What exactly is positive parenting and is it a “better” approach to parenting? Let’s explore this touchy topic together.
In the past few days, a video of a boy being punished by his father for getting kicked out of his school bus went viral, accumulated more than 2 million views and has since sparked quite a conversation in the parenting community.
If you missed the video, watch it here.
Now that you’ve watched it. I can only assume you had one of these 2 most common emotions: you either belong to the group that applaud the dad for doing it right, or belong to the group that thinks he went too far.
I’m not here to judge you for your stand. I’m not here to judge him for his action. Neither am I here to take a stand. There is no ONE RIGHT WAY to parent. What’s good for one family may not be good for another, but it doesn’t make it a “bad” way. Despite having different approaches to parenting, we all parent well but we also screw up often. That’s the reality of being parents. So there’s no judging here.
But since we’re on the topic of parenting and disciplining, I thought I should address the group of parents that want to take the road of positive parenting. The big question is always:
What makes positive parenting?
Positive Parenting or Positive Discipline focuses on the positive points of behaviour, based on the idea that there are no bad children, just good and bad behaviours. We can teach and reinforce the good behaviours while weaning the bad behaviours without hurting the child verbally or physically.
Parents and educators engaging in positive discipline are not ignoring problems. Rather, they are actively involved in helping their child learn how to handle situations more appropriately while remaining calm, friendly and respectful to the children themselves.
So in the case of this child who was purportedly being punished for being a “bully”, the father did not hurt the child physically or verbally, it could also be argued that it was a calm and friendly approach. Respectful? I would say if he didn’t film the incident and share with the world, he would have ticked the box. But since he shared with the world, i’m a little bit cautious as not to say that what he did was respectful to his child. Nevertheless, not everybody follows positive parenting, and like i’ve said, there is no better way of parenting.
However, if you want to go on the path of positive parenting, following what this dad did wouldn’t have been parked as positive parenting. Why? Because there are 3 principles of positive parenting that makes it positive:
Treating Our Children With Respect
Positive Parenting followers want to go positive because we respect the little human beings under our care. Their feelings and self-esteem matter to us. We aspire to treat them with the same respect that we give to the adults in our lives, whenever possible.
Respecting your child while disciplining him is a positive thing because it shows to your child that he’s still worthy of good attention despite his bad behaviour.
Respecting your child is positive because we are showing him how to handle difficult people respectfully. He will learn and treat his friends and colleagues with respect.
Respecting your child while disciplining him is positive because it makes him feel that he is more important than the problem he has created.
Helping Our Kids Understand Why
Another basic principle of positive parenting is that we usually focus on why a child misbehaves rather than focusing on correcting his behaviour just because it’s wrong. We help children understand why what they are doing is wrong, and provide them with the skill to seek alternative ways to cope or deal with a problem. We teach them what is right and what is wrong through communication and explanation and not through punishment or threats.
Punishments just helps the kids avoid certain behaviours in order to escape punishment but without really knowing why he is not allowed to behave in certain ways.
Helping our kids understand why is positive because they get to learn what exactly is not right or appreciated about their behaviour. So next time they will internalise that certain behaviours are not desirable because of something.
Not Giving Up When It Doesn’t Work
I have to confess that positive parenting is not an easy path. I have been tempted to divert and just be authoritarian, especially in the heat of a home crisis. I admit that I hadn’t been positive 100% of the time. Positive parenting is hard, tough work. But what makes it so special is because we are determined to make it positive. We are determined to do our best to use positive discipline on our children.
So not giving up when it doesn’t work, is what makes it positive. We still believe in this parenting approach and we are still relying on it, regardless.
Having said all this, I want to reiterate that I’m not here to take a stand or to judge any parent. I’m here to explain what positive parenting is and if you want to go on this path, these are the 3 principles that you can follow.
Have a great day!