How to Practice Positive Parenting in 5 steps There is no greater success that we want for our children than their happiness. Of course we may have visions for our children, but if we slow down, reflect on our life and what we want, every single person just wants to be happy. One of the greatest ways that has increased the happiness in my life is by increasing the positive- the things that make me smile and fill my spirit, and decrease the negative- the things that cause stress, anxiety, and insecurity. If we are able to cultivate and foster these habits in our children at a young age, their happiness index will increase too!
5 Ways to Practice Positive Parenting
- What you appreciate, appreciates. Since our daughter could speak about five words, and after bath and jammies and storytime, we would turn off the light and say what we were grateful for. That list started as mommy, daddy, and doggy and has transformed into friends from school, family members, her favorite activity from the day, her favorite toy, and even her food and water. Teaching a practice of gratitude not only helps them focus on the positive, but will also renew your spirit as well.
- Shame is lame. There’s really no nice way to say it. I know our kids can be frustrating. And I know that sometimes we just want to rub it in their face when they made the same mistake for the One Trillionth time. But seriously, shame is lame. Just think about it… how well do you learn when someone puts you down whether you knew better or it was an innocent accident. All shame does is make the person feel bad, question their character, and create a tailspin of negative feelings, often so bad there is no room to reflect on their behavior. Ditch the shame and openly express how the behavior made you feel and delegate an appropriate punishment.
- Ignore the bad, praise the good. As human beings we all want attention and we will take it where we can get it. A great business philosopher named Jim Rohn said that people will work harder for recognition than they will for pay. So acknowledge your children. Make a big stinkin to do when they put away their toys (even if it’s something they are supposed to do), give them extra kudos for being polite and generous, and give them special quality attention. And then try to ignore, or don’t give rise to the bad.
- Validate emotions. Every time your kid is acting in a way you may not love, it is simply in response to an emotion. And a valid one. Toddler life is frustrating and kids stuff is hard. Help them identify that emotion, let them know that it is ok to feel that way. Then help them learn that while feeling an emotion (ie, angry because your little sister keeps stealing your legos) is ok, reacting in a certain way (ie. hitting your little sister) is not ok.
- Admit when you were wrong. Parents are people too. And even those of us that practice this regularly, lose our cool once in awhile. When you do, slow down, take a breath, and when the heat has calmed, go back and apologize. Practice step 4 in reverse. “I am sorry that I yelled at you. I was feeling very frustrated with your behavior, but it’s not ok for mommy to snap at you because I love you and that’s not how I want to treat those I love.” Modeling this behavior, not only helps your children do the same, but it also helps to build trust.