Mind Specialists / The Art of Positive Parenting

The Art of Positive Parenting

Parenting is the process of raising and supporting a child, thereby promoting the physical, mental, social, intellectual and emotional development of a child. Parenting comes with many challenges, stemming from different behaviors of the parents or the child, as well as the different influences in one’s life, thereby affecting the relationship of the parent with the child. While each age group presents its own unique challenges for parenting, the adolescence period is particularly more so.

Conflict over need for autonomy and independence, experimenting with sexuality and intimacy, alcohol, tobacco ordrug use due to peer pressure or as an act of defiance of parental values, have all been major causes of conflicts between parents and their children. With this, academic pressures and problems, discipline issues and anti-social behaviors might lead to adoption of harsh punishments by parents that can affect thequality of relationship between parent and a child.

Pre-teens and teenagers are more vulnerable to developing emotional and mental health problems such as anxiety, fears, and reaction to stress, depression, suicidal thoughts, obsessive ruminations, and eating disorders. This would need understanding, care and support at the parents’ end, so that the problem can be managed effectively with professional help where necessary. Lastly, peer influences, family influence and the increased influence of media, internet and digital devices can potentially give rise to conflicts between parents and the child, thus complicating the parenting process.

No parent is a perfect parent. But to be able to effectively manage the challenges that parenting might pose for many, one needs to imbibe certain principles of Positive Parenting. Positive parenting, as a concept, includes sharing one’s thoughts, having an open communication, honest expression of feelings, warmth, understanding and active participation in each other’s interests.There are certain strategies that can be adopted to enable parents to have a positive approach for effective parenting as well as avoid certain others that don’t seem to work.

Strategies to be adopted:

Involve the child in family activities and appreciate the contribution made by them.
Learn to recognize the child’s strength and weaknesses and encourage them to give their best.
Allot special time out with children to spend time with them and show interest in their studies, games, hobbies etc.
Get to know your child’s friends and establish a warm, cordial relationship with them.
Be a ‘friendly parent’ to your child. Don’t try to become his/her ‘friend’.
Listen to your child without being judgmental and make him/her realize that you appreciate his/her point of view.
Be sensitive to and respect the feelings of your children. His/her feelings do matter.
Do what your children expect you to do.  Be good role models for the beliefs, attitudes and behaviour you expect them to portray. Do not contradict yourself by your actions.
Show love and support without conditions.
Each child needs appreciation for the good and the positives they have. Celebrate the positives in your child.

Strategies to be avoided:

Don’t ignore good behavior and notice and highlight only bad behavior. Focus on both by appreciating the good behavior and explaining them about their bad behavior.
Don’t give confusing/contradicting messages.
Don’t end up doing things for him always. Avoid overprotection. Give them the opportunity to do their own work and being independent.
Don’t be over critical and judgmental. They might have a different point of view than yours, which should be respected.
Don’t over indulge your child. Be firm in setting rules and regulations.
Don’t compare with other children. Each child is unique in their own capacity. Accept them as they are.
Don’t pass on your stresses and anxiety to your children.

Parenting, at the end of the day, is all about forming a strong bond with your child and providing them with the best of what you can. One needs to provide love, respect, support, appreciation and care to the child and at the same time, make them understand their responsibilities, their values and the consequences that certain negative behaviors may have on their and their loved ones’ lives. The key lies in balance – balance between being loving and not over indulging; balance between restrictions and freedom; balance between highlighting both good and bad behavior; balance between being a friend and a parent.