By Carol Surya, author, psychologist, game developer and workshop facilitator. Her practical parenting book, ParentMagic – Raising Kids stems from experience gained over the last 20 years working with children and their parents worldwide.
Is positive parenting simply about being ‘positive’ towards our kids? Is it about talking positively instead of negatively, or disciplining without loosing your cool?
Psychologists know that a close parent-child relationship motivates our kids to behave from a place of care and love (not from fear).Actually positive parenting is about focusing on what’s right with your children and intentionally strengthening the relationship you have with them.
In this approach we learn to set out clear expectations and consequences and get them to co-operate willingly. Talking and responding in ways that encourage and reinforce good behaviour really works. Managing your kids in this win-win way actually teaches responsibility and builds self-esteem, while avoiding punishment.
Here are 12 simple parenting tips that with a bit of practise can help build a positive parenting style.
- go down to their eye-level – this wins their instant attention
- acknowledge their feelings and wishes – without always trying to ‘fix’
- be clear and enthusiastic – especially in your instructions
- turn daily challenges into a game – when things seem fun everything changes
- watch your tone of voice – shouting often backfires
- be patient – give them time to respond positively
- offer choices – this helps kids feel important
- notice and encourage them with words
- make it easy to co-operate – speak as if they’re already listening
- let them decide – and face the consequences
- say “please” and “thank you” – when kids feel respected co-operation comes naturally
- admit your mistakes – they’re very forgiving when we’re humble
Remember sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference for them – a look, a genuine smile, a hug when you notice he’s a bit down, a moment of heartfelt listening. Above all, Carol encourages parents to be patient with themselves and have fun in this process, because when you’re happy, your children are happy.
Click here to read a review of the self esteem game Carol Surya designed called Inner Magic