The positive parenting solutions that are discussed in this post have the power to change your entire household and the relationships in it.
Because positive parenting isn’t just a ‘quick tool’ that you use or a chart used to track behavior.
It’s a way of talking to each other, actually SEEING your children as human beings, respecting who they are as individuals, and being aware of your OWN self (and how to regulate your parenting triggers).
The solutions presented in this post have the power to grow even bigger and change an entire generation (more on that below); but more personally, learn how you, your children, and your partner all interact NOW will change how your kids will experience and react to emotions in the FUTURE.
It really is that powerful.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- The difference between natural, attachment, and positive parenting
- Why positive parenting matters
- 5 life-changing positive parenting solutions
- Access to a free 75 minute positive parenting Ecourse
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Natural vs. Attachment vs. Positive Parenting
Talking about different ‘types’ of parenting can get a bit confusing sometimes. The three similar parenting philosophies below often overlap with eachother. While it’s important to understand the differences, it’s also important to know that they all work well together – you don’t have to choose just one method of parenting.
What is Natural Parenting?
Natural parenting is all about raising your kids as naturally as possible – preparing for an unmedicated birth, breastfeeding, using holistic remedies instead of OTC medicines, teaching children about sustainability, being a conscious consumer, and living a life of overall wellness.
Note: Some people use the phrase ‘natural parenting’ in place of ‘attachment parenting’ or ‘conscious parenting.’ See why the terms get confusing???
What is Attachment Parenting?
Attachment parenting in the most basic sense means forming a solid attachment between child and parent from the very beginning: literal physical attachment through baby wearing and co-sleeping, as well as watching closely for cues from your baby for feeding, weaning, and development.
However, attachment parenting in a more broad sense is about nurturing an iron-clad emotional connection with your child so that as they grow, they feel a deep sense of safety and support to become inventive, independent, trusting adults.
What is Positive Parenting?
Positive parenting focuses on learning and teaching emotional intelligence and regulation. Key ‘parenting points’ include redirection (instead of overriding), discipline (not punishment), and parenting from your center (with consistency and predictability).
By guiding and modeling how to name emotions and feelings, how to deal with those emotions and triggers, and also parenting with limits and respect, it is believed (and documented) that children will have a greater sense of empathy, love, and connection throughout their lives.
What is the importance of Positive Parenting?
To understand the importance of positive parenting, it is important to understand the term ’emotional intelligence.’
I personally prefer the term ’emotional intelligence’ over the term ’emotional regulation’ because it suggests a wider understanding of emotions.
The actual definition of ‘regulate’ is to ‘control or maintain so that something operates properly’. It is not improper to have emotions. Emotions are sacred. Emotions are REAL and BIG and something that EVERYONE on this planet experiences. It’s part of being a human.
‘Emotional intelligence’ is being aware that you are feeling a certain way, naming it (instead of stuffing it down or pushing those feelings away), having the ability to communicate those emotions to individuals around you, and then being able to decide what to do next.
As a parent, teaching your children emotional intelligence is just as (if not MORE) important than teaching them all the ‘basics’ (ABCs, numbers, animal sounds, etc.). Your kids can learn those basics anywhere.
Your kids will learn how to deal with emotions by watching how YOU react to situations (from how you handle their temper tantrums to how you work through difficulties with your partner).
The Effects of Positive Parenting in Infants & Toddlers
Greater attachment and sense of safety
- By responding quickly to a distraught child, whether they’re crying in their bassinet as a newborn or frustrated with a difficult puzzle as a toddler, they learn that you will be there in times of stress.
- Relationships are built on small interactions. From now through adulthood, will they learn to turn to you as a trusted parent in times of need, or will they learn that their emotions are petty and will be ridiculed if shared?
Ability to share their emotions and thoughts with you so that you don’t have to ‘guess’
- By providing your children with vocabulary and tools to communicate what they’re feeling, you can get from point A to point B without adding more frustration to the situation.
Faster ‘rebound’ time from escalated emotions back to a happy place because they know they are unconditionally loved
- By teaching children that emotions are important and not making them feel guilty or ashamed of having a meltdown instills the fact that they are loved. No matter what.
- They know that their behaviors do not define them, and that they are worthy of respectful love.
The greatest amount of ‘pushback’ I have heard about positive parenting is during this newborn/toddler stage. “But they have to learn to self-soothe, they have to learn how to deal with situations on their own!!!”
