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Positive Parenting: What is it all about?

Positive parenting is an effective approach that focuses on a child’s strengths instead of criticising their flaws. It’s also called strength-based parenting for this reason.

The origins of positive parenting come from the work of Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler in the early 1900s. He believed kids need to feel connected to thrive. When they have responsive relationships, they flourish and act out less.

As parents, we often obsess over what our child does incorrectly. But positive parenting says to highlight their strengths. Research proves this is more successful long-term.

Understanding Positive Parenting

Positive parenting is a parenting style based on mutual respect, empathy, and open communication between parents and children. It emphasises creating a nurturing and supportive environment that encourages emotional development and fosters positive behaviour. Unlike traditional authoritarian or permissive parenting, positive parenting focuses on teaching children valuable life skills, empowering them to make responsible choices, and building a strong emotional bond within the family.

Why we naturally focus on the negative

Our brains are wired to focus on potential threats – an ancient survival technique. So we zero in on problems versus strengths.

Today’s social pressures also push us to “fix” our kid’s undesirable behaviours. Since this was likely how we were parented, it’s our default. But we can retrain ourselves to accentuate the positive.

The Core Principles of Positive Parenting

  1. Respect and Empathy: In positive parenting, we prioritise showing respect and empathy towards our children’s feelings and perspectives. By acknowledging their emotions and validating their experiences, we create a safe space for open communication and emotional expression.
  2. Positive Reinforcement: Rather than relying on punishments, positive parenting emphasises positive reinforcement. We celebrate our children’s achievements, big or small, and encourage them to continue exhibiting positive behaviours.
  3. Setting Clear Boundaries: While fostering an environment of positivity, it is essential to set clear and consistent boundaries. Children thrive when they understand the guidelines and expectations, enabling them to feel secure and confident.
  4. Leading by Example: As parents, we recognise that our actions significantly impact our children’s behaviour. By demonstrating positive behaviour and coping mechanisms, we serve as role models, guiding our children towards healthier emotional responses.

Practical Strategies for Positive Parenting

  1. Active Listening: Take the time to actively listen to your child’s thoughts and feelings without judgment. Create a safe space where they can express themselves freely.
  2. Positive Communication: Use positive and constructive language when addressing your child’s actions or behavior. Avoid resorting to harsh criticism or negative remarks.
  3. Quality Time: Dedicate quality time to spend with your child, engaging in activities they enjoy. This strengthens your bond and builds cherished memories.
  4. Conflict Resolution: Teach your child healthy ways to resolve conflicts and manage their emotions during challenging situations.

How to put positive parenting into practice

While approaches vary, the emphasis is on positive interactions. You recognise good behaviours, offer encouragement, and create an environment for cooperation.

Psychologists say a strength is something your child does happily and often. This includes talents like walking or talking early or personality traits like determination, curiosity, bravery, humour, and kindness. Highlighting these helps them thrive.

The Benefits of Positive Parenting

Implementing positive parenting techniques can yield numerous benefits for both children and parents alike:

  1. Enhanced Emotional Intelligence: By encouraging emotional expression and empathy, children develop higher emotional intelligence, allowing them to understand and manage their feelings better.
  2. Improved Behaviour: Positive reinforcement reinforces positive behaviour, leading to a reduction in negative behaviour and conflicts within the family.
  3. Stronger Parent-Child Bond: The emphasis on open communication and mutual respect fosters a strong bond between parents and children, creating a foundation of trust and understanding.
  4. Boosted Self-Esteem: When children receive positive affirmation and encouragement, their self-esteem and self-confidence grow, enabling them to tackle challenges with a positive mindset.

Handy tips for positive parenting:

  • Empathise with their feelings and needs, even if they seem irrational. Ask yourself – are they tired, bored, overwhelmed?
  • Praise good behaviour instead of taking it for granted. Positive reinforcement works.
  • Distract little ones before problems arise. Whisk them away from temptation.
  • Be their ally. Hear their side fairly and help them find solutions.
  • Prioritise quality time reading, talking, and playing together. Listen attentively.
  • Have a quota for misbehaviours to ignore versus address. Stay positive overall.
  • Manage your own stress. Kids sense your emotions. Ask for help if needed.

Is positive parenting suitable for me?

Studies confirm many benefits spanning emotional, social, cognitive, language, and health realms.

Specific findings show positive parenting strategies with young kids:

  • Aid social-emotional growth and lessen disruptive behaviours
  • Positively impact cognitive abilities long-term
  • Help them handle stress more effectively
  • Improve imitation and play skills

As with any approach, choose what resonates. Try a few ideas first before adopting it fully. Just tipping the balance more positive can help.


How can I be positive parenting?

Be present, Lead by example, Empathise, Turn mistakes into learning opportunities

What is the most positive parenting style?

tudies have found that authoritative parents are more likely to raise confident kids who achieve academic success, have better social skills and are more capable at problem-solving

How do you discipline a child positively?

Praise your child positively and use calm consequences when disciplining your child. Set clear expectations for you child, and if they are not met, calmly explain why it was not met.