Let’s be honest, there’s no handbook to parenting and there’s no ‘ideal’ parent, we’re all just trying our best but there are ways to make it easier for yourself and your children. From the terrible toddler years to the teens, it’s not easy, however, these tips our team have compiled should help you become the positive parent you aspire to be.
Positive parenting all starts with regulating your own emotions. It’s only natural to feel overwhelmed with emotions at times but expressing your frustration or anger can often reflect poorly on your child’s behaviour- leaving them to believe lashing out is okay behaviour.
Being patient and understanding your child’s emotions and actions will teach them good behaviour, children learn a lot by imitating your actions and emotions.
Once you’ve regulated your emotions, the most effective discipline strategy is having a close bond with your child. Children who feel close and connected to their parents naturally want to impress them and make them proud.
Think loving guidance instead of punishment, we all make mistakes!
Punishment is often destructive, breaking down the relationship you’ve built up with your child, ultimately creating more misbehaviour. Loving guidance sets limits and reinforces the expectations you have set, but in an empathic way that makes the child focus on improving behaviour rather than you being angry at them.
Always keep it in the back of your mind that children misbehave when they feel bad about themselves and disconnected from their parents or guardians.
Of course, it’s great to lovingly guide your children but it’s also important to set limits and enforce your rules. Although, there are ways to positively go about this without damaging your bond. For example, if your child is refusing to go to bed, acknowledge their emotions but firmly make it clear that it is bedtime. A good thing to say in that scenario would be, ‘you wish you could play longer, but it’s bedtime. I know that makes you sad.’ This approach makes children feel understood and more likely to accept the limits.
In any situation that poses a physical danger, intervene immediately but simultaneously connect by empathising. For example, ‘The rule is no kicking. You can tell your brother what you want and how you feel without kicking him.’ Ensure you stay calm and collected, showing no frustration or hurt, no matter how shocked you might be.
If your child refuses to accept your direction it’s likely the relationship is not strong enough to support the teaching.
Don’t worry, it happens to all of us and I’m sure we can all remember a time we shouted at our own parents for not understanding or restricting us from something we thought was the be all and end all… However, if this does happen, stop and think about how you can work on the bond, don’t turn it into a power struggle that will just cause a larger rift.
If you are struggling, there's always 'quiet time'!
At Aspire, we encourage allowing children to have this time in order for them to regulate their own emotions in times of escalation or stress. This can be an effective strategy in supporting a child’s emotional regulation and support you in de-escalating your own emotions in a situation of crisis or escalation within the home environment.
Always remember to manage these situations calmly, consistently and with compassion and patience.
It’s extremely important to remember how you treat your child is how they will learn to treat themselves. If you’re harsh with them, they will be harsh to themselves, however, if you’re loving but firm, they will develop the ability to set firm but loving limits on their own behaviour. Ironically, harsh discipline and punishment interfere with a child’s ability to develop self-discipline. Internalised harshness makes for unhappy kids and eventually unhappy adults, the cycle will then repeat itself throughout the generations.
Positive parenting starts with you and your emotions, work on your bond with your child and parent through loving guidance and you will see a dramatic improvement in your child’s behaviour both at home and at school.
If you’re in need of any more advice and/or help, we offer training services that benefit families as a whole. Please feel free to contact us today on 0333 200 8795 or firstname.lastname@example.org