Many of us would have been raised on parenting styles that lean towards the concept of tough love. But with modern research and studies, we’re becoming more aware of alternative approaches such as positive parenting, which promotes a gentler, kinder and more empathetic way of discipline1. So what is positive parenting and can it work for you?
What is positive parenting?
Simply put, positive parenting is a style of discipline that teaches children actively and creatively with love and care – purposefully avoiding the need for punishment. The idea is that positive behaviour in children are better nurtured when parents display positive behaviours themselves. Growing evidence shows this way of parenting is effective in helping kids become more considerate, responsible and happy in their early years1.
Tips to becoming a more positive parent
Keen to start? Here are some ways you can incorporate positive parenting methods into your child’s growing up journey.
1. See from your little one’s perspective
When your child acts out, try to acknowledge and address the issue from your little one’s perspective. It may not solve the problem on hand, but it will help children feel heard, understood and most importantly, loved2.
2. Be gentle yet firm
Positive parenting doesn’t mean giving in to your child’s whims and wants. You can be kind and gentle while staying firm to the disciplinary decisions you make. This will also teach them how to handle difficult situations as they grow2.
3. Guide your child and avoid punishments
When children misbehave, consider moving them to another environment where you can help them calm down. Be clear that this is not a punishment and that you are there to guide and help them process their feelings2.
4. Practise patience and persistence
Be patient and don’t give up. Children learn by repeating themselves and every child does it at a different pace. Positive parenting is not a race for the fastest results. By taking the time (and pains) now to teach the behaviour you want for them, you’ll be helping your kids reap lifelong benefits2.
5. Walk away if you need to calm yourself down
Hey, even the most positive parents will need a time-out once in a while. When your tantrum-throwing child simply refuses to be reasoned with, it’s only human to feel frustrated and wanting to tell your child “that’s the way I want you to do it so do it now!” When this happens, walk away2. Calm your emotions down. Remind yourself that this is a teaching moment, and your goal is to guide your child by adjusting your parenting style to your kid’s natural character and tendencies .