I am very excited to introduce a new weekly link up specifically for Parenting posts. There are lots of link up parties out there for adult crafts, outdoor play, activities with kids etc but very few are exclusively for Parenting posts. The aim of this link up is to provide a weekly one stop shop for people looking for inspiring posts on parenting.
Having watched a million episodes of Super Nanny while pregnant, I was surprised that when Goblin came along I didn't feel comfortable using the Super Nanny techniques. The more assertive he became, the more uncomfortable it felt using those authoritarian methods. So I started trawling the internet for ideas of alternatives and I stumbled on the concept of Positive Parenting. This fits how I want to parent so much better. My go to blog for this is Positive Parenting Connection. I genuinely believe that discovering this blog has improved my parenting skills and my relationship with my son, so it is a huge honour that on our very first The Sunday Parenting Party I have Ariadne aka MudpieMama of Positive Parenting Connection here to explain what Positive Parenting is all about.
What is Positive Parenting?
Positive parenting is all about building close and meaningful relationships and preparing children to be responsible and capable. It’s not about gimmicks or following specific methods, but really about communication, encouragement and setting limits with kindness while still being firm.
Some people may think that positive parenting is about keeping children happy all the time or that parents have to know a bunch of tools and what not to say in order to get it right, but although there are lots of parenting tools that we can turn to, what really matters is building that relationship based on love, trust and connection. Plus, keeping our expectations about our children and ourselves in check too.
So how does it work, like let’s say my child keeps biting me or throwing his toys?
Dealing with a child that is biting, hitting and throwing can be really challenging. Maybe you have yelled out of frustration, or taken away a toy. Maybe you have even heard the “bite back” and “strike back” bit of advice but in the end that biting and hitting happens all over again the next day. With positive parenting the whole idea shifts away from reacting and instead helps you the parent focus on the real issue that is present: Children hit, bite, strike when they are unable to express themselves clearly, maybe they are angry or mad, hungry, tired...any number of reasons could be leading to that kind of outburst. It doesn’t mean that hitting and biting will be allowed, but with that understanding in mind, as the parent we can work to meet the child’s needs or remove them from the situation while being empathetic yet firm.
When my son was 3 years old he tried kicking and hitting me one day. I held him close so I wouldn’t get hurt and said “You may not kick or hurt me but I will listen to you. Do you want to tell me what you are feeling?” After some squirming, crying and huffing, he went on to tell me he was really mad. A friend that had been visiting was leaving and he just wasn’t ready to say good-bye. “I hate when people go to their house.” Crying in my arms and having a listening ear was all he needed to recover. Later, we talked about how hitting and kicking hurts and we read a book about it too. The focus was on his need and recognizing that he was feeling some big feelings, not on the fact that he wasn’t really able to express himself right away. You can see more examples of how positive parenting works in daily life here andhere
Does positive parenting really work?
Well, the great thing about positive parenting is that it is flexible and can really unfold as each family sees fit. Because parents are tuning in to their child’s true needs, when parents follow a positive path instead of opting for punishments and rewards they tend to do a whole lot less of nagging, threating, yelling and complaining and a great deal of encouraging, supporting and connecting.
But, yes, even research shows that positive parents, that is parents that are warm, responsive yet firm have children that are responsible, attentive, and willing to cooperate. Children raised in authoritarian environments where obedience and compliance are the focus tend to be well behaved in the sense that they do what they are told but generally lack critical thinking, empathy and self reliance skills.
Just the other day I stood in the kitchen reflecting and so thrilled to see my three children voluntarily helping unset the table, washing pots and pans and everyone was looking forward to story and bed time. Helping around the house and bed time without a struggle…that is golden right?? I promise, it’s not just my kids either… I hear it daily from families that I have had a chance to work with just how much the positive parenting way has changed their family life, less struggles, less yelling and a lot more laughing and connecting!
Ariadne Brill is a certified positive discipline parenting educator. She is the author of positive parenting connection , a resource for gentle parenting and positive yet effective discipline. She has three children, two dogs and a fish! Ariadne loves chocolate and is passionate about helping parents and children create harmony at home.