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The Busy Parent's Guide: What is Positive Parenting? | Parent Coach | MegAnne Ford

The Busy Parent's Guide: What is Positive Parenting?


Positive parenting can be a transformative approach for parents feeling tired and helpless. Positive Parenting is like learning a new sport.

For example, right now in your home, you might be experiencing irritation around the house, or you are nervous about going to the playground because your child might bite another kid.

HOT TAKE: Focusing on changing the child's behavior is not positive parenting. Positive Parenting is changing your behaviors, not the child's.

Let's put this through an analogy: what if I told you that child is playing Rugby, and you are playing basketball, as well as asking (often in a yelling tone) them to play according to the rules of basketball? You are telling them to dribble the ball while your child is running for a try. (Yes, in rugby, the score is called a TRY, you learn something every day)

With this short analogy, I think you can understand why it is frustrating for all involved. 

Now, you might have a different experience with other children; these children might be swayed into playing basketball very easily, and you are sitting there asking if they are able to play basketball. Why not all kids?

  It is time for you, the parent, to learn a new sport. I have taught this new "sport" to parents for 22 years, and once they understand the game their child is playing, it opens up a new life for their families. 

Positive parenting is learning how to focus on empathy and clear communication, and positive reinforcement helps address challenging behaviors while strengthening the parent-child bond. It provides tools and strategies to guide children towards positive behavior, promote emotional regulation, and build essential life skills, leading to a more harmonious and supportive family environment.


Take Aways

  1. Positive parenting involves letting go of fear-based approaches and prioritizes nurturing a child's well-being through empathy and communication, fostering a strong parent-child bond.
  2. It is a transformative method that promotes emotional intelligence, resilience, and problem-solving skills in children, preparing them for challenges in school and life.
  3. The approach focuses on communication strategies that go beyond "Yes" and "No," emphasizing meaningful interactions that build understanding and trust.
  4. Setting loving yet firm boundaries is a key aspect, guiding children's behavior with clear expectations and consequences while nurturing a respectful relationship.
  5. By nurturing emotional intelligence, positive parenting helps children understand and manage their feelings effectively, fostering empathy, open communication, and healthy emotional responses.
  6. Positive parenting is beneficial for children of all ages, promoting healthy development, strong relationships, and a culture of kindness and empathy that extends to future generations.
  7. Positive Parenting is a practice that is best done with a parent coach when you are new to it. 


Building Happy, Confident Kids with Positive Parenting

Positive parenting, simply put, is letting go of fear-based parenting. That means not saying phrases like "If you don't turn the TV off right now, you will not watch TV for the rest of your life" or "Why don't you act more like your sibling?" This is not easy when this is what was modeled to us as children, or maybe we have been using these tools for a few years. 

What is practiced is easy. What is unpracticed is hard. 

Positive Parenting is a transformative approach centered on nurturing a child's well-being while fostering a strong parent-child bond. It prioritizes empathy, communication, and understanding over punishments, creating an environment where children feel safe and supported. One of its key benefits is promoting emotional intelligence and resilience in children, equipping them with crucial life skills to navigate challenges confidently.

Understanding the above definition is something that comes with time. In theory, it would be great if you didn't feel the need to fear your children into doing the thing, turn the TV off, pick up their rooms, all of the things. There are so many layers that need to be pulled back. It is possible that the clients I work with have seen the difference in their homes. They are getting the desired results without threatening or punishing their kids. 

Positive Parenting is a science-backed methodology with tools that encourage positive behavior through encouragement, praise, and constructive guidance rather than harsh discipline, leading to improved self-esteem and self-discipline in children. Positive parenting also emphasizes teaching rather than punishing, helping children learn from mistakes and develop problem-solving skills.

Learning from mistakes might seem foreign since you might have been punished for your mistakes.

By focusing on mutual respect and collaboration, positive parenting builds a foundation of trust and cooperation between parents and children, resulting in happier, more confident kids who are better equipped to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

The truth is that all children will become adults, and if more adults in the world use these methods, the world will look a lot different. Not a utopia but something that is living and breathing and able to navigate ruptures and repairs.


The Power of Communication with Your Child

Beyond the "Yes" and "No," Positive communication strategies in parenting go beyond simply saying Yes and No, emphasizing meaningful interactions that foster understanding and trust. By actively listening, empathizing, and validating their feelings, parents can create a supportive environment where children feel heard and valued. Using positive language and constructive feedback helps in building a strong parent-child bond based on respect and cooperation. Knowing what to do when your kids are roughhousing, when you need to get out of the house when you are at the playground, and when you are working through daily routines. 

This is not something that comes naturally when you become a parent. That is a hard parent truth to come to terms with. Either you were disciplined as a child, actively listening and validating feelings, or you actively learned and practiced.

Encouraging open dialogue and problem-solving teaches children effective communication skills and conflict-resolution techniques. Positive communication also promotes emotional regulation and empathy, nurturing a sense of connection and empathy within the family. Through consistent and affirming communication, parents can empower their children to express themselves confidently and navigate relationships with empathy and understanding.

Truly being able to connect to your child in their stress is a powerful tool that takes skill. It is difficult as you are navigating your own emotions, feelings, and beliefs about a situation to also be aware of the needs and emotions of your child. It is difficult but not impossible, and with positive parenting, it is not about perfection or getting it right. It is about improving and creating a healthy long-term relationship. 


