: When your child or student behaves undesirably, do two things. 1. Notice your own emotions, are you projecting? 2. Have you specifically taught your child that the behavior they exhibited is upsetting? If so, then remind them with respect. If not, use this time to do so.
Please feel free to comment with a response to your challenge.
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