(Okay so, I'm shamelessly using my bloggy to preview this little article... I'm submitting it to a couple of newspapers and regional magazines. Seriously, let me know if ya'll have any suggestions on how to make it better!)
“Stop doing that.” “No No.” “Don’t even think about it.” “Quit it.”
Any of those negative phrases sound familiar? As a mommy of a preschooler and a toddler, I must admit, those phrases seem to roll off my tongue without even giving a second thought. And wouldn’t you know, they happen to be heard in my house probably 127 times a day? Sometimes, I feel like a broken record. There’s got to be a more effective way to get my point across, right?
Correction is an imperative part of parenting and must occur on a regular basis. No one would argue with that. However, I’ve found that changing my thoughts and the way I communicate with my children makes all the difference in the world. “Positive parenting” has transformed my approach to parenting and has enabled me be more optimistic.
The purpose of this article is not to place guilt on parents, but to empower and educate about alternatives to being caught in the tailspin of negativity. Naturally, dangerous situations and/or behaviors will require an immediate “No” response. That must not change. “Positive parenting” encourages parents to save “No” for significant instances, and rely on positive statements for all other situations.
“Positive parenting” has transformed my little family and has made being a mommy much more enjoyable. The underlying premise is to ensure that child(ren) understand what behaviors are desired or expected as opposed to only being told what not to do. Parents should communicate clearly the replacement behavior that is expected. For example, if a parents wishes that his/her child would stop screaming, rather than saying forcefully, “Stop that screaming right this instance,” try a statement such as “We use our inside voice when we are in our home. Screaming is for playing outside.” Then, demonstrating alternative behaviors such as whispering or singing will show the child the desired behaviors. The end result? No screaming… exactly what was desired in the beginning of this scenario.
“Positive parenting” is not a technique per se, but is a conscious effort by parents to choose positive words. The more it is used in daily interactions, the more it permeates an overall familial attitude.
Parents, remember… none of us is perfect! At times, we will still need to rely on trial and error and “our best guess” when dealing with our little blessings. “Positive parenting” is one tool that can help you with this tough job!
You are not alone. All parents struggle and desire solutions to help make parenting manageable. If you would appreciate support, would like to learn more about “positive parenting” and other parenting strategies, and would like to meet other parents who are fighting the good fight, Coffee Talk may be of interest to you. Coffee Talk is a parenting group offered at Square One: Specialists in Child and Adolescent Development. Square One is a unique, multidisciplinary practice which serves children and their families for developmental, behavioral, emotional, speech-language, and academic concerns in Louisville, Kentucky and the surrounding areas.
If you’d like more information about Square One or “Coffee Talk,” please contact the office at (502) 896-2606 or visit our website at www.squareonemd.com.