Setting Boundaries and Fostering Cooperation in Positive Parenting

Love is Limits. Love is blinding. Love is one of the 3 assumptions I make of parents. I know every parent who comes to me loves their kids, and I never question that. At the same time, the idea of what love is can sometimes cause blind spots.

All humans want to feel love, so it is hard when setting a limit, and your child pushes back and says, "I HATE YOU." This is scary and not fun, and it feels unloving. If you are unpracticed or unaware that you can separate the behavior from words, it will make sense why parents pull back from their limits to hear "I Love You."   As many of my clients can attest, the next "I HATE YOU!" is right around the corner. You, as the parent, might feel lost, sad, and upset that they are not listening to you, confused and angry that moment by moment they love and hate you, you can't win! 

Positive parenting emphasizes setting loving yet firm boundaries to guide children's behavior without resorting to harsh discipline. By clearly communicating expectations and consequences, parents help children understand limits while nurturing a respectful and cooperative relationship. Boundaries in positive parenting focus on teaching self-control, positive discipline, problem-solving, and decision-making skills, empowering children to make responsible choices. Consistency and empathy are key in enforcing boundaries, allowing parents to address challenging behaviors with understanding and patience. This approach fosters a sense of security and trust, leading to improved cooperation and mutual respect between parents and children.


How Positive Parenting Builds Independence and Self-Esteem

Here is the hard truth. Most humans learn best when they themself are doing the actions, or they care about what they are doing. When you choose to practice Positive Parenting, you are doing the work internally to allow your child space to explore the world around them in a safe environment. You are creating an environment where they can land and take off safely without fear that you will punish them, with timeouts, spanks, or yelling at them. 

It takes practice to sit in your discomfort while you watch your child pour the glass of water cause you know there will be a mess. It takes self-control to sit back and watch your child put on their shoes the wrong way or wait 2 minutes while they are working the straps. This is work!

While you, the parent, are holding your discomfort, you are allowing your child to learn on their own what they can do and what they care about. 

Positive parenting empowers children to explore their world with confidence, fostering independence and self-esteem. By providing guidance and support rather than control, parents nurture a child's natural curiosity and problem-solving skills. This approach allows children to learn through experience, making mistakes, and discovering their strengths. Positive parenting emphasizes praising effort and resilience, helping children develop a growth mindset and a positive self-image.

Through encouragement and empowerment, parents build a strong foundation for their child's growth, resilience, and self-confidence, preparing them to navigate life's challenges with courage and determination.


Nurturing Your Child's Emotional Intelligence with Positive Parenting

We are always learning or reinforcing what we have learned. Emotional Intelligence is a skill that can be taught and practiced. It is an active practice. Our moods, feelings, beliefs, and emotions are always changing; it is a practice to tune into yourself and take care of your needs. As you are doing this for yourself, your children are learning from you by observing what you are doing for yourself and also by interacting with them as they display their moods, thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. 

It is a tricky balancing act that should not be perfect all the time; that would make us all robots. 

Unleashing the power within, Positive parenting focuses on nurturing your and your child's emotional intelligence, helping them understand and manage their feelings effectively. By teaching empathy, emotional awareness, and self-regulation, parents empower their children to navigate complex emotions with confidence.

This approach encourages open communication, where children feel safe expressing their thoughts and emotions without fear of judgment. Through positive reinforcement and modeling healthy emotional responses, parents play a crucial role in shaping their child's emotional intelligence. By fostering a supportive and empathetic environment, positive parenting equips children with essential life skills for building strong relationships and coping with life's challenges.


Positive Parenting is for Every Age

Positive Parenting is all around you. As you begin practicing positive parenting, you might realize that this is for everyone at every stage of life. While you are using strategies and methods with your kids, you might find that they also work with you just as well, your partner, close relatives, teachers, doctors, 

Positive Parenting is simply using the knowledge and science that humans have obtained over the centuries of how our brains work. It is the creation or destruction of relationships. It is about building your skills and helping others with their skills.

It emphasizes fostering a nurturing and supportive environment where children feel loved, understood, and respected regardless of their developmental stage. For younger children, positive parenting focuses on gentle guidance, setting clear boundaries, and using positive reinforcement to encourage desirable behaviors.

As children grow older, positive parenting evolves to include open communication, teaching problem-solving skills, and fostering independence while maintaining a strong parent-child bond. This approach recognizes the unique needs and challenges of each age group, promoting healthy development and positive family dynamics across all stages of childhood and adolescence.


The Enduring Impact of Positive Parenting

Positive parenting creates a ripple effect that extends far beyond childhood, shaping the values and behaviors of future generations. By modeling kindness, empathy, and compassion, parents instill these qualities in their children, leading to a more compassionate and understanding society.

Children raised in positive parenting environments are more likely to exhibit prosocial behaviors, develop strong social bonds, and contribute positively to their communities. Moreover, the enduring impact of positive parenting can be seen in reduced instances of aggression, conflict resolution skills, and increased emotional intelligence in children as they mature into adulthood.

This approach not only benefits individual families but also contributes to a broader culture of kindness and empathy, creating a positive legacy for generations to come.

Our world is changing fast, and it is hard to keep up. Practicing Positive Parenting is most successful with a trusted parent coach and community. You can find several online parenting classes and parent coaching programs that can support you. 

Positive Parenting is the future; growing and nurturing relationships is what makes us human; it is similar to the garden; when left unattended, it will no longer be a service. 

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