As a parent, we all love our children deeply, and most of us will agree that these days parenting is very demanding and exhausting instead of pleasurable and joyous process. What has changed? It is not that children are any different. The difference is in the environment around them with stronger social influences; and this also affects the way we parent. In today's more democratic and egalitarian world; 'Do as I say and not as I do' style of parenting does not work. But, 'I will do as I see you doing' phrase from kids define our parent-child relationship.
With change in social environment and influence, our strategies for correcting their behaviour and impart discipline has to undergo adaptation! When there are so many confusing and conflicting signals reaching out to our kids from their environment, whether we like it or not, we are still their role models.
How positive parenting style will help?
The core principle of positive parenting is to accept your child as an individual. We are in a democratic society and family is a small yet important part of society. Democracy does not mean allowing disrespectful and irresponsible behaviour; rather to effectively help kids change their behaviour and create harmonious and cooperative relationship with them. It also means that we as a parent need to learn to think, act and react in a different way.
Through positive parenting, you will learn respectful disciplining methods, which would work better than demanding compliance. Through these principles and tips, you will get your child to listen without screaming, nagging, reminding or evoking rebellious behaviour. More importantly, this is all about building stronger relationship with your children and nurture them through early childhood to teenage years as they become independent, responsible, capable, kind, happy and successful young adults.
Tips to get you started:
1. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, including children.
2. When your kid misbehaves, instead of shouting or hitting, control your anger and respond in a calm and respectful way. Calmer but firmer tone and lower voice, yet not giving into their repeated demand, is much more effective as a discipline tool compare to nagging.
3. Understandable that you have a lot on your plate, such as work, managing and keeping the home in order, managing meals and other outside responsibilities, kids sports or extracurricular activities, family obligations and so on. It is easy to get lost in all these 'have to do' activities. Parenting shouldn't be just one more task to deal with. Reconnecting with your parenting goals and aspirations periodically will help take the stress out of it and add fun into it. Spend some time daily (10 minutes will do as well!) to just listen and enjoy your child (without correcting them or giving them suggestion to improve!).
4. Let your love for them be the driving force. Shift your internal conversations from 'have to' to 'want to'. As you do enormous things for your child each day, think how you are supporting their ambitions. How you are helping them become independent and strong. How you are nurturing qualities like compassion and deep listening by extending yourself.
5. Give promises and keep them. As your children grow, they need much more than your words to trust and rely on you. Keeping your promises, letting them know if you need to change the plan, taking their opinion in appropriate matter will go a long way.
6. Seek to understand and do not impose yourself on your child. Especially when they are in their teenage, as a parent, you have a lot of worries, you are afraid of them making mistakes and of course you want to protect them from vices. Listening to them while keeping your focus on genuinely understanding them is the only way to go, when they know you understand them and they can trust you, the street between both of you turns two way street! They will be open to your wisdom and suggestion when they are at the cross road.
7. Last but not the least, 'be a role model'. Don't preach. If they see you disrespecting others, they will not respect you. If they see you hooked on your smart phone; that is their license to keep theirs in front of their eyes 24/7. If you are hooked in front of the TV till late night and haven't picked up a book in last 6 months. Advice about reading is going to fall on dumb ears. In short, be the change you want to see in your children.
8. Have family nights at least once in a week, play cards, board games or go for a walk together. Talk and listen. Just be there and listen without judgement and criticism, without thinking about how to correct them. Just enjoy each other's company and see how they are changing their opinion about you. Positive parenting doesn't mean you will never have problems in your family. You will? if you are alive and growing family. Positive parenting style will open up the avenues to keep communication alive; it will open your children to your influence. Isn't it something that we all wish for!!