Positive parenting is pretty much a buzzword these days. “Understand your child”, “stay positive”, “don’t punish your children”, “be warm and supportive”, and so on. Whenever you search for positive parenting solutions and guides, you will come across these and similar positive tips.
But, that’s easier said than done. I don’t think that any parent wants to be negative. No one likes to yell at children or punish them. But our little angels can get pretty devilish at times. Trying to smile and show compassion when your toddler throws a plate full of food or tries to stick a finger in a power outlet. Doesn’t seem to be a solution, does it?
When we talk about positive parenting solutions, it is not just “what”, but also “how” to apply appropriate techniques to deal with tantrums, mischiefs, and other issues. In theory, it is easy to be “positive and supportive”, but real-life situations can challenge even the most patient parents.
Today, I will share some of the positive parenting solutions, tips and techniques to stop misbehavior without anger and punishment. That said, I don’t have a magic wand. Moreover, changes won’t happen overnight. But, the sooner you start the sooner you’ll get the results that will benefit your child as well as you.
Positive Parenting Solutions, Strategies and Tips
The theory goes like this: be firm, but supportive; encourage and comfort, instead of blaming and punishing your child. Let’s see how to make it work.
1. Show Your Kids Love and Attention
Okay, I have just invented the wheel! But I have a reason for it. At the core of each and every parenting issue lies misunderstanding. Children aren’t very good at expressing their needs. Throwing tantrums, whining, and mischiefs are often nothing more than calls for your attention. So, before you consider discipline and setting limits, you need to provide affection and attention for your little ones.
A bored child is more likely to misbehave, so provide engaging activities and games for your kid. Physical contact is often underrated. For a child, it is much more than just a touch. Hugs and cuddles will help your child to feel secure and loved. It also strengthens the bond between parents and children.
2. Set Daily Routines
Even though they don’t know it, children love structure and routines. When you follow routines for activities such as meals, walks, playtime, time to sleep, and so on, you provide a stable and predictable environment for children. The result is a child that falls asleep easier, sleep better, and cooperate with you better.
And don’t worry, it won’t get boring. Children are geniuses in figuring out new ways to entertain themselves. Of course, you can help out with new coloring books, games, toys or new walking routes.
3. Have Realistic Expectations
Whatever you do, there will be times when your child misbehaves and tests your limits. It is important to adjust your expectations to a child’s age and react accordingly. Remember, you are not training a soldier, you are raising a child. So, you can’t expect your kid to always follow already established rules.
Actually, occasional rebellions and testing the limits can be signs of strong will and exceptional intelligence! Therefore, be patient and stick to your methods.
4. Set Limits
This is probably the most challenging part of positive parenting solutions. However, it is absolutely necessary. All tips from above are a sort of preparation to set limits properly. You have to be firm, that’s a no brainer, but why would you be kind at the same time?
Strict Parenting and Flip-Flop Shortcomings
If you are always very firm, tight, and rigid, your child will obey you eventually. Research shows that these kids are more often shy, timid, and have lower self-esteem.
In my eyes, it’s a sort of “break it or make it” strategy. On the good side, these kids know what to expect from their parents and what they are expected to do. Also, there’s a structure and system in their lives.
“Flip-flopping” behavior is another very common approach. Not intentionally, though. “Flip-flop” parents show affection and usually overindulge their little ones. Once things become unbearable, they switch to firm mode: “Enough is enough! Now, you’ll have to obey or you’ll be punished”.
It can go the other way around too. After yelling at kids, we feel remorse and allow them something that is normally out of their reach. Obviously, these children will get a lot of love, but misbehavior will only get worse. Moreover, switching modes causes confusion and frustration.
5. Demanding and Responsive Approach
Setting limits is a must and the most effective way is to be demanding and responsive. What does that actually mean and does it interfere with your positive parenting solutions? It means that you should be assertive and show your child that you’re in control. At the same time, you need to show your kid compassion and understanding. For example, your child likes to push things off of the table. What should you do?
“I understand you like to push things, but it’s not okay. I’ll help you find a toy to play with.” You showed compassion, understanding, and offered help to play with proper items.
“These are not toys, so you can’t play here. It is okay to be upset.” You are setting limits but you are allowing feelings of disappointment.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that this will work right away. You will need a lot of energy and patience. But, children learn almost surprisingly quickly when they face consistent and repetitive reactions. Even if they shed a tear or two, you must keep your composure.
Just continue to be supportive and compassionate, but stick to your rules. Your kid will get it sooner than you think.
6. Be Supportive
Yes, this sounds like a cliche, but I mean it. Being supportive includes avoiding negative reactions. If you show anger and frustration you’re setting a wrong example. Remember, kids are like mirrors, they learn from you even when you’re not trying to teach them. When children are often exposed to the negativity they learn to tune out.
So, tell your child what’s right or wrong, but do it in a compassionate and calm way. Use short sentences that your kid can fully understand. Even when children misbehave you should understand them and try to redirect them to engage in allowed activities.
7. Offer Guidance Instead of Corrections
It is very common for parents to correct bad behavior in a hurry. While we need to set limits and establish some level of discipline, hasty corrections can intensify problems instead of solving them.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t correct children, but we should take it easy. Trying to understand their feelings that trigger misbehaving is more important. The guidance is the key. You should guide your child, providing safety and comfort and use corrections only when it’s really necessary.
8. Avoid Threats and Bribes
Can threats and bribes work? Short-term they work great. Threats will work for a while because your child wants to be loved, not punished. But threats also undermine your bond with a child and frustrate your little one. Bribes will distract your kid from misbehavior, but children will progressively ask for more.
Overall, threats and bribes will cause confusion, frustration and combative behavior. Instead, you have to show patience and find ways for effective communication with your little one.
9. Be Consistent
This is probably the most important tip that permeates all positive parenting techniques and strategies. Children can learn pretty quickly when their life is structured. When parents show consistent reactions, a child can predict consequences. Inconsistent behavior becomes overwhelming for children. Instead of focusing on whatever they like, their little brains struggle to figure out changes in moods and rules imposed by parents.
It can be challenging to stay on course all the time, but it’s essential. If you’re inconsistent you will often face “one step forward, two steps back” situations.
As I have already said, there’s no magic wand or magic strategy to solve the challenges of parenting in a blink of an eye. Each child has its own personality and its own developmental pace. Sometimes things will go smoothly and easy but sometimes they will test your limits.
Anyway, positive parenting strategies are more beneficial and give better results even when it comes to boundaries and discipline.
So, don’t waver if you don’t see enough progress immediately. Patience and love, communication and support, demands accompanied with understanding, will work best for both your child and you.