When done well, Positive Parenting DOES teach kids how to deal with situations…with you helping to guide them through the brainstorming process as they learn how to get to the other side.
Studies have actually shown that kids who are raised with positive parenting solutions actually become MORE independent and MORE willing to try new things because they learn HOW to problem solve more effectively and know they have a solid support system as they attempt new things.
The Effects of Positive Parenting in School Age Children
More Enjoyment and Learning at School
- By learning problem-solving skills with you at a young age, children are able to apply those lessons to their classes, extracurriculars, and sports.
Stronger, healthier friendships
- Part of emotional intelligence is not only understanding your own emotions, but also having empathy for others. This leads to an increase in social awareness and social skills, which lays a fantastic foundation for deep friendships that go beyond surface level.
Greater communication about their time away from you
- The bonds that you create with positive parenting tools when your children are small will flourish as they grow. This is incredibly important as they begin to spend a large part of their day with other kids and adults.
There are so many alarming (i.e. sickening) things going on in today’s world:
- Bullies at school
- Teachers, mentors, and neighbors that are beyond toxic
- A national emergency being declared for opiod abuse
It is WORTH THE EFFORT to build this foundation of trust, communication, and respect when your children are young so that they are able to confidently speak for themselves (as well as inform you about their day) when they can’t be under your wing at all times.
The Effects of Positive Parenting as an Adult
Greater success in the work place
- Similar to having more enjoyment at school, the effects of positive parenting extend all the way to a child’s adult life at work.
- They are able to communicate more effectively, get along well with others, problem-solve, and take calculated risks (who wouldn’t want a person like that on their team?).
Solid, healthy romantic relationships
- Just as they were taught to talk through their emotions as a child and how to build a foundation of safety and trust, so will they be attracted to other individuals that communicate the same way.
- By allowing a partner to feel, express, and work through problems, they are validating those feelings and ensuring that their partner is the best version of themselves. And vice versa.
Raising of their own children in the same way
- Generally speaking, adults parent their own children based on how they were raised themselves. They replicate what they thought was beneficial, and change what they thought could have been done better.
- This ripple effect and passing down of positive parenting skills is enough to prove that this parenting method really, truly, 100% can change the world.
This is HUGE and IMPORTANT and NECESSARY and ABSOLUTELY DOABLE.
WHAT DOES POSITIVE PARENTING LOOK LIKE?
Some of the above ideas are abstract until you actually think about what positive parenting actually looks like and sounds like in your own household or experience.
Here are a few high-level examples of positive parenting principles:
- Treat children respectfully, just like you would like to be treated.
- Use positive reinforcement for desired behaviors and reward with praise, affection, privileges, etc.
- Provide your child with two choices (both good choices) so that they feel empowered.
- Staying consistent when rules are broken.
- CONNECT before your CORRECT (make sure they feel loved before discipline is carried through).
- VALIDATE your child’s feelings. Let them know you understand, you’ve been there, and you feel for them.
- Let your child know they are CAPABLE.
- Making sure your child knows that they BELONG and are IMPORTANT. If anything else, they belong and are NEEDED at home. They are VALUED.
Positive Parenting Solutions
So…how do you make the principles above happen in real life with real crazy schedules and really real kids with REALLY big emotions that are hard to think through logically?
Answer: Through PLAY.
The five positive parenting solutions below are all from Suzanne Tucker, founder of Generation Mindful, and her entire approach is how to teach children emotional intelligence playfully.
My husband and I ‘discovered’ Generation Mindful while I was pregnant with my first daughter, and it was unbelievably reassuring to know that we were on the same page about HOW we wanted to parent before we even got started.
We just ‘clicked’ with Suzanne – the way she teaches parenting and awareness of your own triggers, experiences, and current state of mind.
The best part about the tools and education below is that you can keep returning to them as your children grow. Yes, my husband and I were on the same page with the importance of positive parenting while I was pregnant. And then that little baby turned THREE years old and…whoa…things shifted a bit and we were able to turn back to the SAME resources, but this time with a different lens.
As you navigate through your parenting journey, you will hear more and understand more of this information in a different way.
Long story short, these tools will grow and change right along with you and your family.
The absolute BEAUTY of Suzanne’s approach to positive parenting is that it STARTS WITH YOU.
If YOU are not balanced, if YOU do not know yourself, if YOU do not love your own self…how can you teach this to your children?
