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Why psychologists say “positive parenting” is the best style for raising confident, successful children


There is no shortage of parenting styles these days. But after working with thousands of families for over 20 years, I’ve found that positive parenting is one of the most effective – and my personal favorite.

Unlike authoritarian parenting, which has high expectations of children with low responsiveness, or indifferent parenting, where there is little care or guidance, positive parenting is an empathic approach that involves techniques like encouragement and problem-solving – instead of yelling, Hostility, shame or use rewards.

In fact, studies have shown that when parents keep yelling or nagging, they usually feel frustrated, angry, and then guilty. In turn, the children may be frustrated, angry, and continue to misbehave.

Very little changes in the end and the cycle is likely to repeat itself.

What is positive parenting?

Parents who practice positive parenting do not use harsh punishments to correct problematic behavior. Instead, they proactively meet their children’s emotional needs through positive interactions that can prevent many bad behaviors in the first place.

According to Caley Arzamarski, a positive parenting advocate and psychologist who specializes in child therapy, positive parenting essentially encourages parents to “catch children who are good” and give more positive feedback instead of always focusing on bad behavior .

Some parents fear that positive parenting is too fluffy, arguing that children will not learn to interpret and respond to negative emotions unless parents help them identify what may not be good for them later in life.

However, psychologists have found that positive parenting can boost children’s confidence and give them the tools they need to make good decisions. It also boosts their self-esteem, creativity, belief in the future, and their ability to get along with others.

As parents, we will make mistakes and lose our nerve. This is an ideal opportunity to apologize to our kids and model how we can recover if we screw it up.

Here are five ways to practice positive parenting:

1. Spend time together

Spending regular time with your children and demonstrating good behavior is by far the best thing you can do to help them develop self-confidence and healthy relationships.

Children are hardwired to need positive attention and emotional connection. If they don’t get it, they seek it in a negative way and parents face power struggles, whining, and breakdowns.

It only takes 10 to 15 minutes of individual time per day to see improvement. Enjoying moments of connection will also help you build a deeper and more meaningful relationship.

2. Set when-then rules

Setting clear expectations is a core aspect of positive parenting. I recommend using the “if-then” method to encourage better behavior during the toughest times of your child’s day.

Explain to your child that the happier things can happen when the gross part of a dreaded task is done. For example, they can use their iPad or play outside after their morning routine – brushing teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast – if there is enough time before the bus arrives.

Stick to this exercise and your children will quickly learn to move through the routine on their own. No nagging required.

3. Say no to rewards

Studies have shown that children who are rewarded often are likely to lose interest in the activity for which they are rewarded, whether it be practicing music or playing with a sibling. They care more about the rewards, which means you may need to keep the rewards in order to maintain the same quality of behavior.

With encouragement, you can get the most out of your children. But avoid sentences that suggest your character or personality, such as “You are the best player on the team!” or “You are so smart!”

Instead, encourage the specific action. For example, if your child is caring for someone who appears to be sad, point out what they did right: “It was very nice of you to ask if your friend is okay.” Emphasize how much the other person appreciated your kind gesture.

4. Say yes to appropriate consequences

When a child begins to behave, forcing natural consequences can turn bad decisions into opportunities to learn.

Just make sure that:

  • The child is actually capable of the expected behavior
  • The consequence is fair and respectful
  • You introduce the consequences beforehand so that the child has the power to make the choice (this makes it feel less like a punishment)

For example, if your child refuses to put on rain boots on a rainy morning, explain the natural consequence: the socks get soaked and their feet feel uncomfortably wet.

So your child can decide for themselves whether they should wear boots or not – and learn for themselves what the right decision is.

5. Focus on what you can control

You can’t always control your child’s behavior, but you can control your reactions. This mindset can help children take on responsibilities that they would otherwise nagged about, such as tidying up their lunch box.

For example, you can say, “I’ll be happy to pack your school lunch as long as your lunch box is empty and cleaned.” Then help them find ways to remember their responsibilities and obey them – perhaps with visual cues like a sticky note or a spot in the kitchen dedicated to their lunch box.

And if your child has to put their own lunch together, this is a wonderful learning opportunity.

Positive parenting is about cultivating respectful relationships based on clear expectations. When children feel a strong connection with their parents, they are more likely to behave appropriately and become resilient, confident, caring, and responsible adults.

Amy McCready is a parenting expert, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, and author of two bestselling books, “If I Have to Tell You One More Time: The Revolutionary Program That Get Your Kids to Get Your Kids to Get Your Kids to Noaning, Reminding or Shouting “and” The Me, Me, Me Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Children in an Over-Authorized World. “

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