Positive parenting is a continued relationship which supports and fosters the development of a child through, as the article describes ‘caring, teaching, leading and communicating.’ The main aim of positive parenting is to teach discipline in a manner which allows for open communication between parent and child, thus setting healthy boundaries.
Positive parents have seen an improvement in their child’s confidence and a boost in their self-esteem, improved problem-solving abilities and social skills. This parenting technique also promotes independence, creativity and self-belief. More important than all other factors, children learn how to take accountability and responsibility for their actions.
Erickson (a developmental psychologist)’s Psychosocial Development theory
- Trust vs. Mistrust (from birth to 18 months): Children learn to trust the world around them and are less weary of strangers/those outside their immediate circle.
- Autonomy vs. Shame/Doubt (from 18 months to 3 years): Children acknowledge self from others and begin to do for themselves. Their sense of identity formation has begun from the sheer acknowledgement that the world no longer revolves around them and that they exist in the world.
- Initiative vs. Guilt (3-6 years): Children begin to take initiative and test life’s boundaries, simultaneously navigating feelings of “guilt” by the ability to better discern between emotions/morals. E.g. What’s right and what’s wrong.
- Industry vs. Inferiority (6-12 years): Children are keen to feel successful during each endeavour. They require validation for a job well done and want to feel as if they are learning at school and thus continue to grow.
- Identity vs. Role confusion (12 years onwards): Children become adolescents and learn to be more independent. This is a key stage of identity formation wherein they discern between their roles in the world (e.g. daughter, sister) and personal identity.
Here are my tips below for positive parenting:
- The choice principle – If your child is old enough to care/to choose, providing your child with two alternatives will give them a greater sense of autonomy. E.g. Would you like to take a bath before dinner or right before bedtime?
- Making them feel like they really belong – Ask your child what their opinion is on something important. Involving them in important matters (E.g. planning for your husband’s birthday) and then trusting them to keep it a secret, will help them feel valued.
- When dealing with the dynamic between siblings (e.g. sibling rivalry which is quite normal, especially at a younger age), never take sides – Listen to both of them, voice their emotions to one another, objectively view the situation and allow them (as much as possible, unless in an extreme scenario) to resolve the conflict internally. One of your children should never feel preferred over the other. This causes jealousy and tension. It also creates a sense of insecurity.
- Understand the reason behind the action – You want your child to feel heard. Maybe you don’t agree with the reason but either way, knowing this will help you comprehend their behavioural/thought patterns and come up with effective solutions the next time they act out. E.g. A sibling hits their younger sibling – The explanation is that they took away his toy, thus teaching them to use their words to better communicate is an effective solution.
- Be there for your child and be approachable – Parents that are there (completely switched on, not distracted) and approachable (friendly, calm, soothing) will foster closer bonds with their children. The child will trust you and come to you, knowing that they will receive a warm response and unconditional love.