Positive parenting solutions is about applying positive techniques to improve issues which can cause arguments, frustration and tension within the family.
Applying these techniques will bring you a healthier, happier and more productive home environment, so you child will thrive and grow up to be the strongest, most self-reliant person he or she can be.
And you can really learn to nurture harmony in the home as well as create more of the wanted behaviour and less of the unwanted behaviour.
The Source of Unwanted Behaviour
The actual cause of the issues which positive parenting solutions can solve isn’t always immediately apparent, especially to you, the parent. It’s usually insipid, meaning that it’s grown in from all directions, gradually being compounded until it becomes the normal and expected behaviour within the household.
Parents become part of a chicken-and-egg situation, where they’re compounding the problems and creating more and more of the unwanted behaviour, yet often unaware that they’re even contributing to the scenario.
I read a post on facebook by a parent just yesterday, venting her frustration about her child.
‘…He’s got so much bad attitude…that’s no xbox or tablet for a whole week…. And this time I’m not going to give in no matter what his cute little face does…’
Why is it that after a big screaming match, he’s sleeping soundly and I’m sitting outside feeling like the worst mum? grrrrrr.’
This post shows that…
- This isn’t new behaviour.
- In the past the parent has made threats and then not kept them.
- The child isn’t responding positively – i.e. he isn’t offering the wanted behaviour.
- The parent is engaging in shouting matches and the child is learning to do the same.
- The parent clearly would like to know a different way – but can only see one path: the one they are on. So they keep repeating a strategy which has failed them over and over again.
To get a different result you have to alter your way of thinking, which will affect your actions, which will change your results.
A while back, another mum said to me:
‘You have to punish children. I mean look at my son, I punish him and I ground him, but he does nothing round the house and he still refuses to make his bed no matter what I do. Without punishment it would be terrible…’
She didn’t realise the contradiction in her own words.
One thing is blatantly clear: the tactics aren’t working. Repeating the same behaviour over and over again isn’t going to bring different results.
10 Keys to Positive Parenting Solutions for Changing Unwanted Behaviour and Getting Positive Results
Applying positive parenting solutions means being kind but firm and above all, consistent. You are the leader. So, the key components of Positive Parenting Solutions are:
#1 Appreciate and Encourage your child
Your child is a perfect little soul with perfect ingredients for his or her success. Make sure you always boost and encourage that. Don’t criticise your child’s mistakes or what you see as his failings, instead encourage him to do better by being positive about his successes. Build and focus on everything you’ve got, not what you haven’t got! And don’t expect your child to be the same as you are (or were). He’s different because he’s unique.
If your son or daughter isn’t very good at something, no problem. Just be sure to reward and respect everything that your child brings to this earth.
#2 Respect your child
Just because he’s younger than you, doesn’t mean he’s less important. Show him respect even in an argument. If you disrespect your child, why shouldn’t he do the same? You’re teaching him to repeat your behaviour and continue the same cycle in his own life.
Lack of respect is one of the top situations that leads to unwanted behaviour because children are learning how to behave by emulating the behaviour they see around them.
Insulting, belittling, shouting, swearing, threatening or any other model of disrespect come under a big title of NO.
#3 Never shout at your kids
Shouting has no place in the home. If you shout at each other as adults, don’t do it in front of the kids or better still, just QUIT. Make an agreement that shouting is out-ruled. And never shout at the kids.
Shouting at kids has absolutely zero positive influence on them and a myriad of negatives.
If you’re in the custom of shouting, you’ll have to spend quite a lot of energy on changing your habits, but it’ll be worth it. Ask yourself, what does shouting really achieve and you’ll find that the answer is, nothing.
#4 BE CAREFUL WITH threats
Threats, generally speaking, are negative and they’re even worse if the threat is to do with something far removed from the unwanted behaviour.
In some occasions a threat can be a learning tool, but that’s only when the threat highlights the consequence of the behaviour. For example, you’re playing a family game and the children are continually arguing. It would be reasonable to say that you’ll have to stop playing the game if their behaviour continues because the game is no longer any fun.
A threat should never be used in anger and the threatened action should always be directly related to the consequence of the unwanted behaviour.
A negative type of unrelated threat is: ‘If you don’t come down those stairs right now, you can forget going to the party next weekend!’
The party has nothing to do with coming down the stairs, it’s just being used as a power technique to make the child obey you, which doesn’t produce true comprehension of why he should change his behaviour for his own sake.
