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Using Positive Parenting to Combat Behavioral Issues

January 27, 2017
Using Positive Parenting to Combat Behavioral Issues

Your child comes home from school in a mood (again) and everything you say or do seems to set her off on a tirade. There could be underlying issues. But most likely she is just going through a phase. I’ve authored a book on positive parenting and use the technique in parenting my own kids. In my experience, positive parenting helps combat behavioral issues more effectively than negative discipline techniques, such as spanking or yelling. In some instances, kids may need professional help. However, these tips are geared toward children with common behavior-related issues. If your child is having extreme behavioral symptoms or has been diagnosed with a mental or behavioral condition, it is best to consult a professional.

What is positive parenting?

Positive parenting is a method that involves a strong relationship between the parent and child. This involves active, constant, and consistent communication and teamwork. Because this style of parenting often does not use punitive discipline, it requires a great deal of patience and creativity on the parent’s part. The goal of positive parenting should be to teach children how to solve problems through compromise and kindness rather than through anger and hurt.

How can positive parenting combat misbehavior?

Many times when children have behavioral issues, it is related to lack of understanding or attention. Consistently using positive parenting methods can help parents to be more in tune with their kids. This helps avoid issues where no one understands each other. It also can create a strong bond, which helps fight frustration from lack of attention.

1.Your kids are individuals with their own ideas. Treat them like a part of your team. This is very important to remember in establishing a line of communication. Kids are people too. They might be smaller than you, but they still have their own thoughts and opinions that should be considered. Work together with your kids, instead of commanding them to do things. If they can see that their opinions matter, there isn’t much reason for misbehavior. Most kids have a natural desire to please their parents. When they aren’t allowed to express their feelings, frustrations can build up. Listen to your kids and use their ideas wherever possible.

2.Let kids make mistakes. Yes, it can be hard to stand by and watch your kids mess up. But that’s how they will learn. It’s fine to offer guidance. But ultimately, unless your kids are in danger or hurting someone else, many decisions should be theirs. Making too many decisions for them can lead to negative behaviors, such as aggression and rebellion. This positive parenting technique is not going to be easy while in the process. But the benefits can last a lifetime. As parents, we want to jump in and save our kids from every little issue. However, they also need room to grow. People learn things by experience and mistakes make excellent lessons.

3.Talk and listen often. Keeping an open line of communication is important for several reasons. As mentioned above, it lets your kids know you care. But it also helps them feel comfortable enough to come to you when there is an issue. If they know you will listen, there is no reason for negative behaviors, such as screaming and temper tantrums. Talk to them about your childhood experiences and listen to theirs. Sometimes you’ll need to just listen and not say anything and other times you can give your advice.

4.Follow your child’s cues. Kids need a great deal of attention. But they also need space. Know when it’s time to back off for a bit and when extra attention is warranted. Giving extra attention when your child needs it is not spoiling him. It’s showing compassion. On the same token, when you need to walk away, it is not neglect. It’s giving your child freedom to think or play or whatever is needed at that time. Paying attention to your child will clue you in on what do to do at the right time. Memorize facial expressions and other actions that may be a lead-in to certain behavior. Figure out how to redirect them before they get out of hand.

Note: The author’s positive parenting method has evolved into what she calls Upstream Parenting.