Positive Parenting and Discipline

When expecting a child, we hope to become great parents. However, becoming a parent does not come with a user’s manual, which can cause feelings of uncertainty. Questions such as “Am I doing this right?”, “Am I being too strict?” or “Am I meeting their needs?” often arise. Applying a positive parenting style can be favourable to alleviate these doubts and encourage healthy parent-child relationships.
Positive parenting consists of “caring,teaching, leading, communicating, and providing for the needs of a child consistently and unconditionally” (Seay et al., 2014). This parenting style promotes emotional growth, mutual respect and future success. It also suggests using discipline in a way that promotes your child’s sense of self. Often, when we hear the term discipline we think of punishment, authority and negativity. Rather, we should be replacing the term discipline with teaching. Children look up to their parents and typically see them as leaders, positive role models, and teachers. As such, we must model expected behaviour and offer them the opportunity to learn what’s acceptable and what’s not. Positive discipline involves clear rules, expectations, and consequences for behaviour. Parents must stay consistent and follow-through. When misbehaviour occurs, it becomes important to remind them of our expectations and the possible consequences, all while being warm and nurturing.
The following are few ways to implement positive parenting into your lifestyle: 

1. Focus on the reasons behind the behaviours

Most children do not tend to misbehave on purpose. Take the time to ask your child why they choose such actions. Though their reason may sound foolish, it may be reasonable to the child and their development level. By actively listening to your child, you can determine the reason behind their behaviour and prevent them from happening again. 

2. Be kind and firm

As mentioned, our children lookup to us. Model to them how to be kind and respectful to others. When we act out, our children learn to do the same when they’re frustrated or not heard. When we model composure and respect when struggling, we can help our children learn to stay calm, reason and cooperate. All while being kind, it’s important to remain firm when setting limits, boundaries and enforcing consequences. This way, your child will know what to expect and make clear decisions. “You do not need to be mean to mean business.”

3. Take a time-out

As parents, we also need time to think and regulate our emotions and behaviours. It’s expected to become impatient and exhausted when dealing with our children’s misbehaviour. However, if we model to them that when we get upset we yell and stomp, this is the behaviour they are learning to use when they’re expressing similar feelings. It’s okay to tell them that you need a moment (a time-out) to gather your thoughts and let them know that you’ll be back when you’ve calmed down. This will avoid conflict and lack of respect toward one another.

4. Be patient and don’t lose hope.

Changes won’t happen overnight when starting to apply positive parenting into your lifestyle. We’re trying to teach our children acceptable behaviour that’ll be used throughout their lives. Children require plenty of repetition to learn therefore you may need to do a lot of explaining at the beginning. It will be rewarding in the end (Parenting for brain, 2023).