A Complete Guide To Positive Parenting
Are your kids refusing to do what you ask more than usual? Does everything feel like a battle? Believe it or not, positive parenting could be the key to more cooperation from your kids. And it may not be as hard to incorporate into your lifestyle as you think.
Here are some positive parenting solutions you should know about.
Maintain a Healthy Routine
While cooperation can be a struggle, a strong routine can help ward off behavioral problems before they start. It gives kids a sense of security and stability.
Kids with routines will have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them each day. For example, they know they need to brush their teeth, read a book, and take a shower before they go to bed.
As your child grows up, a successful routine will give them a sense of confidence and independence. They’ll take pride in knowing that they can take care of themselves, and will be less likely to be combative.
In a world where kids can be cruel and disappointments happen, a routine gives your child a sense of peace and security. Their home will be a safe haven rather than a forum for arguments.
Give Choices When Possible
Telling your child they have to buy a winter coat can set you up for an argument. They may begin whining or telling you they aren’t cold and no one wears them.
If, however, you let them pick out a new winter coat, they’ll feel more empowered. Instead of being told they have to wear something, they’re being given a chance to assert their own likes and dislikes.
Sometimes, limiting children’s choices is the best way to go. You don’t, for example, want to give your child the option of whether or not to eat veggies with dinner. But you can let them choose between carrots and celery.
The type of behavior you’re rewarding will depend upon your child’s age. Younger children may be getting rewards for learning to tie their shoes or dressing themselves without help. Simple rewards like stickers, hot chocolate, or an indoor campout are great ways to show them what a great job they did.
Older children, however, may be interested in bigger rewards, and they may need to wait longer in order to make them worth it. Your child may, for example, be rewarded for getting a good report card. This could mean promising them a gift card to their favorite store or a new bike at the end of the school year, but you’ll need to continue giving feedback on their progress regularly.
Rewards can help to increase motivation, productivity, and confidence in kids. Done correctly, positive feedback will teach your child how to work hard first before getting a reward. They learn rewarding oneself is earned.
When your kids are being particularly obstinate, it can be tempting to use shaming words. But statements like “it’s not that hard!” or “your room is disgusting!” can cause lasting damage. Hurtful words can severely lower their self-esteem and cause distance in your long-term relationship.
Instead of making discipline personal, consider engaging your child in a conversation about their behavior. Open questions such as “what did that feel like?” or “how can you do better next time?” will help them to be honest about how they can do better. They may even be quicker to admit mistakes in the future.
Yelling at kids seems like a natural way to get them to listen, especially when they’re being defiant or aggressive. Yet raising your voice often escalates the situation. In some cases, screaming can scare children and lead to feelings of insecurity.
The next time you’re tempted to yell, take a deep breath and leave the room for a minute if you need to. Revisit the conflict by giving appropriate consequences without threatening your child.
Be Clear and Consistent
You can avoid arguments becoming personal by being consistent with your consequences. When you establish rules and expectations up front, it’s easier to follow through when your child chooses not to listen. If, for example, your child doesn’t get ready to go on time, you can gently remind them that the rule is to leave at pre-established time and breakfast gets left on the table, or lunch doesn’t get made. Consequences can only be felt if you stick to your clear and consistent expectations.
We don’t want to train our kids that we only enforce our rules some of the time. It teaches children that it’s okay not to listen sometimes.
One of the best ways to avoid rebellious behaviors with your child is to form a close relationship with them. As they get older, this may take a bit of creativity.
Go out for ice cream on a personal date with each child, or take a dance class together. Laugh and let your child know you appreciate them as a person. This can go a long way toward keeping your relationship positive.
Make Sleep a Priority
A lack of sleep can cause your kids to become irritable, stressed out, and forgetful. This means that following rules can become even more difficult for them, and the chances of them lashing out are increased.
For best results with your kids, make sure you establish a relaxing nighttime routine and put them to bed at the same time each night. This will ensure that they’re refreshed, engaged, and resilient the next day.
Good Nutrition is Key
A child who isn’t getting proper vitamins and minerals will have difficulty concentrating, as well as an increased level of behavioral and emotional problems.
If you want your child to listen and perform at their best, they should be getting the proper amount of protein, fruits, veggies, and grains daily. Save healthy snacks for after meals and sugary sweets for occasional treats!
Set a Good Example
None of us like admitting when we’re wrong and some of us have a harder time than others.
Set a good example for your child by giving yourself some grace when you mess up. Statements like “I had a bad day today, I really shouldn’t have said that. Tomorrow will be better!” can show kids that we all do things we wish we hadn’t. And it will encourage them to change direction without beating themselves up.
Our favorite positive parenting tips involve a good attitude, a gentle tone, and changed behavior. With a little forethought, you could be a positive parent in no time!
Alternatively, you could always learn about balanced parenting.
Explore more parenting strategies in my book Secrets to Parenting.