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Positive Parenting is one of the hottest topics when searching for tips and advice about parenting.
But before we dive into it, out of curiosity, google “Negative Parenting” as it will give you a better idea about what Positive Parenting really is.
When we googled it ourselves, this was the first thing we got:
“Negative parenting — or a lack of parental support — can also lead to depression in children, researchers have found. A study by Dallaire et al. (2006) examined the combined and cumulative effects of supportive–positive and harsh–negative parenting behaviors on children’s depressive symptoms.”
What we like about the above expression is that, for them, “Negative Parenting” is the same as “lack of parental support”.
And that is actually the foundation for all our 10 rules about positive parenting as all of them, in a sense, build some sort of parental support.
10 Rules about Positive Parenting
#1 Everything starts with you, parents
We had to really start dealing with parents before we focus on the kids.
Because if you’re not approaching parenting in a positive way, there is no way you can share positive vibes, messages, and lessons with your kids.
Don’t get us wrong.
You don’t need to be perfect or always have a positive approach to everything your kids do.
We’ve also lost some hair.
Father’s comment: Hair wise, I’m winning by a large margin.
We’ve also had some terrible nights and we still do with the newborn.
We’ve also had to raise our voices and we’ll have to do it again for sure.
Mother’s comment: And we cried sometimes about it, thinking we were terrible parents because of it.
Everything is normal.
It’s how aware you are of your actions and about your kids’ needs that will help you remain positive.
So, and this will probably sound a bit harsh to some of you but it should be your number one rule: focus on yourself first.
Negative Parenting normally comes from lack of patience or fear, all things that are generated from, for example, sleep deprivation, lack of schedule, lack of routines, doubts, etc..
A balanced parent is a great first step to be positive with your kid(s).
So, if not for you, focus on yourself first because your kids will thank you.
If you build some empathy with this topic, you must read our Practical Parenting Manifesto.
#2 Positive Communication
Communication between ourselves and our kids is very important.
Positive Parenting is a process that should be nurtured in simple things such as the way we communicate with our kids.
It’s really interesting to understand how negative language impacts toddlers and teens and also how we can deal with it.
The main message here is that positive parenting is not a switch you turn on and off.
It’s in everything you do.
The hugs, the calls for attention, the tone, the look in your eyes…
Listening is probably the “need” we will repeat more often in this blog.
Mainly because it is something we are losing in our society and that ends up reflecting in our homes.
It’s really that important.
Build that self-awareness first and, from there, learn to listen, and when we say listen we mean to really listen to your kids and your partner.
A relationship is built upon some important foundations, being it as a couple or with your kids and Listening is incredibly important for a balanced family.
Listen to your newborn cry and understand the origin of it, listen to your toddler stories when they’re playing with their toys or dolls, listen to your pre-teen or teen about the daily struggles.
In everything, you have a great opportunity to bring a Positive Parenting experience.
Nurture your listening in your family.
In fact, positive listening is a great first step to let your kid understand that they can talk to you and seek advice.
Positive listening is simply a listening where you’re not just hearing, you’re actually listening. No phones or tv. It’s just you and your kid.
It’s your time. Use it to build a positive moment, even when the topic is not positive.
#4 Be a positive leader
Our task, as parents, is to remain connected with our kids while still be leaders in every need our kids have.
Let’s face it.
Parenting won’t be perfect.
We don’t know it all and even when we have more than one child, odds are that they won’t be “the same”.
As parents, we should be able to guide them.
We use to say, at home, that our ultimate task, as parents, is to get our kids ready to live in this crazy world, without us.
And if we want them to understand the right over the wrong, we need to make sure our message resonates with them in a positive way.
Try to avoid being a leader that is constantly pointing out the obvious or the bad things.
Build through a positive approach.
Instead of pointing out what they can’t do. Point out more about what they can and SHOULD do.
That is actually a great way on how to get your kids to listen to you.
#5 Avoid Timeouts
A timeout when you’re on a power struggle with your kid can easily be sensed as some sort of punishment by the little ones.
Kids have a totally different perspective about time. What for us is simply a few minutes for the child to think about the behavior, for them will look like a lot more.
And the more time you give, the more those negative thoughts will grow in them.
Power struggles should be resolved immediately.
Don’t expect a toddler or even a pre-teen or teen to have the emotional maturity to understand what happened and how to solve it.
Even us, as grown-ups, sometimes suffer to kill a power struggle at the moment, imagine the kids.
Timeout, in that sense, is still another way of punishment.
Avoid it and help your child move from there through a positive new perspective over what happened.
Speaking of punishments and timeouts, this is the one thing that you should never use as a punishment.
#6 Follow good habits
It’s exactly the same as when we’re learning how to drive and we are told that we should drive as we would like our kids to drive.
The perspective here is pretty similar.
You need to build great habits at home because those will reflect on your kids.
Let us give you a quick example.
