Your 8-year old didn’t put away his toys, again. Your 4-year old has a meltdown every night about brushing his teeth.

And you know what? You are not alone!

All parents find themselves facing challenges on an almost daily basis. Which are exactly what these positive parenting techniques are made for.

Think of them as a guiding light that can help lead you out of parenting darkness.

Positive parenting is a method that can work for any family, regardless of family size, background, culture, or the age of your children.

The only requirement for using positive parenting techniques successfully is a committed parent!

And despite what you might have heard, positive parenting is not “permissive” parenting. Not at all. 

Positive parenting encourages parents to be both kind AND firm.

The techniques involve connecting with your child, understanding the cause of a behavior, encouraging positive actions, and turning mistakes into teaching opportunities.

 

“Appreciate your child as a human just like you. You’re not better than them just because you are their parent. We are all in this together, and you are there to teach them just as much as they are meant to teach you.”

– Lauren Magers, @thelaurenmagers

 

A principle assumption of positive parenting is that a misbehaving child is NOT a bad child; a misbehaving child is simply discouraged.

In that particular moment, a child’s need for attention, belonging, or significance are not being met.

We share 4 techniques you can start using today that will help you meet your child’s emotional needs in a positive way. This positive influence empowers kids to make better choices.

 

positive parenting techniques
DepositPhotos

 

4 Impactful Positive Parenting Techniques

 

1. Communicate Expectations

Positive parenting is a parenting approach built on mutual respect. Open communication is the cornerstone of this style of parenting.  

As adults we like knowing what will happen during our day, children are no different.

It helps them plan, predict, and process the world around them. It also greatly reduces temper tantrums.

Be open and communicative with your kids. Let them know what to expect. 

“We are going to the store because we need to buy apples. You’re such a great helper; can you help me pick some out?”

When giving instructions or behavior guidelines, set your children up for success. It’s important they understand exactly what actions are expected of them. Vague talk won’t cut it. 

“I need you to pick up your clothes and put them in the hamper,” as opposed to “clean up.”

“When you talk to me I expect you to use your normal voice,” as opposed to “stop screaming!”

Keep in mind it’s hard for kids to read between the lines. Which is why we need to make instructions clear and simple. 

We also need to serve as positive role models for the behaviors we want to develop.

 

Here are some Simple Positive Parenting Techniques to help communicate expectations effectively:

  • Talk to your child like an individual.
  • Get down on your child’s level and make eye contact. 
  • Use age-appropriate language.
  • Make instructions clear and simple.
  • Ensure understanding by having your child repeat back what you’ve said.
  • Be positive – focus on what they SHOULD do rather than on what they SHOULDN’T.

 

2. Practice VES 

VES stands for “Validate, Empathize and Sympathize” – it’s one of those positive parenting techniques that can be a total game changer. 

Oftentimes when kids “act out” or demonstrate what might be labeled as “bad behavior”, it’s because they’re dealing with some intense feelings. A child’s frustration will only grow if those feelings are not acknowledged.

That’s where “VES” comes in. “I can see that made you mad, I understand. It’s frustrating when your little brother takes your toys away.”

Help children see that their feelings are important and okay. They can work through feelings and learn from them.

This is also a great opportunity to teach kids that what they DO with their feelings matters. For example, feeling angry doesn’t make it okay to hit or avoid chores.

When feelings are validated and kids have the opportunity to calm down, they are usually open to appropriate actions. This is how kids learn to work through emotions – by your validation, empathy and sympathy.

This type of emotional intelligence is a powerful lesson your children will carry into adulthood.

 

3. Understand The Root Cause

If there’s one thing positive parenting experts agree on it’s this – there is always something motivating a child’s negative behavior.

The thing to remember is that a behavior is just a symptom. Our challenge is to figure out what lies beneath the frustrating behavior.

It would be a heck of a lot easier if your child could simply say, “Mommy, I’m really tired and need a nap and that’s why I’m dragging my feet and whining.” 

But that’s not real life.

Instead, children will push our buttons to get our attention, even if they need to resort to disruptive behavior in order to get it. 

This is when you’ve got to put on your detective hat and ask yourself some questions. “What is my child trying to tell me with this behavior? What is it they are trying to accomplish?”

 

A lot of what we see as a child “acting out” is actually a child feeling tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, or in need of attention. These are the four horsemen of bad behavior. 

 

Once you can identify the root cause, you can switch over to a more proactive role to help prevent meltdowns from happening in the first place.

Positive parenting example: if your child acts up every day right when they get home from school, they may be telling you they’ve got excess energy to burn. It’s tough for some kids to sit still and be cooped up in a classroom all day.

Knowing this, you might stop at a park to let them run around a bit before settling in at home. In this way you proactively prevent the bad behavior from happening.

Or maybe your child acts up to get your attention every time you start cooking dinner. In this scenario, you could plan for 15 minutes of one-on-one time with your kids before you head to the kitchen.

Chances are if their attention buckets are full, they’ll be better behaved while you prepare a meal.

 

4. Discipline, Don’t Punish

Finally, one of the biggest differentiators between positive parenting techniques and other parenting methods is the focus on discipline over punishment.

Discipline means “to train by instruction and exercise”, while punishment means “to inflict a penalty”. Positive parenting practices focus on encouragement and problem-solving, not punitive measures.

Besides, research has proven again and again that physical punishments, like spanking, don’t work to change behavior. In fact, it’s been shown that corporal punishment actually causes an increase in negative behaviors.

By teaching children appropriate ways to behave without using blame, shame, or pain as forms of punishment, we’re empowering them to become competent young adults.

When considering a response to an offense, think long-term.

What is the lesson your child can take from this? How can you help them understand the consequences of their behavior?

When mistakes are discussed openly, in a shame-free way, they become learning opportunities. You shift the focus away from negative behaviors and on to the positive ways your child can do better next time.

 

Learn more positive discipline tools to help guide children towards making better choices.

 

Want to know the best thing about these positive parenting techniques? They don’t rely on any external factors to be successful.

All it takes is a parent willing to meet the emotional needs of their child.

One of the greatest differences between positive parenting and most other parenting methods is that positive parenting is PROACTIVE. 

You can use these strategic parenting tools in advance to encourage better choices, rather than reacting to misbehavior after the fact.

 

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