Positive parenting also referred to as positive discipline is a parenting philosophy that focuses on discipline techniques that reinforce positive behavior in children.
It moves away from the more traditional authoritarian parenting techniques that include punitive measures such as spanking and yelling, which often only create feelings of resentment, guilt, and distance.
Instead, positive discipline helps parents break the constant cycle of power struggles and conflict. It teaches parents how to recognize the underlying reasons for negative behavior, with a focus on teaching discipline strategies that build your child’s self-esteem, while at the same time correcting their misbehavior.
The effectiveness of the techniques in improving behavior and overall happiness are widely reported, among parents and in academia.
Why Positive Parenting?
The reality is that parenting is a difficult job and when nothing you say seems to make your child behave, in desperation, many parents resort to yelling and spanking. Naturally, these can make you feel guilty and lead to the situation spiraling out of control as a power struggle erupts.
Yet even worse is the fact that there is little evidence that traditional discipline methods are effective. They may also have the potential to drive a wedge between parent and child, leading to resentment and long term communication issues.
So if you are struggling, don’t lose hope, you can take back control of your parent-child relationship. A stronger, more positive relationship is increasingly likely if you to start taking on board evidence-based discipline techniques and begin putting them into daily practice.
Positive Parenting Solutions
The Positive Parenting Solutions Program is a complete step-by-step roadmap offered by parenting expert Amy McCready. It includes a parenting personality quiz, so you can identify how your personality may be impacting your parenting, as well as multiple tools and a video series you can follow on-demand.
The program includes 49 in-depth video tutorials that address and show you how to deal with common issues such as kid’s not listening, talk back and sibling fighting. Each video is incredibly detailed and even has accompanying scripts, so you know exactly how to respond to your child in the heat of the moment.
More advanced training modules are also available and are designed to help guide you through very specific and common scenarios. This includes everything from potty training, to bullying and ADHD.
The course includes lifetime access, so you can refer back to it as a guide throughout the various stages of your child’s growth and development.
The course also comes with a mobile app that you can download and install in your smartphone, giving you easy access, wherever you might be. You don’t need access to the internet to use this app either, which is a great bonus.
What else makes Amy’s course so unique is the fact that you have access to 1-to1 live help from Amy herself, a private Facebook group for members only and access to several years of coaching calls. All fantastic extras where you can seek guidance as you implement your new parenting style.
Positive Parenting Program
The Positive Parenting Program also called the Triple P program is designed specifically to help treat and prevent mental health, emotional, and behavioral problems in children and adolescents.
What is the Triple P Program?
The Triple P Program is described as a multilevel, preventative parenting and family support strategy. It was first created by Matthew Sanders at the University of Queensland and is supported by more than 35 years of ongoing research.
The programs primary purpose is to provide families with a comprehensive strategy for the prevention of emotional, developmental and behavioral problems in children by helping parenting gain confidence and skills to improve their parenting strategy.
Different Levels of Intervention
What makes the Triple P Program different to others is that multiple levels are available, often described as “increasing in strength” and they are designed to provide support for different types of behavior. This includes the likes of ADHD, conduct disorders and exposure to violence.
Level 1: Universal Triple P
This low-level intervention is designed to help parents deal address typical behavioral issues that arise due to dysfunctional parenting. It is designed to help parents learn about the principal positive parenting techniques and how to apply them in day to day life for more positive outcomes.
Level 2: Selective Triple P
This level is designed to help parents better handle common, but more specific behavioral issues that can arise during development. This can include the likes of potty training, sleep issues, toddler tantrums and more.
Level 3: Primary Care Triple P
Similar to Level 2, level 3 is designed for specific behavioral issues that require parents to develop active skills through a series of training sessions. This involves four 20 minute sessions where parents and the session counselor go over the history and context of the behavioral issue, create an action plan and track the families progress.
Level 4: Standard Triple P
This level is designed to help parents adopt positive parenting skills to address more difficult behavioral issues. Typically, this includes issues with aggression, conduct or learning difficulties. It involves 8 intensive sessions that provide both support and active skills training.
Level 5: Enhanced Triple P
This level is designed to help families who are experienced significant issues, such as the breakdown of a relationship involving conflict. It is also used to assist parents in situations of neglect, as well as other more complex behavioral problems.
How Can You Practice Positive Parenting?
Believe it or not, but embracing positive discipline techniques is easier than you think, it’s just about being aware of how you respond to your child, especially when they have you at boiling point.
