Most parents would probably state that they wish to do a good job of parenting and are working towards that in their interactions with their child/ren.
We all know some days are a challenge – we’re tired, the kids are tired, they’re difficult, we’re irritable, it’s raining for the 3rd day in a row etc – on those days it can be a lot harder to stay ‘cool’ and do positive parenting. But on the other days…..
There are many skills and strategies we can bring to parenting, and we do our best when we use the most appropriate one for the current situation. It’s a bit like a tradesman knowing when to use the pliers, the drill or the screwdriver, or the chef to know whether they need a knife, a grater or a vegetable peeler. The ends results are so much better when we use the right tool – or in parenting – the right strategy.
So what might parents need?
The following is a list of strategies which I will detail over the coming weeks:
- Spend quality time
- Talk with your child
- Listen to your child
- Show affection
- Give descriptive praise
- Give focused attention
- Play with them
- Provide engaging activities
- Be a good role model
- Provide incidental teaching
- Clear ground rules
- Prompt attention to not following rules
- Clear, simple instructions
- Logical consequences
- Quite time
- Establish routines
- Behaviour charts
- Stay calm
- Be consistent
So, what does all this mean? Let’s look at them, one by one.
Spend quality time: Think about someone who cares about you – your partner, your sister etc. How would you feel if they never spent time with you – not a friendly chat nor a visit. It wouldn’t feel like they cared. It’s the same for our children. They need our time where we truly engage with them – with a story, with play time, with a conversation. When we connect with our child, we deepen the relationship.
Talk with your child: Often we talk TO our child – this is when we are directing them eg pick up your school bag, put your toys away etc That is appropriate at times. It is also very important to talk WITH your child ie engage in a conversation with them where you both take turns to talk and listen. Think of a friend you have. Would you like it if they always talked TO you (ie told you what to do) or would you rather they talked WITH you – where they engaged with you and you felt included in the conversation?
Listen to your child: This one is really important. When children are telling us something we need to encourage that (maybe not when they are whinging!) and stop what we are doing to really listen. Real listening occurs when we are focused on hearing what the other person has to say… not just waiting for an opportunity to respond! Later you don’t want to be complaining that your teenager never tells you anything – so start listening now, and stay open to listening. Remember you have two ears and just one mouth – maybe the idea is that we should listen twice as much as we talk!
Show affection: Affection comes in many forms and it depends on what you and your child both feel comfortable with! It could be hugs or kisses, cuddles or high five’s. It might be a smile or a nod from across the room. It might be tickling and laughing together. This ties in with the last item…. ‘Listen to your child’…. It’s no good trying to hug them if they don’t like hugs. See which they respond best to and do that!
We’ll continue with the other strategies next week.
Happy Positive Parenting!