Positive parent as easy as 1, 2, 3…
I hate labels.
And ‘positive parent’ is fast becoming one of those labels – as is the ‘conscious parent’ or the ‘natural parent’ if you ask me.
But I’ll bet you’ve Googled (more than once) ‘how to be a better parent’? Am I right?
OK, maybe just me then. *Room fills with silence*
But seriously – I don’t know any parents who don’t want to be better to their kids.
It comes with the territory.
And the phrase ‘positive parent’ is the closest thing I’ve come to yet, which encompasses being a better parent.
But being a better parent isn’t easy. Life gets busy, and so exhausting, which overtakes the ability to parent well.
The parenting books get stuffed away in drawers and life just fly’s on by. All of a sudden, that cute little baby you had is a small boy or girl who needs you more than ever.
The panic and rushing out the door in the mornings begins, the yelling at dinner time when the screaming won’t stop and food gets thrown. The torrent of water splashing out the bath before bedtime, and the endless sweeping of the kitchen floor.
This is parenting!
It’s messy (literally), it’s emotional, it’s wonderful, it’s rewarding, it’s tear-jerking and exhausting, all in one massive pot of child goodness.
The question is, how can you make it even better, for both yourself and your child?
Here’s my take on being more of a positive parent in daily life (labels removed please) so that both you (mama) and your child thrive, not just survive.
1. Be Yourself
One thing I find toxic is the notion of the perfect parent. Again, another label! There’s no such thing.
Your children want a real mother, the real you, not a mother based on a fictional feed on Instagram.
If I can be so blunt. Work on being you.
Block out the societal noise and focus on building a meaningful connection with your child, coming from your core heart and soul. Connection is paramount to a better parent-child relationship.
To connect, you must be with your kid when you’re together. Put down the phone, shut down the laptop, and be with them.
Embrace them for their wholeness and uniqueness, not their deficiencies or so-called ‘behaviour problems’. They’ll love you for it, I promise.
Love to a child is time spent together.
And the more time you spend with them, the more time you spend building that connection, the more connected they’ll become to you.
And your relationship will flourish.
The best way to get to know your children is simply being with them, which sounds basic, but the facts are in. Attention is the new currency!
So go on, put down your phone and focus on them.
Spend precious time with them. Show them real love. Tell them they’re special.
Tell them you love them. Be proud of them.
Show your vulnerable side with your child too. This may be hard if you’ve spent a lifetime building up walls to protect yourself, but your child is a blank slate.
Help them be themselves by being yourself, and discover a bond you never imagined was possible.
The best thing is, when you’re yourself, nothing is hard. Everything is effortless. And that in itself is a beautiful thing.
2. Have Guts To Be Different
Authoritarian style parenting is still common in society I’m sorry to say, and it takes balls to go against the grain.
This is the first thing to understand. But wait – what is authoritarian parenting, you ask?
It’s a parenting method used to control the child.
Authoritarian style parents have an extremely high need for control, which leads to them enforcing rules, often without thought or consideration of the consequences of their actions.
But it’s not going to work.
Children don’t respond to rules and punishments. They respond to love, affection, empathy, connection, attachment and understanding.
If you can understand that, you’ve pretty much arrived at how to be a ‘positive parent’.
But you’ll need to grow some even stronger balls (ouch) and stop being authoritative if you’re committed to doing things better for yourself and your child.
They’re depending on you for it!
Instead, commit to releasing the need for control and go at your child’s pace. Let them lead.
It’s a moment to moment commitment, each day doing something a little better, step by step, focusing on connection and attachment first and foremost.
A simple tip I do daily is ask myself, “What would love do?” That is, if love were a person, what would they do?
I also don my ‘Super Mama’ cape, which sounds hilarious, but every morning in the mirror after my shower, I visualise me being my best version of Super Mum, stretchy spandex included!
And this sets the tone for a day of connection, rather than stress and snappiness. (The cape also helps me out of snappiness mama sharpish when it undoubtedly creeps in.)
3. Don’t Be a Know It All
Every parent has things to learn. That’s a fact.
Even the seemingly most natural parents still have things to learn, and the great thing is, their greatest teacher is their child.
You must allow yourself to learn from your child. And if hearing that makes your toes curl, you need to re-read this blog again and again until you get it.
Children are the most authentic people on the planet and have so much to teach us adults – if only we ditch our facade of ‘knowing it all’ and let their wisdom in.
Learn from them as they learn from you – it’s such a pleasure when you do this.
Allow yourself to go at the speed of your child, for example. Go on a walk to the park and rather than rushing them, you slow down.
Really see how your child takes their time, picking up little trinkets on the way. Step into their world.
See everything from their point of view, and you’ll be a spot on positive parent in no time.
Children don’t need to be taught everything.
They just need to know that we’re all learning from each other. And yes, even when they’re ‘tiny teeny little’ they have things to teach us.
Children are so generous with their knowledge when they receive feedback that encourages them.
They don’t mind sharing their insights and experiences with you. What a gift!
When you listen to your child, you’re not just listening to a little person. You’re also listening to a unique and valuable source of wisdom.
Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something either. This is how children learn too.
They learn by admitting they don’t know, asking questions and learning from the answers. The same can be said about learning from other parents.
Don’t pretend to know more than you do, or pretend that what you know is best – instead, listen to your child, to other parents and other kids, and be open to learning and applying what you learn from everyone.
Positive parenting takes courage, conviction, and willingness to be the parent you want to be.
It means being true to yourself and your child, even if that’s not easy (and trust me, it’s certainly not easy).
It’ll take the ability to let go of the need to be perfect – and being the parent you want to be.
Being a positive parent isn’t about making sure your child gets everything they want either. Quite the contrary.
So be willing to learn, and you’ll get there.
Have you found any of these ideas something you’ll take on board in your parenting?
Do comment and let me know. I recommend continuing your learning about positive parenting using these books below.
This is a great read to learn more life changing parenting tips. I listened to it in the Audible app, and also brought the hardback version to dip into when I need some pointers (i.e. the toddler tantrums get too much to handle).
Rebecca Eanes runs a popular parenting blog and has built a thriving community around it. Read this book if you want to be a better parent, that’s my recommendation. I loved this book simply because she doesn’t claim to be an expert-rather a run of the mill parent with some great advice!
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