Positive parenting is important in helping your child to reach his or her potential. We've provided a few tips of how to put positive parenting into action.
If your child feels loved and embraced, all of the other parenting tips to follow will be much easier to achieve. Kids who feel connected to their parents want to please them. Make sure your displays of affection outnumber consequences and punishments. Frequent hugs, kisses, and praise will motivate your child to follow the rules more than any tough discipline tactics.
Accept Your Child
As your child gets older, he or she will develop his/her own individual personality traits. Some may be learned and others may be genetic. Respect your child’s unique traits and avoid labeling features of your child’s temperament (i.e. she’s shy, he’s such a troublemaker, etc.) as it can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies or bad behavior down the road. Build on your child’s personality traits to make them feel confident. A stubborn child, for example, has perseverance or determination so give them a challenging task to try.
Don’t overload your child with rules. Keep it simple. Stick to safety at first and gradually add more as your child gets older. Too many rules can be frustrating for the child and hard to keep up with for the parent, leading to too many punishments and not enough positive moments. Also, do your part to make keeping to the rules easier by eliminating temptation by putting up breakable items and locking cabinets and drawers that you don’t want your child to get into.
Praise Positive Behavior
Pay attention to the behavior you like and ignore the behavior you don’t. When children realize they get more attention for positive actions than negative, they will seek opportunities for those moments rather than acting out to get you to notice them.
- Know your child’s abilities: Sometimes kids misbehave because they don’t understand or can’t do what you are asking.
- Explain how to follow the rules instead of always saying “no”: Rather than saying “Stop hitting”, explain to your child how to make play go more smoothly, such as “Why don’t you take turns?”
- Don’t overreact to “no”: When your child says “no”, calmly repeat your request, making sure you are speaking at his/her level and looking directly at him or her.
- Pick your battles: The more fights you pick, the more fights you will have to deal with. Only say “no” when it is absolutely necessary for the safety of themselves or others. Try one of the other listed techniques first.
- Offer choices, when possible: Encourage your child to gain independence by giving him/her simple decisions to make, such as letting him/her pick out a bedtime story or the type of pajamas they want to wear.
- Avoid situations that may trigger tantrums or frustration: Children are more likely to act out when they are tired, hungry, sick, or in an unfamiliar or over-stimulating setting. If there is a particular place that tends to trigger tantrums, try and find time to go there without him/her. Otherwise, go when your child is rested and well-fed.
- Make it fun: Distract your child from possible tantrum-causing activities or make a game out of good behavior. Your child will be more likely to listen and do what you want if they are having fun.
- Stick to a schedule: Keep to a daily routine or schedule, especially for naptimes and bedtimes, as much as possible, so your child knows what to expect from the day.
- Encourage the use of words: Remind your child to use his/her words when expressing feelings rather than acting out, hitting, screaming, etc. Help your child to learn the words necessary to express himself/herself clearly.
- REMEMBER: Young children don’t intend to frustrate or embarrass their parents. For most toddlers and preschoolers, tantrums are usually the way they can express their frustration. For older children, tantrums can be learned behavior. If they are rewarded for their tantrum by getting something they want or getting out of doing something they don’t, the tantrums are likely to continue.
Dealing with Problematic Behavior
- Remain calm. Try and distract your child from his/her tantrum by showing them something of interest- not by giving them what they want. Sing a song; make a funny face, point out an interesting object, ask for their help, etc.
- Ignore minor displays of anger, such as crying or whining.
- If your child hits, kicks, or screams for a prolonged period of time, remove him/her from the situation. Hold your child or give him/her time to cool down alone.
- Allow natural or logical consequences for misbehavior. Let your child see the consequences of his/her actions-as long as they are not dangerous. If your child throws and breaks a toy, he or she won’t have that toy to play with anymore. If your child won’t pick up his/her toys, then he or she won’t be allowed to play with the toys for a day.
- Keep consequences on the same scale as the behavior. Don’t threaten something you can’t follow through on, such as cancelling a pre-planned family trip. Also, don’t deprive your child of something they need, such as food, sleep, water, or other basic necessities.
- Be consistent with your discipline. Don’t allow throwing things one time but not another. This leads to confusion for the child. Make sure others that take care of your child also know the rules and discipline guidelines.
- Make sure you are criticizing the behavior, not the child. Don’t say “You’re a bad boy for throwing that toy.” Instead, you could say, “We don’t throw toys in the house.
- If you can’t remain calm when dealing with your child, take your own time out. Go to your room for a few minutes; sit in the bathroom, etc. Do not resort to hitting, spanking, or screaming at your child. He/she is learning what is acceptable from you, and this behavior is not acceptable for adults or kids. If you are harsh with your child, your child will be harsh with himself/herself.
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