By Caitlin Winkler, PLPC
Becoming a more positive parent does not mean always looking on the bright side and sugar-coating life with your child. It doesn't have to be silly, corny, or uncomfortable. It also does not mean never telling your child "no." Again, there is a time and place for using these words and phrases. This style focuses your attention on the positive actions, behaviors, and thoughts your child exhibits more than the negative. It involves making positively-worded statements toward your child significantly more often than negatively worded statements. Using these toward your child encourages them to continue a wanted behavior and still maintains your authority.
To break it down, positive parenting involves using positive praises and positive directives. Positive praises are used at any time. They are meant to reinforce wanted behaviors and words. Positive directives (or called positive opposites) teach your child what actions you are wanting them to have.
Continuing the list from the previous post, here are six more ideas of how you can be a more positive parent to your son or daughter.
6. Be aware of positive opposites. Positive opposites teach your child what TO DO instead of limiting the message about what not to do. Instead of saying "Don't hit or kick other kids" the positive opposite would be "Keep your hands and feet to yourself." Another example would be, "Quit whining and fussing" turns into "Use your words."
7. Keep statements clear and concise. If you are giving a positively worded directive to your child, be clear about what is expected while keeping your directions from turning into a lecture.
8. Stick with it and be flexible. If this is new in your household, it may take some time for everyone to adjust. Keep working with your child and you will see them change as well as your relationship. And be flexible. Some kids are motivated by a simple "Great job cleaning your room today" while others need high-fives, positive praises, and other reinforcements. Think of what motivates your kid and use that.
9. When providing positive directives, keep your voice firm and calm. Communicate to your child you mean business while also being in control of your own words and actions. Lashing out in anger completely erases the positive message. Children learn by example, and it starts with the adults in his or her world.
10. Becoming a more positive parent seems to be geared toward younger children, however, this style can be used with older kids as well. Adjust as you see fit, but the basic ideas are the same!
11. Seek advice and help from friends, family, and professionals. No one is perfect and has this whole parenting thing figured out. It is a challenge! Reach out to people when you need some encouragement, tips, and help.
Caitlin Winkler is a Provisionally Licensed Professional Counselor at Unlimited Potential Counseling & Education Center in O’Fallon. Caitlin is under the clinical supervision of Emily Kircher-Morris, LPC (MO #2012026754).