Positive Parenting is a dynamic concept; it is not static. Positive Parenting is parenting for tomorrow and not for the moment. Positive Parenting is building a relationship with your child that encourages open dialogue, honesty, and compassion.
In this relationship the parent understands that normal childhood behaviors are not malicious or spiteful acts to undermine a parent’s authority. Instead, they are developmental stages in which a child is discovering the world around them and their role in various facets of life.
Just as mom and dad engage with their boss in a different manner in which they interact with friends, children have different relationships and expectations for their parents than they do for their teachers.
by Pia Mattix Davis
Listening to our children and validating their feelings are central to Positive Parenting; also important for their development. Choosing to validate our children's feelings and to take into account their thoughts and beliefs does not imply that our children are allowed to make the rules, children need guidance and direction as they grow to ensure that they acquire the tools necessary to navigate through life as healthy, well-adjusted adults. In our home, Positive Parenting entails nurturing the whole child. Our children require more than food, shelter, clothing and compulsory education. Our children deserve to have their physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs met in a manner that fuels their growth and development.
Playing soccer, swimming, or just running around the park exercises both the body and the brain. We are given just one body for the duration of our lives and it is important that our children learn and appreciate the need to engage in physical activity. Team sports are excellent for learning the value of team work, respect and cooperation. Parents should allow their children to participate in as many different sports activities as possible; such exposure could inspire a lifelong love for a particular sport or activity.
Do you tell your children that you love them? Do you listen to your child when he/she expresses his/her emotions at the end of a hard day? Do you allow your children to cry? All humans, both male and female must have healthy and constructive ways to express their emotions. It is okay to cry (even boys), we all have to release bottled up emotions. Listen to your children, and validate their feelings. Once your children have released their emotions, assist them with positive solutions to solve their problems. If your child's feelings and behaviors seem beyond your help, please don't hesitate to seek professional assistance. There is a stigma against seeking help for mental health issues in our community which is a disservice to our emotional health and ultimately our physical and social growth.
Modeling healthy relationships with our peers is integral for our children's development. Children mimic the behaviors of the adults in their lives, and this certainly includes interactions with friends. Even though children must learn to navigate relationships with their peers, parents should observe peer relationships to ensure that their children are engaged in healthy friendships. It is never okay to allow another child to manipulate, bully, or insult your child. Arm your child with words or phrases that can be used to shut down inappropriate comments and behaviors. Also teach your children that it is okay to end a relationship with someone who is truly not a friend.
For many years the church has been the centerpiece of our community, but for many that is changing. No matter a person's religious belief or lack thereof, it is important to have a spiritual center. Prayer, meditation, yoga, self-reflection, chanting, or simply hiking through nature allow us to take a break from daily challenges and to focus on what is important in our lives. If our minds and hearts are not clear, it is impossible for us to focus on the challenges in our lives and to make good decisions. Sunday morning worship might not appeal to you, but find meaningful ways for your children to find and awaken their spiritual center.
One day, our children will leave our home, and when they do we should be confident that they are equipped with the tools necessary to flourish as adults. In addition to providing our children with the basics, we must seek out experiences that will foster emotional growth, nourish the soul, fuel the body, and create connections that will last a lifetime.