Tips on Positive Parenting

I hate you!  You’re so unfair!  Riley’s mom is so much cooler than you are!  Do you feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending fight with your child?  Do you feel that each day just goes from bad to worse?  Break the cycle of negative parenting and create a Positive Parenting program in your home.

Positive ParentingYou, alone, have the power to change the environment of your home from negative to positive parenting.  You are the parent and you are in charge.  So make a commitment to yourself and your children to turn around the atmosphere in your home and become what we call a “Positive Parent.”

Before you do this, you’re going to want to spend some time gearing up.  Take a walk, go out for dinner by yourself, get your nails done— whatever you enjoy that allows you quiet time to think.  During your thinking time, list out what it is that you love about your child.  This is the first step toward becoming a positive parent.

Ask yourself:  What does your child do well?  What qualities about your child do you admire?  What hidden talents do you see in your child that makes him a good person?  (Depending how deep you are in the negative cycle, this may seem difficult, but it’s in there!  We love our children, and as parents we see qualities in our kids that no one else can see.  Sometimes we just get so wrapped up in the day to day that we lose sight of these positive things.)

After you’ve developed your starting point, begin being a positive parent!  One great thing to do is keep a small notepad with you during the day and write down every positive thing your child does during the day.  These don’t need to be complete sentences, just ideas (Trust me, your child isn’t going to critique your grammar!).

For example:
*brushed your teeth this morning without being asked
*gave your sister the last cookie
*got a B+ on your spelling test
*didn’t tease your sister when she spilled her milk at dinner
*and so on. . .

Then, at the end of the day, when you tuck your child in for bed, read over the list.  Let your child know that you were watching and caught him doing good things that day.  Your child will love the special time you’re spending together and will relish the positive praise.  Need some tips on what you should be able to realistically expect from your child at his stage of development?  Check out the CDC’s website at  http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/
This website allows you to pick your child’s age range and has great suggestions on age-appropriate positive parenting as well as information about developmental milestones and the health and safety of your child.

Tips for Toddlers:
• Play matching games with your toddler, like shape sorting and simple puzzles.
• Encourage your child’s growing independence by letting him help with dressing himself and feeding himself.
• Respond to wanted behaviors more than you punish unwanted behaviors (use only very brief time outs). Always tell or show your child what she should do instead.
• Give your child attention and praise when she follows instructions and shows positive behavior and limit attention for defiant behavior like tantrums.
• Teach your child acceptable ways to show that she’s upset.

Tips for Preschoolers:
• Be clear and consistent when disciplining your child. Explain and show the behavior that you expect from her. Whenever you tell her no, follow up with what she should be doing instead.
• Help your child through the steps to solve problems when she is upset.
• Give your child a limited number of simple choices (for example, deciding what to wear, when to play, and what to eat for snack).

Tips for Middle Childhood:
• Show affection for your child. Recognize her accomplishments.
• Help your child develop a sense of responsibility—ask him to help with household tasks, such as setting the table.
• Make clear rules and stick to them, such as how long your child can watch TV or when she has to go to bed. Be clear about what behavior is okay and what is not okay.
• Do fun things together as a family, such as playing games, reading, and going to events in your community.
• Use discipline to guide and protect your child, rather than punishment to make him feel bad about himself. Follow up any discussion about what not to do with a discussion of what to do instead.
• Praise your child for good behavior. It’s best to focus praise more on what your child does (“you worked hard to figure this out”) than on traits she can’t change (“you are smart”).
• Support your child in taking on new challenges. Encourage her to solve problems on her own.

Positive Parenting is possible!  It just takes commitment on your part and a starting point.  Behavior Management Coaching helps frustrated parents develop positive parenting strategies to reduce defiance and build stronger family relationships!  Talk to us today!