The moment your child is born, you begin preparing them for independence. That is parenting. It can seem like a big task, but the good news is that it happens in many tiny steps of nurturing, protecting, and guiding.
Explore this page to learn more about positive parenting, discipline tips, and resources.
Positive Parenting Basics
There is no such thing as a perfect parent, but there are endless ways to be a good parent. Positive parenting is one approach that involves tailoring your parenting to your individual child’s personality and developmental stage.
Early childhood can be a challenging time for both kids and parents. Remember that your child is not trying to push your buttons on purpose, but is doing the best they can with the skills they have. For young children, this can mean a lot of crying and acting out while they learn to name their feelings and use their words. By setting loving, firm boundaries and setting clear expectations in a safe, nurturing way, parenting is a lot more likely to be enjoyable for you. Setting this environment for your child early on makes it more likely that they will continue to come to you as they grow older.
Here are some tips for positive parenting
Focus on the positive
Children need to know what is expected of them. Make sure to tell them when they make you proud or when they are helpful or kind.
Fill your tank
If you are not feeling patient, pause and think about what unmet need you may have. Prioritize caring for yourself.
Nobody is perfect and parenting can be stressful. It is ok to have a misstep. The most important thing is to acknowledge it to your child and apologize.
Be a model
The most powerful way to teach your child how to handle tough situations is to model it yourself. We all want empathy and respect, so provide those to your child as well.
Take a few moments a day to play with, read to, or be affectionate with your child. Often, if a child is acting out, they are just craving your attention.
Positive Parenting FAQs
My child is not listening to me. What should I do?
First, make sure that they understand what you want them to do. Sometimes, if a child is not following directions, they may not have understood what you want them to do. Second, ask yourself if your child is capable of doing what you’re asking them to do. If the answers to both of those questions are yes, start introducing consequences.
When should I start disciplining my child?
Children, even young toddlers, enjoy structure and routine. Sometimes though, our expectations may not match our child’s capabilities. To understand what you can expect of your child, learn more about developmental milestones.
What are logical consequences and how can I use them?
Identify the misbehavior.
Give a warning.
Give a consequence.
Tell them why.
Go back to positive communication.
Is spanking really that bad? My parents spanked me and I turned out fine.
In the last 20 years, we have learned a lot about early childhood and a lot has changed. In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics put out a study that found that spanking and shaming children may be effective in the short-term, but they are not in the long-term. In other words, it may stop the behavior right now, but later on it could cause learning problems, problems with speaking and memory, and aggressive behavior.
What are some positive ways to discipline?
Positive Parenting Media Center
Parenting is a learning process. Here are resources that can help you grow and develop your parenting skills.