Positive parenting is parental practices that are directed to the full development of children through non-violence, care, recognition, guidance and the establishment of limits (Consejo de Europa, 2006 in Pastor et al., 2015).
Research has consistently shown that positive parenting benefits children both in childhood and adulthood because in positive parenting, children are recognised and their rights are respected.
Parental practices that are characterised by warmth and responsiveness towards children, high expectations, rules and boundary setting, and effective discipline have been shown to improve outcomes for children.
Typically, this parenting style is authoritative parenting and it has been effective in better outcomes for children.
Benefits of Positive Parenting
As researchers continue to associate the links between positive parenting and better outcomes for children, here are some benefits of positive parenting.
Decreases children’s externalising behaviours
Positive parenting interventions have been shown to decrease children’s externalising behaviour.
For example, in one study, parents reported a decrease in children’s problem externalising behaviours after a web-based positive parenting training (Jones, et al., 2014).
Child externalising behaviours are behavioural problems in which the child’s acts out negatively on his or her environment.
Additionally, child externalising behaviours are major risk factors for antisocial behaviours, violence and crime in adulthood (Liu, 2004). Consequently, it is in everyone’s interest to improve parent-child relations through effective parenting.
Provides emotional safety for children
Parental practices that provide an environment where children’s needs are consistently met with care, communication, and respect facilitate the development of strong parent-child relationships.
As a result, strong parent-child relationships nurture secure attachment for children. Effectively, children develop trust in their parents that they can consistently rely on them for physical and emotional safety (Johnson, 2020).
Teaches children accountability and responsibility
Parental practices that manage or regulate child behaviour, either through enforcing demands and rules, with effective disciplinary strategies, an appropriate amount of which, has been shown to positively affect children’s development (Kuppens & Ceulemans, 2019).
As an example, research shows that home environments with firm and responsive parents who show mutual respect for their children produce more successful adults (Zhong, et al., 2016).
Fosters children’s self-confidence
Similarly, responsive parenting fosters children’s positive self-belief, esteem and confidence.
Positively impacts children’s development
The risks of children’s social, behavioural and developmental delay are significantly reduced when parents engage in positive parenting.
A research study found that children whose parents participated in reading to them or storytelling 1-3 per week were at significantly lower risk of developmental delays than children whose parents did not read to them (Cprek, Williams, Asaolu, Alexander, & Vanderpool, 2015).
Protects children’s mental health and wellbeing
Finally, positive family environments protect children even in the face of childhood adversity and are associated with adult resilience.
A study also showed that positive parenting impacts mental health and improved coping in later life (Zhong, et al., 2016).
Cprek, S. E., Williams, C. M., Asaolu, I., Alexander, L. A., & Vanderpool, R. C. (2015). Three Positive Parenting Practices and Their Correlation with Risk of Childhood Developmental, Social, or Behavioral Delays: An Analysis of the National Survey of Children’s Health. Matern Child Health J., 19(11), 2403–2411. doi:10.1007/s10995-015-1759-1.
Johnson, B. (2020). Importance of Positive Parenting During the Pandemic. 7(3), 46-49.
Jones, S., Calam, R., Sanders, M., Diggle, P. J., Dempsey, R., & Sadhnani, V. (2014). A PilotWeb Based Positive Parenting Intervention to Help Bipolar Parents to Improve Perceived Parenting Skills and Child Outcomes. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy(42), 283–296. doi:10.1017/S135246581300009X
Kuppens, S., & Ceulemans, E. (2019). Parenting Styles: A Closer Look at a Well-Known Concept. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28(1), 168-181. doi: 10.1007/s10826-018-1242-x
Liu, J. (2004). Childhood Externalizing Behavior: Theory and Implications. 17(3), 93-103. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1617081/
Zhong, X., Wu, D., Nie, X., Xia, J., Li, M., Lei, F., . . . Mahendran, R. (2016). Parenting style, resilience, and mental health of community-dwelling elderly adults in China. BMC Geriatrics, 16(135). doi:10.1186/s12877-016-0308-0