Positive Parenting

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.

Forgive 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.

Connect

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?


Logical consequences are directly related to children’s behaviors and teach important boundaries. For example, if your child keeps throwing a toy, you take the toy away. Here are the steps to using logical consequences:

  1. Identify the misbehavior.
  2. Give a warning.
  3. Give a consequence.
  4. Tell them why.
  5. Go back to positive communication.
It is important to also have positive consequences, or rewards. When you support ‘good’ behaviors, your child is more likely to repeat them. Rewards can be social or material. Social rewards include giving affection or praise. Material rewards, which should be used with social rewards, include toys or a special treat.




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. It may be tempting to do what might work right now, but there are other discipline methods that are much more effective and will teach your child important life skills. This is not to say that parents who used spanking were bad parents—they were doing their best with the information they had. But now we know better, so we must do better.




What are some positive ways to discipline?


There are a few ways to discipline in a healthy, supportive way. As a parent, you will figure out what works best for your child. Here are some common types:

  • Ignoring
  • Distraction
  • Delay privilege
  • Timeouts
Visit the media sections to learn more about these methods.





Positive Parenting Media Center

Learn About Giving Timeouts

- CDC -

How Can I Teach My Values?

- Amaze Jr. -

From Feelings to Friendship

- Zero to Three -

Giving Good Directions

- CDC -

 

Parenting is a learning process. Here are resources that can help you grow and develop your parenting skills.

Positive Parenting Resources

Family Tree

Parenting classes and other parenting support and education

1-800-243-7337

Circle of Security

2-week positive parenting course 

CDC Parenting Essentials

Online resources with solutions to common parenting challenges through guided videos and scenarios

ABOUT US >

Sponsored by the

Office of Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young,

Baltimore City Health DepartmentFamily League of Baltimore, and HealthCare Access Maryland

 

Made possible by generous funding from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, City of Baltimore, Maryland Department of Health, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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