Praise – be encouraging
Being a parent comes with its share of challenges and woes. As if times were not challenging enough, the pandemic and political climate have made day-to-day coping a big concern for everyone.
So, baby and toddler parenting skills may be difficult to practice. This may be true with older kids as well. However, these tips towards positive parenting skills can be implemented to keep the household in a PRIDE-like condition. Pride stands for Praise, Reflection, Imitation, Description, and Enjoyment.
Praise is positive reinforcement, positive statements that convey support. Things that are said to all children at any age become their inner voice. This voice has the capability to build up or tear down. Encouragement strengthens self-esteem.
Positive communication promotes a child's social skills and problem-solving skills. It also enhances relationships with peers and caregivers. Optimistic parenting, coupled with support, encourages a child to believe in themselves and their future.
With toddlers and young kids, encourage their developing independence by letting them help with feeding and dressing themselves. Let them know that each attempt is good, even though not necessarily correct. As they age, help them to set achievable goals. They will learn to be prideful in themselves and rely less on rewards or approval.
In the case of teens, respect their opinions and take into account their feelings and thought processes. It is very important that they feel “heard” and understood.
Focus praise on hard work and effort, not just the effect. Also, respect the need for independence and some privacy.
Reflection - be responsive
Positive psychology is an approach to parenting that focuses on good behavior being nurtured, not focusing on bad behavior. One step is being responsive to your children. Children behave in healthy ways when they feel appreciated and encouraged. Children with emotionally open parents who coach them benefit more positively than those without emotional coaches.
In the case of babies, talk to them. They will find your voice soothing. When your baby makes a sound, repeat the sounds and add words to encourage learning language. As your kids get older, help walk them through steps to solve a problem when they are upset.
As they continue to age, insist on spending time with them. Talk about their friends, accomplishments, or any challenges they may face. Praise them for recognizing triggers.
With older teens, respond to their concerns and be sure to notice any change in behavior. It is ok to ask if they are sad, depressed, or have suicidal thoughts. If so, help your teen to seek help. This helps to stop problems before they escalate.
Imitation- set the example
A parent imitating a child can be flattering and send a message saying that your child is important and interesting and that you want to be like them. When adults imitate a child, the child is likely to imitate the adult. For younger kids, this is a good way to promote social exchanges.
When a parent's development style is characterized by teaching, encouragement, and affection, there are many positive outcomes. These outcomes include:
- Increased compliance
- More school readiness
- More positive social and cognitive development
- Willingness to try new things
- Less negativity
- Less antisocial behavior
Encourage your toddler to take part in pretend play. Make sure to play along and shift actions that are inappropriate to appropriate.
Support your child when they take on new challenges. Encourage problem-solving and be present when problems arise.
For teens, be direct when talking about sensitive subjects like drinking, smoking, sex, and drugs. At the same time, be a role model and not one to “do as I say, not as I do.”
Description - set boundaries… but positively
With positive parenting, you should find ways to make expectations clear without being pushy. Be clear about actions after disrupting boundaries to enforce the importance of rules. Show that following rules leads to good outcomes.
Descriptions help kids to know that you have their attention. It lets them know you are interested, which helps to boost self-esteem. Providing consequences and boundaries shows responsibility and accountability. Specific lines and consequences ahead of time show a child the importance of following rules. Consequences should not shock them.
Regardless, boundaries and rules should be presented in a positive way.
Give children attention and praise when they follow instructions. Show attention for positive behavior and try to limit attention for bad behaviors like tantrums. Teach your child other ways to show they are upset. Praise children for good attitudes. It is best to centralize the praise of what the child does and not on what they didn’t do. For example: “what a great job you did figuring this out”.
For older kids, be clear of expectations and goals when there is a conflict. While showing respect and still maintaining authority, listen to their input on how they feel a goal should be achieved.
Enjoyment – be interactive
Enjoyment means radiating positivity and warmth with actions and words while with your child.
Ways that include showing enjoyment via body language are:
- Making eye contact
- Embracing your child
- Hugs and kisses
Parents that provide interventions that show enjoyment can have many positive parenting outcomes. Enjoyment improves attachment security and school adjustment. It leads to many adjustments in problematic behaviors and increases competency.
The excitement in positive parenting decreases family stress and conflict. It improves family communication and organization. It reduces problematic behaviors and increases optimistic development. Any example in which the parent shows excitement can help kids to understand and regulate their own emotions.
Overall, many parts of positive parenting add to a child's creativity, self-esteem, relationship goals, future goals, and a good sense of well-being. A loving and warm parent who supports their kid and nurtures their inner spirit empowers them with the intellect and tools to meet obstacles head-on as a truly well-rounded individual.
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CDC.gov: "Positive Parenting Tips."
PositivePsychology.com: "What is Positive Parenting? A Look at the Research and Benefits."
University of California – Davis: "The Power of Positive Parenting."
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