Instead, this teaches the child to push their weight about and use power to get the results you want in life. Even worse is to make a threat and then not keep to it, because apart from all the negative psychology, this will also undermine your consistency and authenticity as leader.
Give an explanation for your request even if it’s just ‘…because mummy asked you to’. Talk to your child and be firm. Remove the habit of making threats and instead point out the consequences. See below for more on that one.
#5 Teach your child about consequences
Pointing out a consequence isn’t the same as making a threat and can help your child to grow up into a responsible adult.
Be careful to keep it as a conversation by being aware of your tone of voice and your body language.
Every time you have these discussions, you’re teaching your child how to manage their own communication skills in the future. So think carefully before you react rashly.
#6 Don’t Bribe
Your kid is refusing to do his homework. ‘If you finish your homework, I’ll buy you an ice-cream.’ This is also psychologically misguiding for your child. A bribe means that the activity in itself is not being valued.
You’re offering false value in the bribe. You can always reward good behaviour (buy him an ice-cream when he finishes his homework…) but you shouldn’t make the ice-cream the point of the activity.
Any activity that you require your child to do, from doing homework to eating a meal, should be worthy in its own right. Instead of offering a bribe, explain to your child why the activity is worthy.
Doing homework, for example is something your child may not actually want to do at this moment but it’s there for his or her own good and it’s a non-negotiable activity in the house. The quicker he/she does it, the quicker he can play outside.
Be firm but be kind. Offer to help – but don’t sit down and do the homework for your child. Getting your child to do his homework will carry through to his future and how he responds to responsibility. No shouting, just a rule.
Be sure to be very positive about your child’s efforts when they’ve finished their homework. You can reward his behaviour with a special game together or some other treat, as long as it isn’t offered in advance as a bribe.
#7 talk to your child as an intelligent being
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because your child is small he or she won’t understand. Talk to your child with intelligent conversation and allow them to grow at their own pace.
Conversely, don’t make the opposite mistake of giving a young child the burden of responsibility of an important decision, and make sure that your child doesn’t feel like he/she’s holding the family together.
Many children feel that they are looking after a parent and the burden of guilt which that causes should not be on your child’s shoulders. So ask yourself, do you burden your child with too much responsibility?
#8 Teach your child to appreciate things around him
Show your child the wonder of the world. How incredible is it that a seed becomes a tree? When you see animals, teach your child to respect them.
Appreciate it if your child picks you a few scraps of grass and proudly presents it to you as a gift. Smile and say it’s beautiful because it is – it came from the heart.
Always give your child positive feedback and guidance so that he or she feels safe on board your ship. So he can feel trust. The more trust you build the more your child will want to behave positively.
#9 Teach empathy
Give your child the opportunity to help care for his younger brother or sister or pet. Let him play a part in caring for others and encourage him to feel for the people around him.
If other children are unfriendly, teach your child to be an independent thinker – that what others say doesn’t mean it’s true or right. That sometimes people are mean because they’re unhappy and it’s important not to copy mean behaviour.
Encourage empathy over hatred or anger.
#10 set rules, Be firm and be consistent
Parents end up arguing with their children, which isn’t productive. YOU are the adult. It is YOUR household. The child wants to be guided under your watchful eye but it’s in his nature to test the boundaries, that’s just being a child.
Choose the rules and boundaries to suit your own lifestyle but be consistent and keep to them. It’s better to have less rules and apply them 100% than to erratically have loads of rules that you sometimes keep and sometimes break.
Keep the word NO for few situations and allow lots of freedom but on the occasion when you say no, mean it. Your child will respect it more if it isn’t over-used.
By setting ground-rules and keeping to them you give a sense of security and the child knows what he has to do in order to keep everything smooth.
It isn’t natural to shout at each other. It isn’t necessary. Be the leader and set the way clearly so that your child can understand which path to follow. And always bear in mind the key numbers 1-9 above.
How to Change Your Habits and Adopt Positive Parenting Solutions
First off think about your situation. What are the areas that could be improved? Is it in doing homework? Eating meals? Or general communication in the house?
Remember that everything you do or say, every choice you make; you’re forming their future.
It isn’t necessarily just about whether you find something acceptable, you should also think whether your child will benefit from his or her behavioural pattern now or in the future.
