Positive parenting - does it sound plausible in your household? Before saying 'No' to it at your first glance, what you truly need is a better perspective about this parenting style. Positive parenting is not about giving in to your children, nor is it on spoiling your children, either. In fact, it is one of the best alternatives you can practice to substitute harsh, punitive parenting. It's time for us to stop yelling and punishing our children, no matter how struggled we are with their bedtime issues, picky eating, tantrums or even behavioural problems. One thing is for sure, you are only intimidating your children with over-reactive expressions, harsh words and punishments. They will never learn the root cause of their problems and thus they are helpless in solving their problems. Here's where positive parenting can chip in. Positive parenting is looking into how the relationship of parents and children can provide the children with care, teaching, guidance and then address the children's needs consistently and unconditionally. It is always about supporting the children's best interests with affection and encouragement, guided by clear rules and expectations. Instead of being rebellious and ignorant, your children will be equipped with a higher self-esteem, social and problem-solving skills. If you wish to raise a child like this, here are five ways you can practise positive parenting effectively at home. 5 Ways You Can Adopt Positive Parenting That Truly Benefits Your Children #1 Listen and acknowledge your children's emotions Always put in your attention when your children are sharing their issues or problems with you (Photo credit: Canva). Whenever your children wish to talk to you, set aside your job and phone. Give them your undivided time and attention while listening to their problems. For instance, your child had a bad day at school as he quarreled with his friends. Instead of finding whose fault it was or who started the conflict, you should first be aware of how your child felt about this incident. Help him to identify his negative emotions and validate these emotions. For example, you might say, I know you are sad about fighting with Peter today, and I understand that. Then, have a discussion with your child on how he can resolve this incident and you can ask him on how he would like you to help out with the solution. Let's say your child has decided to take the first move to reconcile with Peter. He wants to do so by dropping by Peter's house with some tea-time snacks so that they can have a chit-chat. He asks for your help to pick the tea-time snacks and fetch him to Peter's house. Instead of scolding him that this might be a waste of time and effort, give him support and help him out. After that, you can come back talking about the incident and guide your child on how they can communicate with their friends more effectively. You do not only show support to your children, you also ensure that they are aware of their shortcomings and on their ability to handle the problem. #2 Communicate rules and consequences in a kind yet firm tone Through positive parenting, your children can become disciplined with clear rules and expectations. (Photo credit: Canva) Have your children ever thrown any temper tantrums while you're out grocery shopping? If that's the case, how did you resolve the situation? Asking your children to keep quiet by getting them some sweets or ice-cream? If so, you had just affirmed a negative behaviour with a reward. Your children have learnt that this behaviour will get them rewards and they will surely repeat the same behaviour during the upcoming shopping trips. Instead of comforting your children with external stimuli, what you should do is to speak with them about the rules they need to follow during shopping. On top of this, you should also talk about clear expectations for their behaviour and the consequences if they break them before going on any shopping trips. Some behavioural expectations that you can set include, 'talking softly to your mum and dad in the mall', and 'listening to your mum and dad'. As for consequences, you can get your children to discuss and set on the consequences if they fail to follow the behavioural expectations. Throughout the process, make sure you communicate with your children in a kind and loving way. Stay firm and consistent when your children break the rules, too, so that they know you walk your talk. Mind that children of different ages require a slightly different approach on setting expectations with positive parenting. #3 View your children's misbehaviour as a learning opportunity With positive parenting, you communicate with your children reasonably, even when they are having a emotional breakdown. (Photo credit: Getty Images) As a primary school educator, I truly understand how parents struggle with children's misbehaviour. I equally face similar situations where children refuse to listen or complete their homework. Or some keep talking back to you just to disrupt the lessons. What had I tried to resolve these situations? I had resorted to scolding and punishing the children. Did it work? I would say 'Yes', but only for a short term and it certainly does not support the positive social development of a child. Once I realised my pitfall, I started to recognise their misbehaviour as an opportunity to learn more about them. The children's misbehaviour is never a failing on your part or a shortcoming in your children. It simply implies that your children are discouraged. They do not feel the sense of belonging, or they don't feel that they have enough control over their own lives. As they do not know how to get their emotional needs met positively or to express their frustration appropriately, they resort to misbehaviour to get attention or the sense of control they want. So, starting from now, view your children's misbehaviours as a sign of emotional needs. Talk and listen to your children as what we discussed above, and you will be able to address the root cause of their misbehaviour. Mind that sometimes what you feed your child can be a source of their misbehaviour, too. #4 Reward and affirm your children's positive behaviour Positive parenting encourages us to reward our children's positive and healthy behaviour. (Photo credit: Canva) How do you feel whenever someone compliments you on your job performance and positive behaviour? You will feel happy and more energized to continue your work for the rest of your day, right? Then, why don't we get our children to feel the same way as we do? Is it because we are concerned that our children will be too arrogant after receiving our praises and rewards? Worry not, your children will only get more motivated to repeat the positive behaviour which are being affirmed! Therefore, it is then our responsibility to decide on which behaviour to compliment them on. Never solely focus on their academic results. Instead, pay more attention on how your children are progressing, how your children are helping out at home and how they are willing to try out new and unfamiliar challenges. If you wonder what kind of rewards are appropriate, you can try out with different rewards (such as gifts, verbal compliments or physical hugs) and pay attention to your children's reaction towards each reward. Or, you can discuss with your children on the rewards they hope to receive for their positive behaviour. Mind that positive parenting is not just about rewarding accomplishments, but it is also about being sensitive about our children's needs. #5 Give your children the autonomy to choose No matter how small a decision is, give your children the autonomy to make decision (Photo credit: Getty Images) Let's be open about this: We like to be in control of our lives. By taking control of our lives, we feel more significant and we will be able to accomplish our goals. It is exactly the same for our children. By involving our children in making decisions, they will be able to have more faith in themselves. You can first start with asking them to decide whether to bath or draw first. Then, you can proceed with what to cook for meals and which area to clean first at home. With more practice at home, your children will then learn that they are capable of making decisions and achieving their goals as long as they believe in themselves. By empowering your children in decision making, you should be careful with intervening your children when they are solving their problems with their methods. You can always engage in regular, open dialogues with your children, but never try to control or restrict the variety of solutions they wish to attempt to achieve their goals. There's certainly no only one way out for any problem. Just let go and make sure your children know that they can always come back to you if they need any support or advice. Positive Parenting Gives You Positive Children Remember, with all the alternatives suggested above, do what feels right for you. You can always start with implementing one or two ideas and see how your children are reacting and behaving. Do not feel pressured if it does not work out in a short period. Be consistent in showering your children with unconditional affection, attentiveness, support and quality conversation. You can be the kind of parents you've always wanted to be: A positive, confident and joyful mum or dad with positive parenting.