If your kid goes to bed really late and you want to wake him/her up early in the morning for school, good luck with that.
And not only that but also have in mind how tired he/she will be in class when it’s important to pay attention to what the teacher has to say.
Another quick example.
If your kid wants to talk to you and you don’t move your eyes from the TV although you’re answering him/her, don’t expect your kid to do differently when you want to ask a question.
It’s really important to remember that good habits are also a great foundation for a balanced child.
#7 “I told you so!”
We all said this before and we will say it a lot more times.
It’s in our nature.
But instead of asking you to avoid saying this, we should avoid reaching a situation where saying that will sound natural.
Let’s put it this way.
When you say to your child that it’s important not to do something but the child still do it if things go wrong, what do you think an “I told you so” will sound like?
In our kid’s mind, things went wrong because we told them that they shouldn’t do and the “failure” is the punishment.
It’s really hard especially when we, as parents, know that things will go wrong but we still let them go because we believe they will learn a lesson from it.
But truth is that they won’t learn a major lesson besides the lesson that they went against you and things went wrong.“I told you so”, right?
Instead, explain what might happen and the consequences of it.
Are they learn how to ride a bike?
Falling is natural and it will hurt sometimes.
You’ll be there to help them.
If they fall, how do you think an “I told you so” would help?
#8 Inconsistent Parenting
According to some psychiatrists, this is one of the worst parenting styles.
When we are talking about “inconsistent parenting” we are simply saying when parents do one thing one day, try another thing the next day and there is not really a straight line of parental guidance for the child to know what to do.
If you ever say that there shouldn’t be TV during the meals, you can’t ignore that just because you want the kids to be distracted and let you have a quiet meal.
If that was the rule you told them, then there shouldn’t be TV during the meals.
When you set a rule, it should be respected, by your kids but also by yourself.
Children, by nature, seek stability and comfort in a routine. Inconsistent style parenting is all against routine.
Mother’s comment: When our oldest son was born we tried to implement a rigid schedule for him. A schedule with specific times to eat and to sleep, most of all. Wherever we were, we always tried to make sure we were on time with our schedule. The fact that we did that allowed us to know exactly when he would get a bit more “nervous” about eating or sleeping time. And because of that we managed to have a social life relatively soon after he was born because we knew exactly when things would happen, without any major surprises.
#9 Overindulgent Parenting
We know… if only we could give them all.
Wouldn’t that be great?
But what would we be teaching them if we were like that?
Even if we could, kids wouldn’t benefit from it.
It’s tough but they shouldn’t win it all the time, even when playing cards with you.
Some parents always let their kids win. In some contexts, for example, they even try to pull a few strings to see if their kids can win it.
Celebrate the simple participation as well as you would celebrate a victory.
Remember that our goal is to raise a person that would be ready to fight for whatever he or she wants in life.
Overindulgent parenting is not the way to raise an independent child. In fact, the child’s success will be dependent on having you around, which won’t happen forever.
#10 Be a parent
It sounds like a silly rule or an obvious one but after reaching out to the last one, we still missed something.
We sometimes focus so much on rules and guides and what everyone is saying around us that we forget the obvious and the simple things in life.
We are here for the same reasons you are: we are parents.
We (you and us!) have one or more children that call us parents and by doing that are simply asking us to guide them through the sinuous growing process until they are grown-ups.
And it’s our job to lead them in the process.
A positive leadership where we are constantly building something and where confidence in them starts in our own confidence.
None of us are perfect parents.
There is no such thing as perfect parenting, in fact.
But if you follow the rules above, just like we use at our own home, you’ll be perfect enough to have a positive and happy home.
Positive Parenting is all about mindset.
If you want to learn more about this topic and go deeper, there is one book that we read and that opened our eyes to the need to nurture a Positive Parenting approach.
It’s a very simple yet very informative book.
And, most of all, it will make you reevaluate your relationships with your kids, whatever their ages are.
It’s that good.
You can find it here – Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide.
You will love it.
So, now that you have a better idea about what Positive Parenting is and why we should care about it, it’s time to put these in practice with your kids.
Remember that these are rules that we use, that most of our friends use and the results have been great, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do things your way.
Of course, you can.
Not everything that works with us will work equally with you or vice-versa.
In parenting – and this could almost be rule #11 – we must be ready to adapt to our children’s needs by always have in mind that we’re there to provide the needed support.
The support we mentioned that each rule should provide our kids.
Parenting is a daily challenge.
And we are all up to the task.
We just need to have a plan.
And that is what Positive Parenting is all about: having a plan of action.
The 10 Rules about Positive Parenting are simply guidelines for your Parenting Plan of Action.
To know what to do about building a positive home and a positive child.
P.S. Just as a reminder, the book we mentioned above as a great read about this subject is Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide.
Just like we teach our kids to ask what they want, I’ll ask you to take a second to share “10 Starting Rules about Positive Parenting” with your audience. They respect great content.