By Mariza Halliday
We all want a perfect family life, to be the ideal parent. Parents’ relationships with their children is the purest, most selfless and unconditional relationship in the world. But at the same time, it is also the most challenging and stressful duty to perform.
We know that encouraging positive behaviour and implementing reward systems, produce better results than punishments and harsh discipline. It helps children feel confident and good about their choices and makes them more likely to repeat them, rather than find ways to avoid a punishment. As human beings we naturally seek the praise and acknowledgement of our peers, children are no different. Using this to our advantage to steer their behaviour can have so many benefits for the child as well as the parents.
Positive parenting is a great way to form healthy and strong relationships with your children and to build trust.
When you use parenting tactics that are encouraged by positive guidance, it is easier for your children to develop self-discipline. More importantly, positive parenting tactics encourage self-love and self-respect. This does not mean that you parent without any discipline or boundaries. To be a positive parent, you must still acknowledge poor behaviour and correct it in a manner that encourages good behaviour, and not just avoidance of the punishment.
As parents, we all understand how frustrating it can be when you are exhausted, overworked and your kids just won’t come to the party and behave. We have all been in a position where we lost our temper. It is important for us to constantly revisit our parenting techniques and to see if they require changes or adjustments to suit the needs of our children.
Studies have proven that positive parenting yields better results than time-outs, harsh punishment and scolding – but where do we start?
1 Communication and building a meaningful relationship with your child are valuable first steps to creating positivity in your home. It is important to focus and be aware of your body language, the tone of your voice and general attitude when you are speaking to them. Be present, listen and stay calm.
2 Invest in one-on-one time with your children. The best thing you can do to improve your children’s behaviour is spending time with them individually every day, giving them your undivided attention and forming an emotional connection. When children do not get the positive attention that they are hard-wired to need and crave, they will seek out attention in negative ways. When this happens, consequences and other discipline methods won’t work.
Aim for 20-30 minutes one-on-one time a day per child and you’ll see measurable improvement almost immediately.
3 Give them a choice. Avoid a typical power struggle by giving your children choices instead of commands. Avoid situations where the typical response will be “no” as it is usually met with defiance. Giving your children a choice empowers them and makes them feel valued.
4 Kids thrive with a routine, so set clearly defined routines for the busiest times of the day. Some kids find a visual routine chart or aid extremely helpful. It can help ease the stress and tensions around getting ready for school in the mornings or bedtime. It is extremely important that you stick to these routines to create balance in your home.
5 Time-out just doesn’t work. Having time out in the corner or bedroom doesn’t teach kids how to make better choices the next time and generally, a timeout just escalates a power struggle. Kids, especially the strong-willed, will generally push back resulting in a futile exercise and wasted energy.
6 Set clear rules and boundaries and follow through with fair consequences. Praise and reward good behaviour to encourage them to repeat it.
7 Nobody’s perfect – kids, teenagers or adults – so don’t expect your child to do more (or less) than they’re capable of. And remember, we all make mistakes sometimes.
Slow down and prioritize relationships over stuff and activities, this is the best way to embrace positive parenting. Parents often get caught up in wanting to provide their children with all kinds of amazing opportunities – kids don’t need busy schedules and tons of stuff. They need playtime, downtime, and connection. Slow down, embrace positive parenting and enjoy a happier and calmer home.