It is all about becoming a present, mindful parent (which is a VERY different approach than the goal of raising mindful children).
In this series of six online classes, Suzanne walks you through self awareness, attachment, how to notice when you’re not in your center, getting underneath your triggers, and more self-discovery.
Only after that does she teach about how to parent with firm discipline and clear boundaries.
Suzanne provides the first lesson in her course for free so that you can get a taste of her teaching style and format of the course. Even if you don’t intend to purchase the entire six-part series, this first lesson (75 minutes long) is absolutely worth your time.
Unlike most ‘freebee’ courses, it’s not a sales pitch for the rest of her course. You actually walk away with actionable tips and a deeper understanding of yourself and what positive parenting is about. HIGHLY recommend.
The tool has posters, cards, stickers, and guides to create a safe space for your child to work through their BIG emotions.
It’s QUITE the opposite of a time-out corner, as it is a place that your child chooses to go to calm down. A private place they can turn to with tools to help them get from Point A to Point B.
I highly recommend putting your posters in frames or some other more ‘permanent’ solution than just sticky-tac up on your wall. I *probably* put our toolkit up too soon for my girls’ understanding, and all they wanted to do was take it down and peel the stickers off (at 12 months old and 2.5 years old).
Now that my oldest daughter is 3.5, we are LOVING the reintroduction of this tool (after displaying it more appropriately for little hands) – and she is enjoying having something to teach her little sister, too!
This set of PeaceMakers cards actually comes in the Time-In Toolkit above, but if you don’t want to invest in the whole kit yet (or don’t have the space for the whole kit), this is a FANTASTIC option.
There are 35 cards in this set (divided up into seven different themes), and each card has a positive affirmation on it to grow emotional intelligence, confidence, self-love, social skills, empathy, and more.
This is kind of a ‘make what you want out of it’ set, and there are several different suggestions on how to use them included in the box.
Our family has used these in a variety of ways, including a ‘theme for the week’ where we focus on one affirmation at a time and try to digest it and reference it throughout our daily activities. We’ve also used them during dinnertime as conversation prompts…similarly, I grab them on the way out the door if we have a long car trip.
They’re incredibly versatile!
This set includes 20 cards (which makes it possible for a whole classroom to play together if you’re a teacher) with different arrangements of 9 emotions on each.
You can have your kids make the faces as they play, talk about a time they felt the same way, talk about how to treat others if you see them with ‘xyz’ emotion…you can make this into whatever you want!
This is a print-it-yourself resource (it’s emailed to you after purchase), so you can start using it right away with your clan. My oldest daughter LOVES acting out the ’emotion faces’ (and I love that she’s learning through belly laughs!).
Okay, this is ‘kind of’ a cheat solution, but so important nonetheless. Generation Mindful has started a subscription box service that is filled with goodies for you (and one item for your kiddos) to remind you to STOP, ENJOY, and celebrate YOU.
Positive parenting is relationship-changing, but…no one said it was easy. This is a gift to yourself for working so dang hard.
This bundle of surprises every month (that you can either purchase individually or as an actual monthly subscription) includes a piece of inspiring art, an activity guide for the monthly theme, a children’s book, and luxury surprises just for you!
Full disclosure that I have actually not experienced this box myself yet (they sold out of their first months before I could snag one!), but I’m on that train as soon as they open up for next month!
It is beyond important for you to realize and note that I am an ‘everyday mom’ writing this blog post. I firmly believe in everything above with my whole being…it is researched, educational, documented data that has the power to change the crisis of the world that we currently find ourselves in.
That being said, I felt a tinge of ‘imposter syndrome’ as I was writing this, because I am NOT the perfect parent. Far from it.
BUT, I do have everything above in my mommy-ing toolkit, both physically in my home and conceptually in my mind at ALL TIMES.
Whenever I am not having the best ‘parenting day’, I have these tools to help draw me back to my center and help me take a step back and regulate my OWN self. The MAJORITY of the information above that we are trying to teach our own kids, we have to teach and practice ourselves first.
We are all on a continuum, everyone trying their best in the specific situation they are in with the tools that they have.
I KNOW that these positive parenting solutions will help you and your family on your journey. And yes, it is a JOURNEY. Embrace it!
(Psstt…don’t forget to sign up for Suzanne’s free positive parenting course – it is 75 minutes of education and reflection…worth every second.)