The Untold Truth of Positive Parenting

Positive parenting might surprise you with its focus. It’s not so much about managing your child’s behavior but about your own self-regulation and behavior. This widely accepted approach in the field of child psychology is advocated by numerous experts, one of whom is Dr. Laura Markham, a renowned clinical psychologist and author of “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids.”

Three Pillars of Positive Parenting

Broadly speaking, positive parenting is supported by three significant pillars:

  • Self-Regulation: This involves maintaining control over your emotional responses. Effective techniques such as deep breathing, focusing on your senses, or physical activity can help handle stressful situations.
  • Maintain Connection with Your Child: Building and maintaining a strong, healthy bond with your child is paramount. It’s essential to validate their feelings, acknowledge your mistakes, and assure them of your constant support.
  • Coach Instead of Control: Guiding rather than dictating characterizes positive parenting. Demonstrating the calm behavior you wish to see in your child helps them understand appropriate emotional responses.

Strategies for Self-Regulation

One of the most critical aspects of positive parenting is learning to regulate your own emotions. But how exactly can this be achieved? Here are some practical strategies:

  • Mindfulness: This involves being fully present in the moment. Practicing mindfulness allows you to manage your reactions and reduce instances of outbursts or impatience.
  • Self-Care: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep can contribute significantly to emotional stability. By taking care of your physical health, you’re better equipped to handle emotional challenges.
  • Support Networks: Don’t underestimate the power of a good support network. Talking things through with friends, family, or other parents can provide valuable perspective and stress relief. If you’re looking for a supportive community, remember that we have a network of empathetic moms and dads ready to lend an ear and share their experiences. Feel free to reach out to us to get connected!

Cultivating Connection with Your Child

Connection is at the heart of positive parenting. Here are some tips for nurturing this connection:

  • Quality Time: Spend quality one-on-one time with your child doing something they love. This shows that you value their interests and enjoy their company.
  • Active Listening: When your child speaks, make sure you listen attentively. Reflect back what they say and validate their feelings. This helps them feel understood and valued.
  • Empathetic Communication: Try to empathize with your child’s emotions, even if you don’t fully understand them. This shows your child that their feelings are valid and important.

Coaching Over Controlling

Coaching instead of controlling is a pivotal approach in positive parenting. But what does it look like in practice?

  • Problem Solving Together: When faced with a challenge, invite your child to problem-solve with you. This involves them in the process and teaches them valuable problem-solving skills.
  • Modeling Behavior: Children learn from observing the adults in their lives. Make sure you’re modeling the behavior and emotional responses you want them to emulate.
  • Setting Clear Expectations and Consequences: Make sure your child understands the expectations and consequences of their actions. This helps them make better choices and learn from their mistakes.

The True Essence of Positive Parenting

Much of the time, positive parenting is less about parenting our kids and more about parenting ourselves. This approach is echoed in the work of experts who emphasize the importance of our reactions, patience, and capacity for empathy. These elements are at the core of positive parenting, influencing our children significantly and shaping their behaviors and reactions.

In the wise words of Dr. Laura Markham, “Whenever we get “triggered,” we’ve stumbled on something that needs healing. Seriously. Any time your child pushes your buttons, he’s showing you an unresolved issue from your own childhood.”

So, the next time you find yourself about to react, pause, take a deep breath, and remember: positive parenting is not about managing your child’s behavior, but managing your own.