Few parents understand how ineffective harsh discipline can be. True, it’s important to set limits, stick to them, and even punish, but encouragement of good behavior is far more effective. Positive parenting is a parenting style that involves raising a child without being forceful or unnecessarily harsh. It means using positive reinforcement to correct behavior rather than cruel discipline.
By interacting positively with your children, you can foster stronger, more robust relationships with them. As they grow, a strong relationship with their parents will make discipline easier as time goes on. They won’t fear you; they’ll trust you. When they’re older, discipline and punishments won’t be necessary. You’ll be able to talk to your child and help them understand why a behavior was inappropriate.
Positive parenting is NOT about letting your child live without limits. Obviously you have to set boundaries so they can live safely and grow up to be productive, happy people. Positive parenting is about how you respond when they cross the line, and how you proactively combat poor behavior even when they’re behaving properly.
Children raised in positive parenting environments tend to fit more easily into most social situations. They’re more confident and capable of receiving better results than they would of had they been raised under an authoritarian parenting style. Further, they’re likely to naturally pass on a positive parenting style to their children, creating a cycle.
You can practice the positive parenting model using these four tips:
1. “Catch” good behavior.
When your child does something especially good, make sure to call them out on it. We’re quick to admonish the bad behavior, but we forget that our children need reassurance when they’re doing something good, too. If you praise them for acting properly, they’ll seek that praise more often because they know it’s available.
2. Be consistent.
A key point in positive parenting is to be absolutely clear with what you expect. Tell your child outright what is considered acceptable or good behavior. Don’t leave them guessing. Remember they don’t have as fine a grasp of how to behave properly like you do, so they can’t be expected to get it right the first time. Be consistent with your requirements and respond every time.
3. Build a relationship.
If you don’t have a deep relationship with your kids, you’ll never be able to adjust their behavior, no matter how much praise you heap on their accomplishments. It’s essential that you become a person in your child’s life who they look up to. If you’re constantly aloof, don’t visit, or don’t offer any loving guidance, your opinion won’t matter to them.
4. Understand their feelings.
It’s important to get a handle on your child’s feelings. Come up with ways to get your children to express themselves to you. Don’t assume why they’re upset. Even little ones can surprise you with how eloquently they feel. If you admonish them for behaving poorly and they’re upset because you were harsh with them (instead of upset over their behavior) then you’ll have a clue that your negative discipline isn’t working. Remember: Children will grow up to treat themselves as you have treated them.
Guest blog by Karen Barski, BSN, RN, Mother of five, Certified Infant Care Specialist & Instructor, & Inventor of the Woombie Baby Swaddle
Karen has been an RN for 18 years, and has worked in many different nursing roles. As a Certified Infant Care Specialist, Karen counsels thousands of families yearly on a multitude of issues relating to pregnancy and infancy. Also, as a mother of five, she has invaluable experience and tips to share.
Since 2007, Karen’s company, KB Designs, has invented a line of signature baby swaddle products that have helped parents easily transition their new babies from womb to home. There are multiple designs and sizes so that babies can enjoy the comfort and security of the Woombie up until the time they begin to roll.
Each product has been created and designed by Karen because of a need she identified in her life with her five children. With convenience, safety, and fashion in mind, KB Designs has helped over a half million babies and counting!
For more information, visit www.woombie.com.
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