1. Provide Your Child with Choices
One of the major reasons for misbehavior is when a child feels like they have no control over their own lives and choices. This can lead to deep feelings of resentment and one of the major consequences of feeling like this is the eruption of a so-called “power struggle”. This is those times when your child just doesn’t seem to want to comply, but it’s important to recognize what deep emotions may be triggering this type of behavior.
A solution to this is providing your child with choices. Of course, this does not mean any choice or allowing them to dictate every little detail, what it does mean is allowing them to have some level of control. This depends on their age, so if they are a toddler may involve a quick distraction, but in the case of older kids and teens could involve negotiation and offering a suitable alternative.
2. Embrace Natural Consequences
Positive parenting is about encouraging good behavior, not through the fear of being punished, but by showing that it results in good results, that will be associated with positive feelings such as happiness and a sense of fulfillment. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through natural consequences.
For example, if your child refuses to do their homework, or are taking to long to get ready in the morning, resulting in being late to school, they need to face the natural consequences of those actions. As a parent, it may be tempting to want to cover for their behavior, but in the long term, this just results in an inability to manage their impulses.
Allowing them to face the consequences of their actions will teach them to get a sense of what the result of their actions may be and as a result, reinforce the feelings associated with making the right choices (1).
3. Talk About Emotions Regularly
Psychologists often refer to discussing feelings with kids is “emotion coaching”, this strategy is really helpful in helpings kids to understand their emotions, which is essential during particularly difficult times.
Talking to your children about their feelings and emotions is a great way to help them feel secure and supported. IT also enables them to develop self-regulation skills that will serve them well in the long term.
4. Praise Your Kids Good Behavior
As parents, we have a tendency to look out for the negative behaviors and apply corrective discipline, but some research suggests this may be the wrong approach. Instead, it seems we should actually be focusing on our children’s positive behavior instead.
Research has shown that kids respond very positively to praise. In fact, one such study found that kids who were praised regularly for good behavior were less likely to experience behavioral problems (2).
5. Try to Stay Positive, Even if You Are Struggling
When children misbehave, as a parent, it can be extremely frustrating, particularly if they just don’t seem to want to listen. It’s times like this that many parents resort to discipline tactics such as yelling and spanking, but the evidence is that these reactions may have negative consequences.
Not only does yelling often make us feel guilty, but it can also result in the bond between parent and child becoming frayed. This is especially true if behavior issues are particularly rampant, as the child may feel like they are constantly being reprimanded, which can be extremely demotivating and create a negative atmosphere.
Instead, try to be more selective about the types of behavior that need to be corrected and those that you might be able to ignore, at least, for now. It’s also important to maintain some balance, so try and focus on your child’s good behavior too and offer praise and encouragement whenever possible.
Over time, you can address the less serious behavior issues. However, it the short term, it’s essential to maintain a positive, empathetic and happy home for the whole family.
6. Make Expectations Clear
Your child should have a good idea of what type of behavior is expected of them. Kid’s are not psychic, so it’s wrong for parents to always assume they should know. Yet, it is right for us to expect them to develop their own moral compass over time if we as parents share our own reasoning with them.
Don’t just lay down the rules and demand your child follow them, children are likely to respond to rules if they understand why they are in place. Therefore, talk to your child about why certain rules exist and be ready to answer their “whys” and “hows”.
This style of parenting is sometimes referred to as “inductive discipline,” and it’s one of the concepts behind authoritative parenting, which has repeatedly been associated with better parenting results (3).
7. Motivate Your Child Positively
When your child is refusing to cooperate, don’t trigger the usual power struggle by yelling and shouting. Instead, use more effective tactics to motivate them, such as making jokes through humor. They are much more likely to respond positively if you keep things upbeat and make them laugh.
For instance, if you instruct them to tidy their room, try to make it into a fun game, such as let’s play “refuse collectors” and put all the things away like they do when they clean the streets. It may be tempting to practice negative discipline, but the response is likely to be anything but positive.
8. Remain Supportive & Empathetic
Parenting can be difficult, especially when children are not behaving their best. But, sometimes you need to try and view the situation from the outside and ask yourself how should you respond?
The reality is that we all respond more positively when we are treated fairly, empathetically and with some level of support. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with your child’s behavior, what it means is maintaining a positive, supportive attitude that is increasingly like to get a better response.
When people scald us and yell it makes us fear them, breaks down trust and risks damaging honest communication, which I’m sure no parent ever truly wants. That’s why a more positive approach to parenting is so crucial, it creates strong family bonds and better outcomes when it comes to behavior.