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What is Positive Parenting?
Positive parenting is parental practices that benefit 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).
In this article, you’ll find the information you need to learn more about positive parenting.
Parenting Then and Now
For a long time, it was said that parenting was a job without a manual and that once you become a parent, you could just “wing it”.
However, often, “winging it” meant that we borrowed from our own experiences with our parents, or followed instructions from the elders in the family, churches or communities.
While these practices can be intuitive and helpful at times, they may not be in the best interest of our children.
Nowadays, we have a better understanding of child development and what might benefit our children thanks to research, changes in attitudes and laws that protect them from harm.
Researchers studying parental styles have found that some parental practices have shown to be more effective than others.
For example, parental practices that include warmth, responsiveness and setting boundaries for children are often associated with better child development outcomes (D. Baumrind, 1991).
These are the parental practices that are the foundations of parenting children positively.
What are the Characteristics of Positive Parenting?
Positive parental practices can often be mistaken for permissive parenting. That is the type of parenting without boundaries and is often characterised by neglect.
Instead, parenting positively involves recognising your children as individuals with their own thoughts and feelings, providing them with love, kindness and compassion, and communicating the rules, expectations and consequences of misbehaviour (UNICEF).
When you approach parenting in this way, you can build a mutually respectful relationship with your children which will increase their confidence and give them important life skills to successfully go through this world (UNICEF).
This is why positive parental practices are shown to have better outcomes for children.
Here are a few more of its characteristics:
- Works with children’s strengths instead of picking at their weaknesses
- Understands children’s developmental needs and respond appropriately
- Recognises, rewards and reinforces positive behaviours
- Shows empathy
- Recognises the child as an individual with rights
- Builds trust, communication and respect in the parent-child relationship
- Practices non-violence in the parent-child relationship
(2021). Retrieved from nct.org.uk: https://www.nct.org.uk/life-parent/parenting-styles-and-approaches/what-positive-parenting-and-how-it-done
Baumrind D. The influence of parenting style on adolescent competence and substance abuse. Journal of Early Adolescence. 1991;11:56–95. doi: 10.1177/0272431691111004.
NSPCC. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/media/1195/positive-parenting.pdf
Pastor, C., Ciurana, A., Navajas, A., Cojocaru, D., & Vazquez, N. (2015). Positive Parenting: Lessons from Research. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288829235_Positive_Parenting_Lessons_from_Research
UNICEF, Introduction to Positive Parenting