Are tensions running a bit high in your household right now? You’re not alone. It feels like there’s a lot to juggle right now. When life is stressful it has the tendency to overspill into our safe space – our home. We might find ourselves yelling and snapping at our children. Their behaviour might feel out of hand. 

Life as a parent or carer can be challenging at the best of times but there’s nothing worse than the feeling you get when you realise you’ve lost control of your temper. In this blog we look at how positive parenting techniques can help you feel better as a parent. We’ll look at how to manage your children’s behaviour and your own emotional response in a calm and controlled way.

What is positive parenting?

Positive parenting is all about setting boundaries and building good relationships with your children so that you can all thrive in a happy, healthy, family environment.

There are four key ingredients to positive parenting

  1. Keeping a positive mindset

  2. Creating and maintaining boundaries

  3. Consistent consequences

  4. Unconditional love

Keeping a positive mindset

It may not come as a surprise that the key ingredient in positive parenting is having a positive mindset. You, as a parent or carer, are the most important person in your children’s lives. That’s as true when they are babies to when you feel like you’ve been relegated to the role of taxi driver, cleaner and cook. You are the person your children look to for help and who they will model their behaviour on. When you are calm and positive you can tackle anything! If you need permission then take this as a sign:

Looking after yourself is the most important thing you can do!

You cannot keep a positive outlook if you are giving all of yourself to everyone else – family, work, friends, home. Do not feel guilty about taking time out to look after your health and wellbeing. If you allow yourself that visit to the gym, that coffee with friends, that 30 minutes reading a favourite book, you will have topped up your reserve. You will feel more human and more capable of being the best parent you can be.

How to deliver positive discipline

As a parent we want our child to be happy and content. Positive discipline is about helping children understand the consequences of their behaviour. Take a look at this short video from Family Lives Positive Discipline.

Creating and maintaining boundaries

“All children need love, guidance and to have rules and boundaries. Rules and boundaries help families to understand how to behave towards each other, and what’s OK and not OK.”  – NSPCC

Creating boundaries for your family is the best way to teach your children how to stay safe and how to respect each other. You have probably had boundaries in place from when your children were babies – things they weren’t allowed to eat or play with. These boundaries were put in place to keep them safe. 

In a similar way boundaries can be used around behaviour – e.g. no hitting, no shouting, or being destructive. Having boundaries allows you to explain clearly to your child that their behaviour isn’t acceptable.

If your child is behaving in a way you don’t want them to, clearly explain what you want them to do instead. For example, “We don’t hit each other. If you are angry, go to your room, then when you’re ready, use your words to explain how you are feeling.”

Boundaries need to be simple and consistent. They also need to be reviewed as your child gets older.

Father, child and mother sat together on their individual devices.

Adapting boundaries for teenagers

As your children get older and become more independent it is natural for them to challenge certain boundaries you have in place. You need to decide together whether they are mature enough to handle change. Give your teen opportunities to show they can be trusted. Talk, listen and make decisions together. Always be clear of consequences should your teen go against your wishes though and follow through.

Consistent consequences

Positive parenting focuses on praising children whenever possible, rewarding positive behaviour and recognising when children have made good choices. The more children become aware of the behaviour you want to see, the easier they will understand when they have done something wrong. Discipline should never be unexpected. It’s always good to discuss together what would happen if your child acted in a way that went against your rules. If you have agreed beforehand that they will have time without their tablet, for example, then follow through. If you are inconsistent with the way a child’s behaviour is responded to then they will likely test the boundaries again.

Unconditional love

Avoid criticism wherever possible. If your child has done something wrong, explain that it is the action and not them that you’re unhappy with. Your child needs to feel loved unconditionally. They need to know that whether they are on their best behaviour or they’ve made a mistake that you love them for the unique person they are. Look for ways that you can bond with your child. Think of activities you can share together. Keep talking and listening even when it feels like a challenge. They need to know you won’t give up on them.

Parenting support

If you are struggling and feel things are getting out of hand, know that you are never alone. Family Lives provides help and support on all aspects of parenting and family life, and runs Parentline on 0808 800 2222. 

Whilst we can’t help with all your parental concerns, we are here to support your child’s academic journey in any way that we can. Get in touch to discuss any challenges you are facing and we will create a tailored tuition programme to support your child’s individual needs.

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