You want the best for your child. So don’t think of it as an accusation against your child. Instead think of it as a mission to help you and your child to have a better life and to help you to analyse, recognise and improve your own behaviour.
Show by example
Be the best role modal you can so that your child can learn to strive for that role model life for their own future. And by that I don’t mean pretend to be a perfect person. Quite the opposite, be honest with your child; you’re human. Never pretend to be perfect.
Now, we’re not talking money here. This has nothing to do with money but teaching your child to have morals and judgement and to be wise and forgiving, and empathetic and strong.
How? Well that’s what Positive Parenting Solutions is all about. How to help you to show your child, his or her best path for the future.
We will all make mistakes. There’s no parent who didn’t do something which he could have done better. That’s not the problem and it’s to a greater or lesser degree inevitable.
So first off, be positive about your own parenting and look to always make it better. Build on the GOOD STUFF. Not on the lacking or needing or bad stuff.
Punishment doesn’t work
The thing is, people think that by punishing a child they will stop the unwanted behaviour – but punishment doesn’t work in your child’s best interests. The child is miserable yes, but he or she doesn’t sit and think ‘Oh, I’ll never do that again because I don’t like this punishment.’
He may temporarily stop the unwanted behaviour out of fear for the punishment, but that’s not productive and doesn’t produce independent thinking.
Understanding the unwanted consequence of their behaviour can be a driving force, harmony gives motivation.
Balance firmness with positive appreciation for wanted behaviour. If you never reward the good behaviour (just a smile is enough), you won’t be encouraging more of it.
The word NO
The word no should mean no. Use it sparingly and only say no when you mean it. Don’t say no and then say oh ok, because your child will very quickly learn to not take you seriously and will ignore you because that’s what you’re teaching him.
A common scene in a supermarket is when a child wants some sweets and the parent says no, the child then throws a tantrum, crying and screaming and the mother then hands over the sweets. This kind of situation teaches the child that by crying loud enough he will get what he wants. Instead, say no and stick to it. Always. Be consistent.
Food is a great gift. Be grateful and appreciative of food. Encourage your child to enjoy his food and you’ll find his attitude changing. Food is delicious. Sometimes a child might make a big fuss over the meal time but this is usually learned behaviour that can be changed. The best way to approach this is to show your own appreciation for what you eat.
Say yum as you eat, thank the person who cooked, show that food is a pleasure. Request that your child say thank you to the cook. Do it all with smiles.
I would always encourage a child to try a new food (within the diet of choice) but if your child has tried peas for example and doesn’t like them, don’t make a big thing of it, just let him not eat peas. Why should he have to like everything?
A child shouldn’t sit there staring his food with a disgusted expression on his face – food is a luxury to be appreciated. If a child really won’t eat his food, take the plate away and wait until the next meal.
Don’t do it with anger or as a punishment. Just say, ‘Okay if you really aren’t hungry… ‘ After that, don’t give him dessert or you’ll be teaching him that he can make a fuss over the meal and skip straight to dessert.
Your objective is to have a child who appreciates his food and eats a balanced diet. He can dislike some specific foods, why not? We all have our preferences and so will he. If he’s not hungry enough to eat any of the main course, why would he eat a dessert? Do this without anger. Be calm. This is not a punishment.
Next time, start again, ‘Yum, look at this lovely meal we have. Mmmm delicious!’ Teach by example and you’ll soon find your child tucking into his food with great pleasure.
Inspire your child to care
Encourage your child to look after his things. Give him a box for his toys and at the end of the day put the toys away in the box together. Make it a pleasant ritual.
Teach your child to love books by reading to him and encourage him to start reading on his own once he’s learnt how to read. Give him a special book to inspire him.
Encourage your child to be creative: painting, drawing, colouring, they all help creativity and remember to praise your child’s picture no matter what it looks like.
Tell your child can be anything he wants in life if he puts his mind and his heart to it. Teach him to believe in himself and have confidence in his own abilities. Too many people teach limitations instead of boundless possibilities.
Remember that your child is absorbing how YOU behave.
If your child says something inappropriate explain to him that that’s not a very nice thing to say and that he wouldn’t like it to be spoken to like that, so he shouldn’t speak to others like that. If you treat your child with respect right from the start, he will want to please you and your words will carry a lot of weight with him.
There’s no need for arguments in the home. Break the cycle and refuse to argue or shout. Be the example you want your child to be.