by Jenica Renee See
Becoming parents can be an exciting, yet at the same time, challenging role to take on. It’s always going to be a new experience.
The truth is, there’s not one parenting style that would suit every child from one family to another. It can never be the same. What’s even more stressful about it is that it takes several trial and errors of different techniques and disciple plans just to get it right, just to see which one would work.
Child discipline is a very broad subject. It’s not just about correcting your child’s mistakes and it definitely does not equate to finding the best punishment either. True enough, it’s about teaching your children good manners, it’s about teaching your children the do’s and don’ts of different situations, it’s about promoting proper behavior; but more than that, it should be about building a relationship with your children while allowing them to learn from you. It’s about listening to them, it’s about seeing the world from their point of view, and walking through their life experiences with them.
As your child grows, every experience will be new to them, and because of this, they will have their own way of seeing and dealing with these experiences. It’s because of this that we need a great amount of patience and understanding. These two words are key terms to keep in mind as we try to understand a new approach to parenting: positive parenting.
Positive parenting is an approach where there involves a more open relationship between a parent and his child. It promotes a healthier relationship between a parent and his child alongside discipline. It encourages parents to know their children more. It’s not a set of rules to be followed, it’s not a list of fixed answers for parenting problems, it’s an approach where it is uniquely applied to each family and it begins with a BELIEF:
“Believing children want to communicate with you, listening to children, discussing with your children what you want them to do, being very clear about what you want them to do, setting clear limits and boundaries, being firm and consistent, giving the same message every time, viewing disagreements between parents and children as opportunities to develop problem-solving and negotiation skills.” (Al Crowell, 2003)
Positive parenting encourages a happy and positive relationship from a parent and his child. It encourages learning how to listen and to encourage, instead of discouraging and instilling fear on your children. A Roman poet, Publius Terentius After (Terence), once wrote:
“It is better to bind your children to you by a feeling of respect and by gentleness, than by fear.”
TIPS FOR POSITIVE PARENTING
Here are some tips on how you can incorporate positive parenting on your child:
LISTEN – ENCOURAGE – MODEL
1. Communicate with Your Child:
Remember first and foremost that the way you see things is not always similar to your child’s way of seeing things. Neither can we expect them to understand things in the way that we do, not all the time.
Especially for younger children, one situation may need to be experienced several times just for them to understand. They will learn. They will eventually learn.
Our children are not designed to simply follow instructions, an explanation comes with direction. Ultimately, our goal should be to help them see the value and the lessons to be learned in different situations, more than just what RIGHTs and WRONGs in a situation.
This is where communication comes in. Communicating with your child, listening to what he has to say, allows the two of you to meet halfway with each other. This becomes an opportunity for you to explain things for him to understand, and an opportunity for him to do the same. The last thing that we want to do is to reprimand our children or to put them at fault for the wrong reasons, this will only cause confusion on their part.
The key here is to allow them to help us as we help them.
2. Encourage His Every Milestone:
Giving praises and encouragement can have the greatest influence on children. When others remind them that they are improving, that they have done their best, that others are pleased with their performance, this can give them the greatest motivation to keep on doing what they’re doing or, even better, to go further. And thus, this creates a pattern of positive attitude for them.
We need to keep in mind as well that even the little accomplishments that they are able to achieve deserve encouragement, because we want them to see and appreciate the effort that they’ve put into simply trying. We want them to see that, so long as they keep on trying, they will succeed. We need to help our children create a pattern of a positive attitude of seeing the good in their little accomplishments.
“Encouraging a child can bring out the very best in them. A child who is encouraged to try new things, and continue to work at things they have not quite mastered gives them confidence in themselves to keep trying until they do succeed. Sometimes, it takes showing the child step by step what needs to be done, other times, it takes words of encouragement. No matter what the situation is, to encourage a child, you have to focus on the positive things.” (LMG, 2009)
3. Happy Home, Happy Children: Be a Role Model
One thing we can keep in mind is that children are like sponges, they absorb everything around them. This includes habits, attitudes, expressions, ACTIONS and even your MOODS. Everything begins in a children’s home, and more so, with the people that are closest to them. This immediate circle can bring the greatest influence to your child’s life, and more importantly, to your child’s attitude to life.
Audrey Tan-Zubiri mentioned in her article, “Happy Parents Raise Happy Children”, in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, “We know that one day, our children will have to face their own hardships. If they are armed with a joyful spirit, maybe this will help them have face their problems, and eventually, joyfully triumph over them.”
Of course, your attention should not just be on your children. Nurturing your own happiness is just as important. Audrey Tan-Zubiri’s also mentioned in her article, “If we want to raise happy and joyful children, I suppose it goes without saying that we must be happy parents, too. After all, how can you make someone happy if you’re not happy yourself?” One of the way by which you can attend to your child’s emotional well-being is to make sure that you first attend to yours.
It’s not just the positive disposition, but it goes hand in hand with the things that we want our children to learn from us. Children learn not only from what they hear, but more so, from what they see. Modeling our own actions for them to learn from is one effective way on how we can teach our children.
LMG. (2009, March 10). Encouraging a child when he feels discouraged: Teaching a child to never give up. Retrieved from http://voices.yahoo.com/encouraging-child-he-feels-discouraged-2803855.html?cat=25.
Crowell, A. (2003). What is positive parenting? Retrieved from http://www.nospank.net/crowel4.htm.
Tan-Zubiri, A. (2011, August 24). Happy parents raise happy children. Inquirer Lifestyle. Retrieved from http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/10869/happy-parents-raise-happy-children.